National Food Service Workers Day occurs annually on September 25. It is a day set aside to recognize, appreciate, and thank the staff that works in the food service industry.
Hosts, waiters, chefs, cleaning staff, and managers are all integral members of the teams that make sure that food establishments run smoothly. Whether they work in restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and more, these employees aim to provide us with the best service possible.
History of National Food Service Workers Day
On September 25, we come together to celebrate National Food Service Workers Day. It’s a day dedicated to those who work in the food service industry. The food service industry is considered to be the second-largest industry in the U.S. While it is not known when this day was officially created nor who founded it, the gesture is warmly received.
The practice of preparing food as a form of business or craft can be traced back to the 11th century. Guilds provided this service to a community and over the years they became more specialized. Knowledge would be passed down from guild members to apprentices so they could learn the specific skills required of the profession. Examples of specialized food craftsmen would be bakers and butchers.
Before restaurants, there were inns. Inns could be found alongside roads to cater to people traveling between cities, offering lodging and food. There were no menus or options to choose from and guests sat and were served at common tables.
Early eating establishments that resembled modern-day restaurants emerged in China during the 11th and 12th centuries. These catered to merchants who were traveling between cities. In Japan, tea houses emerged in the 16th century.
France has a rich history of developing various forms of inns and eateries. In the 13th century, French inns served a variety of food — bread, cheese, bacon, soup, roasts, and stews all eaten at a common table. Take-out food could be bought from ‘rôtisseurs.’
The number of restaurants grew after the French Revolution. Many unemployed chefs from aristocratic households opened their restaurants. The changes that were brought about by the industrial revolution and the disestablishment of the culinary guilds also contributed to the increase of restaurants in Europe.
National Food Service Workers Day timeline
Records from Ancient Egypt mention a public eating establishment.
According to a Chinese manuscript, patrons of food establishments are greeted with a selection of pre-plated demonstration dishes that represent food options.
Japanese restaurant culture emerges out of local tea houses.
The first cafe in Paris opens.
Inns and traiteurs offer ‘hosts’ tables,’ where one pays a set price to sit at a large table with other guests and eat a fixed menu meal.
Establishments that provide meals without also providing lodging begin to appear in major metropolitan areas in the form of coffee and oyster houses.
There are 1,000,000 restaurants or one restaurant for every 310 people.
National Food Service Workers Day FAQs
Who are food service workers?
Food service workers are waiters, counter attendants, dining room attendants, hosts, fast food workers, kitchen assistants, and others.
What do food service assistants do?
They prepare and serve food; maintain a safe and clean work environment in a health care setting; clean kitchen surfaces, equipment, and dishes; and monitor stock levels.
How many food service workers are there in America?
There are over 362,695 food service workers in the U.S. — 63.4% of them are women, while 36.6% are men.
National Food Service Workers Day Activities
Visit your favorite restaurant
Supporting local businesses is one of the best ways to thank people who work in the food industry. Book a table at your favorite local eatery and enjoy a celebratory meal.
Give a bigger tip
Most serving staff work on low wages across the world. Tip your waiter a little bit extra to show your appreciation.
Thank your chef
Most chefs are unaware when customers enjoy their cooking as they are usually too busy in the kitchen. So, just pop in and thank them personally after your meal; it might make their whole day.
5 Facts About Restaurants
The oldest American restaurant is still running
The oldest American restaurant is Union Oyster House in Boston; it was founded in 1826.
Millions work in the restaurant industry
Approximately 14.7 million people work in the food service industry.
The word 'restaurant' is French
Restaurant means "food that restores."
Mothers Day is popular
Mothers Day is the busiest day of the year for eating establishments.
The world’s largest restaurant is Syrian
Bawabet Dimashq Restaurant has 6,014 seats, a 580,000 square-foot dining area, and is located in Damascus, Syria.
Why We Love National Food Service Workers Day
We love food
Restaurants are a lifeline for foodies. Any day that offers an excuse to enjoy food and celebrate is a win in our books.
It brings people together
Eating out can bring families and friends together. Even people who are introverts feel strange sitting at a table alone.
It puts the spotlight on food service workers
Working in food service is very common, yet it is often not taken seriously and looked down upon. This day is just perfect for highlighting the oft-ignored efforts of food service workers.
National Food Service Workers Day dates