“I have met several waiters who have at least one knife-throwing-chef story in their repertoire. The best way to explain this is to understand that kitchen staff and waiters are like the Palestinians and Israelis, separate and distinct nationalities uncomfortably sharing the same volatile piece of real estate,” writes Steve Dublanica in his extremely funny and delightful book called Waiter Rant.
This award-winning blogger’s first book offers a delicious insight into the world of waiting staff in New York city. Reading through his eloquent narration, you could easily relate to many of these situations in restaurants anywhere in the world. This book has revealed the drama that happens behind dining area, which you as a customer would never know or imagine, just the same way Antony Bourdain talked about kitchen secrets in his successful book Kitchen Confidential.
Stories of waiters in London or elsewhere are neither divergent nor short of fun and pain. In comparison, we have less arrogance and issues. English mannerism and ethnic modesty make us a sociable community to deal with. Although we have reasonable rapport between floor and kitchen staff, some skirmishes are typical in this profession and couldn’t be remedied.
Being a waiter means dissimilar to different people. In spite of this being a simple job, it can take you along an exciting journey and implausible success depends on how people apply themselves to the job. Our familiarity taught that a waiter commands the mood, taste and future of a restaurant.
Looking into a restaurant family, our waiters ensure the balancing act for his chef and manager. Brightness of his eyes, smile, thoughtful words and movements that reflect the elegance of his whole posture combine the magic that comes out of a waiter’s power. In America, the book talks about the tip culture, which is the overriding inspiration for waiters. They would bargain for the busiest shifts by bribing the manager to make more money. There are ways he releases his frustration, fatigue and revenge, be it cigarettes, alcohol, gambling or others. Distinction between good and bad waiter is more apparent here since tip revenue is low, performance is less competitive and a lot depend on individual talent.
A waiter confronts enormous hurdles to establish his career, elevate the overall image of the restaurant and, in particular, in becoming a real treat for the customers. While he is not complimented always for a great performance, he could easily be targeted for silly mistakes like slow service, misplaced orders, breakage or even bad customer behaviour. Often his biggest obstacle comes in the form of an unreasonable manager or an angry-faced chef; both these people could bombard him with unfriendly language in the middle of busy hours.
Appreciating most of universal grievances explained in the Waiter Rant and associated own encounters, I feel there is an exceptionally beautiful side to a waiter’s world. The moment customers enter a restaurant, a waiter with imagination could conjure biggest difference. A good waiter is the star of the establishment, everyone watches him silently and easily becomes jealous for his sheer charm and effortlessness
It is a must-read book. If you eat out often and enjoy the feel of restaurants, maybe you will treat your waiter differently and observe him better. Don’t miss the appendixes where he talks about 40 tips on how to be a good customer. It is hilarious and food for thought for many of our funny and bigheaded clienteles!
The author is a London-based restaurateur who owns the Rasa chain of restaurants