About: According to The Waiter, eighty percent of customers are nice people just looking for something to eat. The remaining twenty percent, however, are socially maladjusted psychopaths. Waiter Rant offers the server’s unique point of view, replete with tales of customer stupidity, arrogant misbehavior, and unseen bits of human grace transpiring in the most unlikely places. Through outrageous stories, The Waiter reveals the secrets to getting good service, proper tipping etiquette, and how to keep him from spitting in your food. The Waiter also shares his ongoing struggle, at age thirty-eight, to figure out if he can finally leave the first job at which he’s truly thrived.
My Thoughts: I’ve toyed with the idea of working in a restaurant off and on now for the past two or three years. The notion of joining the bad-ass ranks of restaurant folks excites me in a way that freelance writing never will, but in all honesty, I’m extremely ill suited for that line of work. I would perform terribly in the front of the house because I hate being on my feet for extended periods of time. And the back of the house wouldn’t work either because my Spanish sucks and I’m very afraid of burns and cuts.
Since I’ll probably never find myself in the weeds, I’ll have to live vicariously through behind-the-scenes books like Kitchen Confidential, The Fourth Star, and Waiter Rant. Whereas Kitchen Confidential and The Fourth Star focus on the back of the house, Waiter Rant is about the front, primarily the outrageous and dysfunctional interactions between waiters, diners and restaurant owners. In between humorous vignettes about poor tipping, self-medicating, and passive-aggressive farting, The Waiter writes about his personal shortcomings. The Waiter isn’t a lovable character, but the frankness in which he addresses his struggles makes him universally appealing. Waiter Rant isn’t a must-read, but it certainly is an entertaining one.
By the way, “The Bistro” that inspired Waiter Rant is the Lanterna Tuscan Bistro in Nyack, New York.