Waiters' Race

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100m German waiters race, September 1930

Waiters' Race is a race that tests the speed that a waiter can carry a loaded tray without tipping it.

Origin of the waiters race[edit]

It is possible to find archive footage showing a very old waiters race in Paris, London and Berlin at the beginning of the 20th century.[1] Actually, the origin of the waiters race (the "course des garçons de café"), comes from France.

At their beginning, waiters races started to be organized in order to improve the recognition of the waiter profession in Paris.[2] This is the reason why even today the event has a French Touch and organizers used to schedule races on Bastille Day for instance.[3]

The concept[edit]

The concept is very simple. Waiters have to race as fast as possible holding a loaded tray without spilling its contents. Many other rules have been added to the race and according to old videos and photos, it seems that in the former "course des garçons de café" running was forbidden. Indeed, the race was supposed to be a competition between waiters professionals only and waiters never run during their service that's the reason why only fast walking speed was accepted during the first races.

A real international event [4][edit]

Today, it is possible to find waiters races in more than 53 countries all over the world. From Hong Kong to Washington DC, from Brussels to Jerusalem or from Buenos Aires to Japan, waiters are at honor for a day and make a show in front of thousands of spectators. In 2011, "the course des garcons de cafe" come back in Paris after years. Up-to-date, more than 724 waiters races in the world from the beginning have been listed by the International Waiters Race Community Website WaitersRace. And races are found everyday.

Organizers of Waiters Races[edit]

Indeed, many types of entity or person organize waiters races. The main actors are the following: The Springboard Charity (United Kingdom), tourist office (Trouville 2011), professional union (Paris 2011), cafe and restaurant (New York), hotel and group of hotels (Hong Kong 2010), beverage company (Paris 2011), Alliance Francaise (Sydney 2010), waiters school (Pontivy France 2011), festival (Portland USA), The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa Movember Charity Waiters Race (Cape Town, South Africa), London Import S.A. (Asunción, Paraguay), Paris to Provence: Festival Français de Melbourne (2016).

Winners of Waiters Races[edit]

Winners of waiters race usually receives prizes but it is not all. Many of them confess that this victory changed their career. This is the case for instance for Bassel Halawani who won the Jerusalem Waiters Race and became manager in his Hotel few days after (watch the interview of Bassel.[5] According to Bassel, the "course de garcons de cafe" is a carrier career booster!

Waiters Races in other languages[edit]

French: course des garcons de cafe Spanish: carrera de mozos or carrera de camareros Italian: corsa dei camerieri or gara dei camerieri Portuguese: corrida de garcons German: kellner wettlauf Deutch: kellnerwedloop


External links[edit]

  • WaitersRace.com, the International and Officiel Waiters Races Website [1]
  • National Waiters' Day Website in UK (https://nationalwaitersday.com/)
  • Video from archive showing old waiters race in Paris [2]
  • Link to a documentary on French Television about Waiters Race5 Course des Garçons des Café [3]
  • Old Photo of Waiters Race [4]
  • Courses des garçons de café in New Orleans [5]