Waiter Rant, by Steve Dublanica

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Author’s website
Publication date – July 21, 2008

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) In this book, the pseudonymous Steve Dublanica (a.k.a. Dan John Miller) achieves for waiters what Anthony Bourdain did for cooks in Kitchen Confidential. By the evidence of Waiter Rant, not even his seminary classes or job as a psychiatric worker could prepare Dublanica adequately for what he would experience pulling shifts at an upscale restaurant outside New York City. He tells story after entertaining story about customers, co-workers, and bosses who range individually from the imperious to the clinically insane. Along the way, the author-waiter delivers sound advice on proper tip etiquette and the art of getting good service.

Thoughts: Always interested in what things look like from the other side, this book seemed like a perfect fit for me. I’ve had good service, bad service, and utterly indifferent service from people at different restaurants, and I figured it was worth seeing the thoughts and opinions of this person who turned commentary on his work into a book that thousands of people were talking about.

My intuition led me in the right direction.

The author’s candid commentary on the inner workings of an upscale restaurant and all the politics and insanity surrounding it was a wonderfully entertaining read, and more than a little informative. I can’t say that I previously even thought about some of the issues he brought up, both in dealing with coworkers and with customers.

While the author did paint himself as something of a sympathetic figure through the whole tale, he was up front and honest enough to not do that in every instance. He freely admitted that he could be just as much of a jerk as anybody else, took his revenge on cranky customers, and talked trash with the kitchen workers. While I can’t say I approved of some of the things he did, I commend him for being honest about it all, and not making himself seem completely like the poor trod-upon worker whose boss and coworkers were all out to get him.

Though I won’t lie; there were plenty of people who treated him unfairly enough, and for stupid enough reasons, that I wanted to be able to knock their heads together more than once.

This book does more than shed light on the inner workings of the restaurant world, though. Many of the practices shown in here can be transplanted and applied to just about any job. Unscrupulous business practices, manic control-freak bosses, and corporate politics doing more to ruin a job experience than anything else. These aren’t things that only exist in restaurants, and I found myself relating to the author’s situation numerous times even though I have never had a job like his before. I think this is the kind of book that can speak to anybody who’s ever worked in a less-than-enjoyable job, and as such ties many people together in a loose community that they may never have even thought existed before.

Funny, irreverent, honest, and enlightening, this book is one that I can highly recommend to just about anybody. Wjether you close the book loving it or hating it, you won’t be able to honestly say that you didn’t learn something, or that you couldn’t ever relate. Definitely worth taking the time to read.

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