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Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip--Confessions of a Cynical Waiter

Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip--Confessions of a Cynical Waiter

3.9 199
by Steve Dublanica

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

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.
Jonathan Yardley
…amusing and informative…Waiter Rant is as delightful as it is irreverent.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Anonymity is tough to maintain when you want to do a book tour. Such is the case with Steve Dublanica, a seminary dropout and laid-off psychiatric worker who, in 2004, started www.WaiterRant.net, blogging as "The Waiter." His brutal observations on waiting tables at an upscale restaurant he called "The Bistro" (outed as Lanterna Tuscan Bistro in Nyack, N.Y.) are expanded in this entertaining audio. Dan John Miller is pitch perfect not only as the Waiter-who devolves from woebegone rookie into jaded veteran-but also as his customers, co-workers, bosses and brother. Miller's vocal interpretation dovetails seamlessly with the material. He shines when the Waiter is dishing it out, but even more so when he's taking it. Miller's performance is enthralling during passages in which he reveals his crippling self-doubt, overwhelming sense of underachievement and acknowledgment that he's become somewhat of a jerk. An Ecco hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 28). (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

When not waiting tables at a pricey New York City restaurant, the pseudonymous author dishes out insults and shares his observations on the popular blog www.waiterrant.net. He's now turned his musings into a book, and this reviewer feels a "don't quit your day job" is in order. While the autobiographical ramblings can be interesting and even mildly amusing, and actor/musician Dan John Miller narrates with an appropriately benevolent, all-knowing tone, more often than not listeners will wish they'd ordered another entrée. Instead of making a full meal of it, they'd do better to sample this production (audio clip available through library.brillianceaudio.com). [The Ecco hc was recommended "for larger public libraries and those seeking to add depth to their memoir collections," LJ5/15/08; optioned for development as a TV series.-Ed.]
—Lance Eaton

Kirkus Reviews
A popular blogger offers behind-the-scenes tales about working the front of the house. After defecting from seminary and losing his subsequent job, the author took a temporary position as a server in an upscale New York restaurant. Six or seven years later, much to his own surprise, he was still waiting tables and anonymously recording his experiences at WaiterRant.net. In the casual, confessional tone of a seasoned blogger, The Waiter tells of corruption, intrigue, drug abuse, heated romance and of course tips, weaving it all into a humorously detailed memoir. Restaurant work can be emotionally toxic and brutalizing, he reveals. Living outside the nine-to-five world's boundaries warped and changed him and his fellow servers. Holidays became a source of stress, not joy, and accepting a friend's Friday night dinner invitation amounted to sacrificing hundreds of dollars in unearned pay. Worst of all were the bad customers, many of whom exhibited an astonishing level of self-absorption and entitlement. Required to endure abuse with a smile, many waiters unsurprisingly blew their night's tips on drinks after hours. Still, the life of a server wasn't all groveling and bingeing; some learned, as The Waiter did, to wield subtle, psychological control over even the most recalcitrant customers. He's good on psychological analysis too: His taxonomy of tippers comes complete with shrewd assessments of their various motivations, such as the mistaken assumption of "the verbal tipper" that heaping on praise will make up for a shoddy tip. The author began to relish the intimate glimpses he got into diners' personal lives, and underneath his hard-earned cynicism he seems justifiably proud of his progressin a difficult job. A heartfelt, irreverent look at the underbelly of fine dining.
Chicago Tribune
“…funny and touching.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“For enlightenment on how to handle such situations, I reached out to The Waiter. You know, the New York City-based guy who created the wildly entertaining Waiter Rant blog, which is now a cannot-put-it-down book.”
Los Angeles Times
“Waiter Rant has all the fixings for fun....What Anthony Bourdain’s tell-all about life in the kitchen did for Hollandaise sauce, Waiter Rant will do for side salads.”
Washington Post Book World
“…amusing and informative…along with the stories, some of which are hilarious, Dublanica provides useful advice for the customer...Waiter Rant is as delightful as it is irreverent.”
Bloomberg News
“Fortunately, The Waiter (who has since outed himself as a chap called Steve Dublanica) does more in this book than get even; he provides thoughtful insights into how the restaurant business works.”
New York Times Book Review
“Extremely funny, no-nonsense and insightful.”
Wall Street Journal
“The main attraction here is [Dublanica’s] acerbic, biting and often hilarious accounts of life behind the scenes at the front of the house.”
Tampa Tribune
“Lucky for the reader, The Waiter has kept his eyes open and is willing to gossip about what he has seen from the other side of the menu.”
Chicago Sun-Times
“…here is my unabashed recommendation: If you eat out with any regularity, read this book!”
Matt Lauer
“Anyone that has ever eaten in a restaurant is going to want to grab [this book].”
Anthony Bourdain
The front-of-the-house version of Kitchen Confidential; a painfully funny, excruciatingly true-life account of the waiter’s life. As useful as it is entertaining.
“Writing a best-seller is a big deal, and the Waiter deserves a 20% tip for serving up such a fun summer read.”

