Whether you’re dining out for a weekend brunch or celebrating special occasions with your loved ones, the people who make these treasured outings that much more enjoyable are the servers and waitstaff who attend to our needs as we indulge in our scrumptious meals and hearty conversations. This Saturday, May 21st is National Waitstaff Day, a perfect opportunity to appreciate these friendly faces for all that they do to help us make cherished memories at our favorite eateries. Cedar Rapids boasts an entourage of over 400 restaurants, bars, and cafes that employ 1,260 wait-staffers as of May 2021 as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The restaurant industry in Cedar Rapids employs seven percent of the city’s total workforce.
According to a March 2022 survey conducted by the Economic Alliance, 62 percent of Cedar Rapids diners are locally owned serving a wide variety of local and international cuisines. This includes a selection of 15 American, 26 Mexican, 13 Asian, 5 Indian, and 4 Italian food joints along with 33 bars and grills, 22 pizzerias, 12 cafes, 10 breweries, 9 breakfast nooks, and 6 delis among others. Despite being able to cater to the community’s daily cravings by providing an abundance of options, many of these businesses remain short-staffed due in large part to the impact of the global pandemic. As the restaurant industry continues to recover from the COVID-shock, wait-staffers still remain underpaid, making less than half of what an average Cedar Rapids employee makes in wages, as BLS data suggests $25,090 for waitstaff compared to the city average of $56,955 across occupations. This gives all the more reason for us to support our servers and local eateries this weekend, and all year-round!
As we breeze through spring, and enter into patio season, exciting new establishments are blooming in Cedar Rapids! Several new restaurants have opened, or are set to open, in the upcoming weeks. Some of these include Barrel House, SKO Tacos, Tipsy Tomato, and Taco Gatto. Each place carries its own unique atmosphere, delicious menu and specialty drinks. With Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market kicking off next weekend, bike trails being cleaned up and everyone ready to shake off the cooler month cobwebs, it’s the perfect time visit and support these new establishments with family and friends, sit back, and relish the great weather while supporting our locally owned restaurants and their waitstaff.
So the next time you feel like you’d rather order-in than cook at home, why not consider a third option? Chow down at a local restaurant, enjoy the ambiance and unique flair each has to offer, and support the waitstaff community in their culinary ventures by celebrating our zealous servers.