I’ve read Waiter Rant for a couple of years now, so I was quite happy to snag The Waiter’s book when it was published. I got my copy yesterday, and I wolfed it down this afternoon like one of his yuppie customers polishing off a $200 meal at The Bistro. Wait, no, I enjoyed it far more.
While the whole of the idea is to take the reader through the narrative of what it’s like to be a waiter—the lifestyle, the business environment, and how waiting tables seems to attract all sorts of misanthropes and social deviants—The Waiter also takes the reader through his own narrative: how he became a waiter, how he rose to the top, how he was beloved, and how he ended up becoming a minor tyrant at The Bistro. The whole book has a nice arc and speaks well of The Waiter’s newly-chosen career. The advice often given to writers is to write what they know, and The Waiter knows the restaurant biz well enough to tell the front-of-house story engagingly.
I’ve never worked in the restaurant business, but I’ve lived with folks who have. Understanding the economics of that back when I was co-oping and making ends meet most of the time helped me to recognize that, if I was going out to eat, I could afford to tip well. [And if I couldn’t afford it, I’d keep my happy ass at home.] I like to think that The Waiter would find me to be a nice customer. I certainly try to be.
If you like a good narrative, are interested in the food business, or just like supporting bloggers-turned-dead-tree-product pushers, Waiter Rant is an excellent choice. I’ll admit: when I first saw the URL, I thought it was “Wait Errant”, like a knight errant. That mental image has always colored how I read The Waiter, but I also think that it fits.