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HarperCollins Publishers
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What People are Saying About This

Anthony Bourdain
The front-of-the-house version of Kitchen Confidential; a painfully funny, excruciatingly true-life account of the waiter’s life. As useful as it is entertaining.
Matt Lauer
“Anyone that has ever eaten in a restaurant is going to want to grab [this book].”

Meet the Author

Steve Dublanica is the bestselling author of Waiter Rant, which spent twelve weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He lives in the New York metropolitan area with his joint-custody dog, Buster.

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Waiter Rant 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 199 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of the blog WaiterRant, you are going to love this book. If you've never read the WaiterRant blog, you'll find yourself going to read more. The book is hysterically accurate, from the egottistical owner/manager skimming tips and making staff pay him for good shifts, to the self-important yuppie who DEMANDS a table NOW(7pm valentines nite, no reservations. The 40 tips on how to be a good customer is a must read at the end of the book. I started reading it at 11pm and didnt put it down until the last page at 4:30am! Terrific read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you've worked in restaurants (for me, going on 25 years), you will find yourself nodding, laughing, and cringing in empathy as The Waiter, who has moved from internet blog to the written page, tells what life is like for the guy who is serving your food. Anyone who hasn't worked in restaurants will benefit from The Waiter's insight. Interesting bits on becoming a Jedi waiter and tips on how to be a better customer. And to answer the customer who asked The Waiter, "You're more than just a waiter, aren't you?" The answer is, "Yes, ma'am, we are all more than 'just' waiters, just as you are more than 'just' a customer." Jesus-card and verbal tippers, you especially need to read this book! Remember, every waiter has been a customer, but not every customer has been a waiter...
Puddlejuice More than 1 year ago
As a lifelong server/bartender I was delighted to find this collection of essays on my chosen trade, written by a veteran server. There were definitely those moments of recognition on my part, of experiences only a server can relate to. Customer types, dealing with the kitchen, the art of tipping. But I was expecting less of such a personal memoir, and more waiter antics we could all relate to. Overall, a good example of writing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading 'Waiter Rant', being in the industry myself, but it seems to take a lot of it's material from another book I read previously called 'Fine Dining Madness'. It has a similar style and copies some of the anecdotes Mr. Galloway uses in his book. Galloway's humor and points of view are more clever and interesting. I was disappointed. Good book, but not very original.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a waitress, I was excited to read about the experiences of someone else in a restaurant. I have had so many funny and great experiences, but I also have some true horror stories. I was hoping to read about someone else's trials and mistrials. This book has few of those. Mostly, The Waiter is a pretentious server who loves to whine about how pathetic his life is in between mistreating his fellow employees and complaining about his boss. I would not recommend this pity party of a book.
Htys14a More than 1 year ago
ok the guys a waiter and as such he has had some unique experiences with customers, other waiters , waitresses and cooks -- Fun for about 100 pages than it gets old --Wait until its in the 2 for $5 bin
PJG More than 1 year ago
No great masterpiece - just a nice read for a beach or a long flight.
SaraMichelleJ More than 1 year ago
Seriously, laugh out loud funny, and SOOO true! If you have ever worked in the restaurant business, you will totally relate to this book. If you haven't, please read it, and gain some understanding! Well written and humerous. Great Sunday afternoon read!
birdienotpar More than 1 year ago
Recommend to anyone who wants a peek into The Bistro to see what goes on behind the scene at a real food establishment.
pjpick More than 1 year ago
