Hard Rock Cafe | 45y
Delia started working at Hard Rock Cafe London (the chain’s original branch) just a couple of weeks after it opened in 1971 and has been there, with a couple of short breaks, ever since.
She’s an institution within an institution, with customers from all over the world asking to be served by her when they visit. Many have become friends and she’s been to customers’ weddings and birthday parties.
The servers’ uniform, famously labelled ‘nurse-like’ in the 70s, was actually modelled on the classic Midwest diner look, and the two American founders wanted staff to be at least 30 years old when the restaurant first opened.
There was nothing else like it in London at the time, she tells me, and American entertainment stars would often pop in to escape the relative stuffiness and slow pace of Mayfair. Just after it opened, Delia went to see what all the fuss was about and fell in love with the restaurant’s uniquely informal, friendly and fun atmosphere, and applied for a weekend waitress position.
The memorabilia collection started with just a couple of bits on the wall and grew gradually over the years. It only became a thing when Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend donated their guitars in the late 70s and began a trend that became one of the chain’s unique selling points.
Over the years she’s been involved with openings, launches, charity events at Hard Rock and has had the pleasure of serving movie stars, music legends and, most importantly, her future husband whose table she waited on one evening.