National Waitstaff Day – May 21, 2021

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FriMay 21

Just for a minute, think about all the people who serve you food and drinks: the barista that remembers just how you like your incredibly complicated coffee drink, the waiter at the sandwich spot who helps sort out all your large group’s orders, the bartender who serves your gin and tonic with a side of English distillery history. Now put yourself in their hopefully very comfortable shoes. Yep, that’s what we thought — on May 21, National Waitstaff Day, let’s turn the tables, and serve these special people a super-sized helping of our appreciation.

National Waitstaff Day timeline

100 AD
​Restaurants in ancient Rome

Peasants traveling several days at a time to bring their goods into the city markets would stay at inns along the way, with the innkeeper and his family doing the cooking and serving of the meals.

1787
​The French Revolution changes the restaurant scene

​Chefs who lost their jobs in aristocratic homes after the French Revolution banned guilds, started their own restaurants, introducing a style of fine dining based on their experiences in private chateaux and manor houses.

1800s
The restaurant industry grows

New transportation options like trains and automobiles fueled a rise in European luxury travel and tourism, which in turn created a greater demand for restaurants.

1900s
Chain restaurants

Beginning with White Castle and White Tower, two popular​ hamburger restaurants in the early 1900s, the restaurant industry would become transformed before the end of the 20th century.

2019
​A new millennium for dining out

The trend towards families with two working parents contributed greatly to the popularity of dining in restaurants (or at least carry-out options).

National Waitstaff Day Activities

  1. Go out to eat

    Some people go out to eat everyday and some dine out only on special occasions. Whichever camp you fall in, National Waitstaff Day is a fabulous day to hang up your apron and head to a restaurant. Hit up your neighborhood hang or try a new bistro, but kick back, relax, and appreciate being waited on by professionals.

  2. Tip generously

    Most waiters and waitresses are salaried at or even below, minimum wage. They rely on tips to augment their salaries to a livable wage. A tip for good service is approximately 20% of the pre-tax bill. If you’ve had exceptional service, feel free to tip 25%. A tip lets the server know how much you valued their service.

  3. Compliment your server

    Although the tip ultimately lets your waiter or waitress know if you valued their work, a kind word is always appreciated! If they’ve gone out of their way to keep your drinks full, accommodate special requests, make recommendations for the meal, and did it all with cheery good will, be sure to say thank you and let them know you appreciated their care and attention to detail. After all, good manners don’t cost anything and it’s always nice to feel as though doing your best work is valued.

​5 Things Waitstaff Wish You Would Stop Doing

  1. ​Refusing to listen to the specials

    Servers are generally required to tell you about the specials, and also often receive bonuses for tempting diners into ordering them, so please listen graciously — you might just love that Chef's Surprise.

  2. Asking a different waiter to put your order in​

    Getting a second waiter involved can not only adds to that new person's workload, it can also sometimes mean a loss of a tip to one server or the other.

  3. ​Not reading the menu descriptions

    ​If you have a food allergy or similar dietary restriction, it's your responsibility to read the menu descriptions carefully, not just skim the dish titles.

  4. Expecting all the food to be on the table at the same time

    This may be realistic if your party is four people or less, but if you bring a crowd of 15, it's unreasonable to expect the kitchen staff to be able to serve all those people at exactly the same time.​

  5. Not saying anything when something is wrong​

    ​If there's an issue with your meal or with the service, your server wants to know so he or she has the opportunity to correct the situation, rather than have you leave unhappy, and very likely leaving a low tip.

Why We Love National Waitstaff Day

  1. They help us relax

    The whole point of going out to eat is to enjoy good food, a nice atmosphere, and the ability to relax without dishes you’ll have to set, clear, or wash. Your contact person in the restaurant is your waiter or waitress, and they are happy to do all the work for you! They let us relax and have a pleasurable experience.

  2. They know what’s best

    Waiters and waitresses have tried all the food, heard previous customers’ reviews, and are experts on the restaurant. They know the best dishes, wine pairings, and are full of helpful recommendations to make your meal one to remember.

  3. Because we all want to go where everybody knows your name

    If you’ve found the perfect combination of tasty food, a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and professional service, becoming a regular and making that restaurant your neighborhood hangout is one of the best feelings in the world. Develop a relationship with the waitstaff, and they they will guide you to the best foods on the menu — and steer you away from the dishes the chef has yet to perfect. We all love the feeling of being greeted by name with a cheery smile, and waiters and waitresses deliver.

National Waitstaff Day dates

YearDateDay
2021May 21Friday
2022May 21Saturday
2023May 21Sunday
2024May 21Tuesday
2025May 21Wednesday