RACES Judging System

When judging establishments in the Awards for Excellence, the RACES Judging System is used. To view a copy of the Restaurant & Catering Assessment Criteria click on the link below:


Premium Dining/Formal Dining

Restaurant Categories

Casual Dining/Cafes


Fast Casual Dining


Event Catering

Site/Industrial Catering



Judging for the Restaurant & Catering Awards program is conducted independently from the Association by anonymous trained judges that visit each restaurant and assess them on a set of judging criteria from reservation, décor, atmosphere, food, beverage, service, staff and overall dining experience. For the integrity of the awards program it is essential that restaurant judges maintain their confidentiality.


Judges for the Restaurant & Catering Awards program are trained in the Associations Restaurant and Catering Evaluation System (RACES). Restaurants are either judged on the Formal/Fine Dining or Informal/Casual Dining criteria based judging system. These criteria were identified from a large survey of diners and follow-up surveys which identified how important each of those criteria were to the whole dining experience. The training of judges to use this criteria-based system ensures universal understanding of the judging system which provides consistency across all categories.


Caterers are assessed by a trained judge at a selected catering event or catering site. Each caterer is assessed on a set of criteria including food, beverage, service, staff, hygiene, presentation and overall event/site outcomes.



Judges are chosen by the Chair of Judges and Restaurant & Catering based on specific criteria including:

  • strong interest in food and wine
  • not an employer or employee in the hospitality industry
  • an ability to apply criteria-referenced judgments
  • high professional credibility and personal integrity

Each judge receives comprehensive training to ensure universal understanding of the judging system which provides consistency across all categories.

The training for a judge consists of:

  • an introduction to the system
  • clarification of the process used
  • establishing the standards for making judgments on each of the criteria
  • a restaurant visit where both the process and standards are discussed
  • a debriefing session on the restaurant visit with explanations

To apply to become a judge send a copy of your current resume citing relevant experience. Please also include up to 50 words on ‘how you meet the judge criteria’ and send to restncat@rca.asn.au.