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Waiter Rant: Behind the Scenes of Eating Out [Paperback]

The Waiter
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Aug 2008

Most restaurant customers are nice people, but a few are socially maladjusted psychopaths who relish giving their waiters a hard time. Waiter Rant gives the inside scoop on what really goes on behind the scenes in a restaurant, how to be a good customer and get great service and why, strangely, a waiter's lifestyle is as addictive as crack cocaine.

After training as a priest, working in psychiatric hospitals and nearly having a nervous breakdown by the age of thirty, the Waiter began serving tables. Seven years later . . . he's still figuring out what to do when he grows up, but has survived enough hellish shifts on the restaurant floor, smiling whilst holding burning hot plates and still smiling whilst a customer changes her order for the seventh time, to know a thing or two.

His outrageous anecdotes of appalling customer behaviour show that people are at their worst when being served. Bad customers get bad service. So if you don't want your waiter to spit in your food, or give you the table next to the toilets on Valentine's Day, the Waiter suggests you follow a few customer rules.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; 1st ed. edition (7 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848540078
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848540071
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 797,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'The front-of-house version of Kitchen Confidential. You will never look at your waiter the same way again'

(Anthony Bourdain)

Adapted from an award-winning blog, a view of restaurant customers from the other side of the table'

(Publishing News)

'A hugely enjoyable book'

(Word Magazine)

'A light, fun, summer read'

(Terry Durack, Independent blogs)

'He dishes up solid advice on how to avoid the revenge that waiters can exact on difficult customers. Read carefully'


About the Author

The Waiter, a seminary dropout cum mental health care worker, waited his first table aged thirty-one. In 2004, the author started his popular blog, WaiterRant.net. He lives in the New York metropolitan area with his joint custody dog Buster.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Written by 'The Waiter' who set up the popular website of the same name, Waiter's Rant is an account of the waiter's experiences working in a busy New York restaurant.
The Waiter leaves no stone unturned as he insightfully and comically describes the ups and downs of the server's lifestyle ranging from difficult customers, irate chefs, anti social work schedules to tipping and waiting on celebrities. I can guarantee that all those who currently wait and have waited on tables at some point in the their lives will have experienced these ups and downs at least once and will not fail to appreciate the waiter's to the point sense of humour. Personally I was most taken by the parallels between the waiter's experiences and my own, I'm sure many other readers will feel the same.

A well earned 5 stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining 15 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good stories, good writing, fun to read on the commute or before you go to bed at night. Go out and get it.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Soda pop psychology 11 July 2010
By scep
"The front-of-house version of `Kitchen Confidential'" this is not (sorry Tony). It's a vehicle for Dublanica's cod-philosophical musings with a few tame stories about the waiting trade thrown in. If you think that I'm being harsh, try this: "My psychological makeup is composed of many factors, but I think my fear of destruction is partly related to learning I had a twin brother who died at birth." Or how about, "The Bistro's been like a womb I've been afraid to leave" or "I learned that love is only one ingredient among many in a relationship". I could go on. And on. He does. Cod 'n' chips, innit.

Where's the gonzo? Where's the schlock horror? Where's underbelly? Where's the inside stuff that we don't know already? The chapter titled `Substance Abuse', for example, is mostly spent informing us that service staff often drink a lot. `Vengeance is Mine' should have been a litany of outrageous, devious, laugh-out-loud one-upmanship. Instead we get pranks that your eight-year old daughter might come up with: one waiter asked if the mistress of a disliked customer was his daughter [*Blammo!*]. Dublanica told another man that his credit card was denied! When it wasn't! [*KaPOK!*]. Worst of all a whole, tedious chapter is given over to the fact that waiters like getting big tips but don't like people who are mean.

I could forgive some of these shortcomings but the writing is just too clumsy. Dublanica borrows heavily from `How Not to Write a Novel': the forced, extended dialogues to make a clever-clever point; the esprit d'escalier bitching; the "I'm such a screw up" pre-emptive strike etc. etc.

A wasted opportunity and solid proof that a good blog does not necessarily translate into a good book.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Own now... Or destroy your own true Karma 11 Aug 2008
Update the list of books you must own... You must now add `Waiter Rant' (Regardless of international edition - the UK cover is far better). Break down the rules you possess regarding fiction and non fiction and look at your reasons for reading:

Is it because you want to be enlightened? Is it because you want to be informed? Is it because you want to be entertained? Is it because you want to escape your current situation?

The `Waiter' (now unmasked as... Nah, you do the Google work to find his name out; just the same as I was forced to... suffice to say he's honest in the epilogue) has a huge talent.

And I need to quantify that. It's not his skills as a waiter... It's not the fact he trained to be a Catholic Priest. It's not the fact he worked in the nasty parts of mental health... it's not even the fact he's damned-fine wordsmith... It's because this man has a unique way of explaining the human psyche... And that's not with scientific `parts of the male human form which dangle between their legs when they are standing' definition of `psyche''. I mean a man, or as I would rather address him: `Gentleman' (and as a true Brit I could not use this as a compliment to most Yanks I've encountered - and YES there are a couple of exceptions!) who possesses a skill most authors have yet to acquire.

What's that? In my humble opinion [with 3 contracted theatre performances under my belt] the ability to disclose the thoughts/beliefs of certain sections of our population (regardless of nation) who are devoid of any form of true human compassion which enables them to falsely determine others they encounter as subordinate / secondary / minor / insignificant to them.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Drama: Without it we are soon bored. With too much drama, we are soon looking for peace and quiet. Waiters usually have no drama as they routinely do their jobs, so naturally the dramatic moments stand out. The Waiter who writes for the Waiter Rant Web site entertains us in this self-revealing memoir by sharing his highest and lowest moments serving the public in the New York City area.

Now, life for waiters in New York tends to be more dramatic than elsewhere in the United States: New York diners are demanding, loud, and aggressive. I well remember my first meal in a nice restaurant with people from New York. It was in Boston. If our waiter didn't sprint to our table within five seconds of these people wanting something, they headed off in a jog to find him. If this meant pushing into the kitchen or pounding on the men's room door, so be it. I wanted to crawl under the table and dig a hole.

Since then, I gotten used to dining with people from New York: There has to be a 30-minute heated discussion with the hostess over which table we will sit at while they threaten to take the whole party elsewhere (and often they do!). They usually don't even start thinking about what to order until after the waiter has returned six times to ask if everyone is ready. Everyone wants to order some item that's not on the menu and bitter complaints follow if that's not permitted. When the food arrives, they automatically send the entrees back to the kitchen to be redone while saying spiteful things about incompetence. The main table conversation is about how bad the restaurant is (led by those who picked the restaurant). Argh!

I hesitate to imagine what it must be like to be a waiter in these places. It might make a person a little cynical; n'est-ce pas?
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