With both of them, it might be "too much" to handle all at once. Although I've seen one review state that compared to Bourdain's book, Dublanica's seemed like a "whiney rant" there is a major difference. As a waiter, Dublanica has to deal directly with the public without a place to hide and is forced to "be nice" in the face of adversity. And as someone who works directly with the public I think Dublanica definitely deserves the right to rant. I tore through this one fairly quickly. It took me a little time to get used to Dublanica's acerbic style but I think that is part of the character we want to expect. Although readily admitting most of his clientele are wonderful (as are mine), I think he does a service to us by exposing the bad behavior and "entitlement" which seems to have become wrongly acceptable in today's world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm only on chapter seven and this book is to funny. I have worked at nice places and pizza places were we wear jeans and a shirt and everything this guy says is true. No matter what kind of place it is. I was working in the restaurant business for about six years and its all about getting what you can get, hooking up and drama. If you want to laugh read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would have enjoyed Waiter Rant had it just been anecdotes from The Waiter's restaurant career but this book is so much more. The Waiter has turned what could have been a simply entertaining collection of gross-out stories into a truly moving and memorable memoir. He is clearly not a slave to his subject matter. He handily transcended the confines of a single-subject blog and has written a touching story about finding his own place in the world. I am looking forward to what this writer has in store for us, on or off the subject of restaurants, fiction or non-fiction. This book offers compelling evidence that he will be a versatile wordsmith who will only get better with time.
bookholiday More than 1 year ago
I love true stories and this was one of them. Can't wait to read more
Starry_reader More than 1 year ago
This is a great book: easy to read with lots of content, it will leave you surprised. The book goes beyond ranting and raving about the pleasures, and dis-pleasures of the food industry: it analyzes the root of human behavior, struggle for survival in the modern world, the difference in social classes, immigration, money, drugs, and sex and the sense of entitlement in American society. Pick a topic you will find it here, but the author managed to tie it all together into this clever and funny book without making it boring, too deep, or complicated. Basically the author is an honest working man that because of the hand he was dealt ends up working behind the scenes in the dysfunctional food industry. Like many of us he has parked himself on the side of the road watching life pass him by, his writing becomes his refuge and his confessor and we as the audience recognized his struggles as our own, and identify ourselves with him. A must read, is easy to read, you won't be able to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having worked in restaurants on and off for thirty years as a server, I found this book to be (unfortunately)frighteningly accurate, especially for big-city restaurant situations - the more money people have, the more deluded they tend to be about what is appropriate to expect another human being to do at their behest. This book is most entertaining for those who have served their time in an apron, and while it would be enlightening for those who haven't, they'd probably think the writer is exaggerating. Trust me, he's not. . .many anecdotes are similar to my own experiences, except that I didn't encounter restaurants where the levels of internal antagonism were that high - my experience has been that the staff tends to bond together more in reaction to the customers' craziness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm in the restuarant business and had to stop reading just to wipe the tears from my eyes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
debnicreader More than 1 year ago
Fun and absorbing book, couldn't put it down.
JaxReader56 More than 1 year ago
