National Waitstaff Day is celebrated on May 21st of each year. Waiting staff, wait staff, or waitstaff are those who work at a restaurant or a bar attending customers — supplying them with food and drink as requested. Traditionally, a male waiting tables is called a “waiter” and a female a “waitress” with the gender-neutral version being a “server”. Other gender-neutral versions include using “waiter” indiscriminately for males and females, “waitperson”, or the little-used Americanism “waitron”, which was coined in the 1980s.
Waiting on tables is (along with nursing and teaching) part of the service sector, and among the most common occupations in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that, as of May 2008, there were over 2.2 million persons employed as servers in the U.S.
Many businesses choose for the people waiting to all wear a uniform, a tradition that has been around in the waiting industry for centuries.
In recent times there has been a trend towards automation in the service of food and drink waiting, with the advent of technologies such as robotics to take on the waiting roles that once required human staff.