Book Review: Waiter Rant: Thanks for the tip–Confessions of a cynical waiter by The Waiter


Alan brought home a book that totally fascinated me. Waiter Rant: Thanks for the tip–Confessions of a cynical waiter by The Waiter. The author keeps his identity a secret for multiple reasons and doesn’t reveal it in the book. Nor does he name the restaurant for which he works. Still it’s a fascinating look at life on the working side of the restaurant table. A life of paranoid/abusive owner/bosses, borderline alcoholic waitstaff, what really goes on in the unseen depths of the kitchen of an upscale Italian restaurant in New York, and what your waiter or waitress is probably thinking about you while taking your order and serving your food. The author claims he can sum up within ten seconds of seating customers approximately how much of a tip they’ll be good for.

He also occasionally mentions an order entry system, that the restaurant he works in uses for entering customers orders for the kitchen. The amount of other information stored in the system, such as are you a difficult customer, birthdays, special needs or unusual requests was surprising to me. He does bring up a lot of very interesting points. The stories of some of the immigrants who cook and prep our food, wash our dishes, and work hard to attain the American Dream are varied and interesting. Such as a South American man with a wife back home, and a son he’s putting through a law school. Or the young dishwasher who came here from Venezuela, and took a job that we wouldn’t tackle for the wage it brings , yet is happy to be here and hoping to build some sort of a life here. As opposed to the tremendous poverty and poor life he would’ve had at home.

Is the book perfect? No, the author can sometimes take on a bit of smugness and a blase , seen it all attitude. But to me the most shocking part of the book is where he describes a Mother’s Day night, where an older woman has a stroke in the back section of the restaurant. After calling 911 and clearing the other patrons seated in the area, then having yuppie couple and his mother throw a fit over not being able to be seated where they want to sit due to the “inconvenience of a poor woman having a stroke” Incidentally, he also mentions that Mother’s Day is the day waitstaff everywhere in almost any kind of restaurant hates, with as he describes good reason.

Waiter Rant is a good read and is a very pleasant read for a nice quiet day. Unless you’re planning to go out to eat that day as well. By the way, the author also runs a Web Site by the same name and has since 2002.   Which is where the idea for the book came from.   Waiter Rant is Highly Recommended.

Title: Waiter Rant    Author: The Waiter   Publisher: Harper Collins Format: Hardcover   Publication Date: 2008

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