Totally enjoyable book. Read it in 2 days!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. I read about a book every week and a half and this was really a great read. The author is witty and real as he explains his encounters while being a server. I was a server myself for a time in my life and it was funny to me because I had been in many situations that he described. This book brings back great memories that I miss talking about but would not jump to relive. It will leave you never stiffing a server again, never treating them poorly, and it will teach you to think more about treating others as you would like to be treated. Above all of that-It's hilarious.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Aptly titled Waiter Rant Is a book many can't Bear to put down once begun As it's true and great fun. Why couldn't I put Waiter Rant down after reading a few pages? Because he started by serving great dish - although economists say that the restaurant business is a bellwether of the nation's economic health. Our author sees it differently: '... I think it's a bellwether of America's mental health as well. And let me tell you, 20 percent of the American dining public are socially maladjusted psychopaths. We should start putting Prozac in the Perrier.' Unfortunately for this waiter (Steve Dublanica who is no longer anonymous thanks to book tours) much of that 20 percentile found its way to his tables. It's more than entertaining to discover how he handled or mishandled the grouses, the souses, and the patently dishonest. But, how did a nice guy find himself in such a fix? He started out to become a piest. After attending a college seminary, he became disenchanted by 'an imperfect system.' Following college graduation with a major in psychiatry he worked for a drug-rehabilitation facility where he again met disillusionment when all the bugs in the health care system were discovered - insurance fraud, restraining patients against their will, etc. What to do to pay the rent and buy groceries? His brother worked as a waiter and found a job for Steve. Thus, it all began. As time passed he realized that what he witnessed each day as customers dined and drank were snapshots of their lives - either pretty or ugly but always revealing. Steve began to write about what he saw each day on his blog waiterrant.net. The blog eventually garnered a huge audience, won the 2006 'Best Writing in a Weblog' Bloggie award, and caught the attention of book publishers. Of course, this didn't happen overnight. What Steve thought was a stop gap job turned into 7 years at the Bistro, owned by Fluvio, an irrational dictator so ruled by paranoid anxiety that he installed hidden cameras in order to keep an eye on his staff in the dining room, kitchen, front sidewalk, and even the back alley where they went for a smoke. Steve's recollections of his customers are priceless, both heart warming and hilarious. His revelations about what goes on in a restaurant's kitchen aren't always appetizing. What goes on in a restaurant's rest room? Totally shocking! Waiter Rant is this year's special. Enjoy and be very, very kind to your waiters. Highly recommended. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read, and reviewed both 'Waiter Rant' and 'Fine Dining Madness.' Rant was more coarse, Madness was almost poetic. Both were educational, but 'Fine Dining Madness' is garnished with history and explanations. I do find it odd that Mr. Galloway, in a classicaly liberal occupation, is so intent on helping wounded war veterans, so much that he takes none of his royalties. And if you saw him interviewed on ESPN Hollywood, you'd know that his book was six years in the making. It is possible that Galloway's 'Fine Dining Madness' and Rant's author are one in the same.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been reading 'Waiter Rant' the blog for years. The blog has made me laugh out loud, it's made me cry, and it's been my pleasure to either forward to friends or read installments of it to them aloud. The book is in the same spirit as the blog pulled together by the Waiter's backstory. It's a treat for 'Rant' fans like me to learn of our hero's evolution from newbie to sage Samurai Server. This book is true, true, true as a representation of life behind the starched aprons and fake smiles of our serving industry. It is impossible to read this book and not at least chuckle! This is the perfect gift for anyone who has ever waited tables or anyone who is presently slinging hash. I'm raving about 'Waiter Rant'!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In deference to the 'people' (if it isn't really just one individual) that have been commenting so highly on a book from 2 years ago, the Waiter has been actively working on this book for the past two years as well as his blog for over 7 yrs. These are his experiences/observations and written in his own style.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book, definitely top shelf reading. Much more clever than many restaurant books. But the king of the restaurant humor mountain is John Galloway's 'Fine Dining Madness' that came out before Rant. Read both, and remember, eat your Etoufee!