Fastest Restaurant Service in the World/Karne Garibaldi


México, the land of mañana, a place where ahorita (“right now”) means “I am aware of it; we will get to it, eventually…” So imagine our shock this afternoon when we walked into a restaurant across the street from our hotel in Guadalajara, and before we could even sit down onto our table appears FRESH food: limes, chopped cilantro and onion, chips and salsa, and hot corn tortillas! A waiter showed up with pen and notepad in hand, smiling, asking us for our order, before we had barely sat down!

“What do you have?” I naïvely asked. “Beef cooked in its juice, small, medium or large.” Easy enough. (They do have quesadillas if you don’t want meat, but not much else.) Our small orders showed up in about 20 seconds. We had been sitting for all of 30 seconds, maybe, and we were eating fresh hot food! The slowest part of the process was us. Had we been experienced diners, it would have been a seamless, fluid transaction.

For us it was quite disconcerting. The place, Karne Garibaldi, is evidently pretty famous in Guadalajara, founded in the 1970s and currently with five different locations throughout the city. Since August 31, 1996, they have held the Guinness World Record for fastest service: 13.5 seconds from kitchen to table! This is not a taco stand; it is huge, comprising what are basically three large dining rooms. We didn’t count, but would guess there are sixty tables and seating for a few hundred people. We normally clocked people getting served their main courses and drinks between 30 and 50 seconds, but that’s still pretty darned amazingly speedy!

Remarkably to me, the staff all worked together like a well-oiled machine and, they were happy doing it! The hostesses seat groups of people and stand at the table with their hands in the air as the guests sit down. The side dishes all show up, and a waiter shows up. The waiter runs (literally) the order ticket to the kitchen, and the food and drinks are served lickety split. Other waiters wander around with fresh guacamole or other side dishes you might want to add to the standard-issue salsa, grilled cebollitas, limes, and their famous frijoles con elote (beans with corn). Waiters who are not busy taking orders or serving clear plates from tables. And boy, can they carry the weight! These are heavy pottery dishes! The entire time we were there, we only small smiles and great examples of team work, so often missing in restaurants today. Someone has done a great job instilling a culture of team work and customer service. Even the manager or crew supervisor was pitching in non-stop. Lots of nonverbal communication and staff member helping staff member; it was really fun and beautiful to watch.

Outside the restaurant in Plaza del Sol a line of cars waited a long way down the street for valets to park them, such is the demand on this place. We personally found the meat in its juice a bit bland, but there was plenty of salsa, lime, cilantro and onion to spice it up. And, thankfully, it was meat, not tripe or ears or eyes or…

The menu includes a large variety of drinks (including Greg’s beloved Coke Zero in a BOTTLE!) as well as Mexican desserts (jericalla, pastel mil hojas, flan, mousse de guayaba). Prices are reasonable (see menu at left). The small orders were enough for us as we went home very satisfied. It is only a few pesos more for the next sizes up, so a hungry diner won’t go broke. This is a great place to eat and probably a great place to work.

Just remember, next time someone tells you that Mexicans like to take their time… there are exceptions to every tendency!


Mazatlán International Center

Mazatlán is gorgeous, and I am very proud to say that we now have a state-of-the-art convention facility, the Mazatlan International Center. Please think about booking your next association or organizational event here in our gorgeous hometown!

The Mazatlán International Center is designed around an aquatic theme, and is the largest facility of its kind on the west coast of Mexico. It is located just north of town near the marina, and the facility’s largest hall accommodates up to 4500 people. Here is a video of the facility.

You see the marine theme from your first approach to the convention center. The fence street-side undulates like the waves of the ocean.  If you come by bus or park your car, you are greeted by shaded areas that evoke seagulls.

As you enter the facility there is a gorgeous open-air canopied space, which is constructed in the form of a manta ray.

As you enter the main building you walk between metaphorical whale ribs.
The artwork is fantastic. On the outside wall is, according the Guinness Book, the world’s largest mural, a three-dimensional mosaic of tile work called the “Sea of Cortez.”

The entry hall holds a painting that takes us on a whirlwind tour of history, and the hallways contain gorgeous paintings as well as glass sculpture, all echoing the maritime theme.
The ground level includes four meeting room named after the islands of Mazatlán: Isla Pájaros, Isla de Venados, Isla de Lobos (each accommodate 300 people), and Isla de la Piedra (room for 130 people), plus a large exhibition hall.
The mezanine has four meeting rooms, named after the beaches of Mazatlán: Playa Olas Altas is the largest, holding nearly 400 people; Playa Cerritos, Playa Sábalo and Playa Delfin each hold nearly 200 people. There is also a business center on this floor, with private meeting spaces, full secretarial services, and two restaurants.

The top floor holds the Gran Salón Mazatlán, which divides into six smaller rooms or, in its large format, holds up to 4500 people. The Carnaval meeting room also divides into three smaller rooms, and in its larger format holds 630. This floor is also where the kitchen is located.