The anonymous writer who subsequently revealed himself to be Steve Dublanica upon the publication of his second book is the creator of an award-winning blog in which he aired the behind-the-scenes dirty laundry of his workplaces in trendy New York restaurants. It’s often suggested that employees should avoid potentially slanderous comments online about their coworkers, bosses, or customers. Dublanica managed this anonymously for years with the only person ever pegging him as “the guy who writes that blog” turning out to be a famous actor who had patronized an upper-class bistro where he worked.
With hilarious anecdotes, Waiter Rant chronicles Dublanica’s early days as a fumbling beginner, at age 30, through his development into a top waiter with management responsibilities. He dealt with a lot of ups and downs, insane dealings with bosses and owners, but enjoyed being able to please the majority of his customers. His background in a Catholic seminary and a psychology degree helped him handle the toughest customers with ease. This “rant” made me recall my own awkward challenges with learning how to negotiate the delicate relationships and pecking order between wait staff and management as well as the hardworking kitchen crew and often-arrogant bartenders when I waitressed while in college and a few other times while I was still figuring out what I wanted to become. Apparently, restaurants are often quite the dysfunctional family, places where sexism, racism, nepotism, ethnic discrimination, segregation, indentured servitude, and sexual harassment are all alive and well.
The author had become disillusioned after a foray into various short-lived healthcare jobs that had made him feel victimized, alienated, and depressed, and had only taken the waiter job in order to make ends meet but found himself working in the business for more than ten years. Writing his blog and eventually publishing this memoir helped him find his career in writing, but simultaneously he contemplated continuing the service job because he found that he is quite good at it.
“Just like at the seminary and in my previous job, I once again found myself surrounded by well-educated people who looked good, said the right things, and behaved dishonestly.”
Restaurant employees as well as customers concerned about getting an insider’s advice that will get them priority seating as well as prevent them from eating food contaminated by a disgruntled server will appreciate this book. It’s also a good laugh with some amusing tongue-in-cheek stories and a perspective on human behavior that only an eavesdropping server can share. One thing the author loves and appreciates about being a waiter is being an anonymous witness to many of life’s moments that often occur over restaurant meals such as marriage proposals and life-changing conversations.