So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Link of the day – The Waiter’s Digest


This is one of the oldest waiting tables sites on the internet. Helmut Schonwalder is a transplanted German who waits tables in California. It’s a shame that he probably had to drop the two umlauts in his name – perhaps he could borrow one from Queensryche, who has an unnecessary (and incorrect one, for that matter) over the Y.  And he could just get the other from Blue Öyster Cult since they really don’t need that one, unless they really want you to call their band Blue Erister Cult.

Frankly, I could do without the MIDI background stuff (if you’re going to give me Money! Money! Money!, give me ABBA, not some cheesy MIDI file). And the site has always bit a bit of maze. About 4 years ago, he started to transition into more of a commerce site and he has lots of offerings that you can purchase.

The great part of the site is his “Waiter’s Digest”, a series of pages with the same goal as this very blog – a primer on getting and mastering the waiter’s job.

He’s also got a CDROM on napkin folding, where he has hundreds of folds. He still got a few dozen that you can look at for free.

Schonwalder is old school as well as old world. He takes his profession seriously and he has a wealth of knowledge that you’ll find useful. I remember reading many of his tales of waiting tables over the years (he was the granddaddy of all waiter rant-type sites, albeit with a sophistication that you sometimes find lacking in similar sites). Due to the circuitous nature of his web empire, it’s rather hard for me to see if any of those tales are still visible for free. He has compiled a CDROM of his tales, but, you might still be able to access some of them. Some of them are quite choice, especially some of the ones from “the old country”.

The best tip I got from his tales? If you have a white shirt and the cuff is stained, use a piece of white chalk to cover it up for the day. Of course, in these days of whiteboards and computer monitors, it ain’t easy to find chalk. It wasn’t an explicit tip, but one that was just part of a story. You’ll find lots of little gems buried in his tales. If you have to buy his CDROM to get them, so be it.

While the graphics are very dated, the visual style waaaay too florid, garish and in need of a serious update, and the navigation needs simplifying, you should check out Helmut’s site if you haven’t already. There was a time where it was one of the few waiter reference sites on the ‘net and, for that alone, it should be celebrated.

Oh yeah, there’s a nice series of posts on the history of dining.

This is the main portal:

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