Karne Garibaldi, a small chain of restaurants based in Guadalajara, Mexico, holds the Guinness record for the world’s fastest food service, with the waiters laying out a full menu in just 13.5 seconds.
Usually, when visiting a popular award-winning restaurant, you expect waiting times to be on the long side, but that’s definitely not this case.
Take a seat at Karne Garibaldi restaurant and you will barely have time to admire the bright murals and mariachi musicians that adorn the walls before a steaming plate of carne en su jugo (literally “meat in its juice”) is placed in front of you.
Not by chance, Karne Garibaldi has held the world record for the world’s fastest food service (13.5 seconds) since August 31, 1996.
The dish is traditionally made by mothers who use family recipes passed down over generations, and since its foundation in 1970, Karne Garibaldi has become synonymous with the dish.
Served in rustic clay plates made by artisans in the city’s Tonaládistrict, it is essentially a meaty broth with chunks of succulent beef and crispy bacon. It is accompanied with homemade corn tortillas lightly glazed in pig fat, which are meant to be rolled up and dipped into the broth.
Diners can also season the dish with their choice of a tomatillo-based salsa, lime juice, chopped cilantro, diced raw onion, whole grilled spring onions, and chiles toreados.
It is best enjoyed with a mug of horchata, hibiscus water, or a cold beer, while those who want a more fiery experience can ask to bring out the chile piquín he grows onsite.
Karne Garibaldi’s carne en su jugo recipe is a closely kept secret, but most recipes begin with frying chopped up bacon in a pan until it’s crispy. After removing it and putting it to one side, you fry minced beef or diced steak in the pan until it is browned, before adding pinto beans and a blended mix of tomatoes or tomatillos with garlic, serrano peppers, water, a little chicken stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan and leave it to simmer for about an hour before stirring in the crispy bacon and serving it up.
Karne Garibaldi also sells other dishes like guacamole, queso fundido, and quesadillas bathed in meat juice or stuffed with beef, chorizo, bacon, or mushrooms. But house frijoles mixed with chunks of sweet corn are the most important side dish.
Upon finishing their main course, customers can round their meal off with a guayaba or chocolate mousse, rice pudding, a corn-based flan, jericalla (a local take on a crème caramel), a mug of café de olla (coffee sweetened with sugar and cinnamon), or even a complimentary shot of Tequila Patrón.
Then they can back to work, with a full stomach and minimal time wasted.
So…how does the staff at Karne Garibaldi do it?
Well, the traditional Mexican dishes served at this popular restaurant require hours of slow cooking, so they are ready by the time it opens.
It also helps that carne en su jugo, a regional specialty native to Guadalajara and the western state of Jalisco—is the only main course on the menu.
But, in any case, plating the food and getting it from the kitchen and to the diners’ tables in under 15 seconds requires above all speed and coordination.
“It began as a game between the waiters to see who could bring the food to each table the fastest,” Daniel Flores, the manager of the largest of Karne Garibaldi’s six branches, told in an interview. “That competition led to us attempting the Guinness Record.”
And now, over 25 years later, waiters at Karne Garibaldi still take pride in being the fastest in the world, sometimes bringing orders to people’s tables than the official 13.5 seconds, or at the most, within one minute of taking them.
“Waiters, captains, cooks and all of our Karne Garibaldi staff are the soul of our kitchen,” Laura Mariaud, head of digital communications at Karne Garibaldi said. “Therefore, the speediness of our waiters is not all that matters to make our service the fastest of all. Of course, we train our staff to learn how to be efficient, but there’s a whole process behind the preparation of the food that allows the workflow to be fast and effective. This is how our service turns into a production chain that makes the waiter serve in the fastest way possible to our customers.”
Several restaurants have tried snatching the Guinness record from Karne Garibaldi over the years, but, until now, none have succeeded.
Images from web – Google Research