Service Industries: “No Escape from Reality” + Entitled Customers

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Confronting without Confrontation

Posted: 07/1/2015

Yes, this is the “real life,” and it’s not “just fantasy.” A lot of humans just plain suck.

It’s no fun being the Fun Police. I’ve been a member of the brigade often. And no matter how hard you try, it’s rare to confront a group of “fun” people who completely “get it” when you ask them to consider the circumstances, their volume and actions, and everyone else around them. When you add alcohol to the mix, it often doesn’t end well.

Today’s post comes with permission via KC, owner of KC’s Rib Shack in Manchester, NH via their facebook page:

Open letter to an OBNOXIOUS Self Entitled Customer: ( I have always come from the school of “The customer is always right” and many of you who know me and have been customers of KC’s for many many years know I will bend over backwards for my customers.) That being said, there are times I need to say what needs to be said. Which is what follows [after Joyce's 'review'].

Joyce — 1 star • KC’s Ribs Shack WAS one of our favorite places to eat HOWEVER we just left there very unhappy. We had a party of twenty for a birthday party. We were all seated in the bar. We were having fun singing along with the radio when the OWNER came over to the table and very RUDELY told us to keep quiet others were trying to eat. Now mind you there were about 10 others in the bar and they were all laughing and having fun with us including the bartender and wait staff. When we confronted owner about him being rude he said he didn’t care! Let it be know We will NEVER EAT THERE AGAIN!!! We had a 500 dollar bill they have now lost our business! And I now will never recommend this place to anyone!!! I will never go again!!! ‪#‎KCRIBSHACK‬ ‪#‎THEYSUCK‬ ‪#‎ownersanASSHOLE‬ ‪#‎boycott‬

KC’s response:

Dear Joyce, I sincerely apologize that you mistakenly thought my restaurant was a karaoke bar.

We are a family restaurant not a bar. I realize you felt as though everybody in the entire restaurant was rejoicing in the painful rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody you and your self entitled friends were performing, yet that was not the case.

Although sometimes it is tough to walk the line between being the fun police and allowing our customers to enjoy themselves to their fullest. We have to draw the line when it becomes a nuisance to other customers in the restaurant at the time. Two tables asked to be moved to other areas of the restaurant even after your group was asked to stop singing. You probably missed out on that because it is clearly all about you. I’m glad you and your inconsiderate friends have vowed to “Never Eat There Again” and to #Boycott KC’s Rib Shack. Go ahead and continue your social media crusade on Yelp and facebook. I think you may have forgot Tripadviser as well. Thanks again for your feedback. We will let you know if we decide to become a karaoke bar in the future. ‪#‎IMKC‬ ‪#‎IMTHEASSHOLE‬ ‪#‎ISUCK‬ ‪#‎DON‬TNEEDINCONCIDERATECUSTOMERS

“Easy Come, Easy Go” -Freddy Mercury (Bohemian Rhapsody)

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Managing Restaurant Employees in the Age of Online Amatuer Reviews

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 06/10/2015

Today’s guest post was submitted by Joshua Sperber, doctoral candidate at CUNY Graduate Center.

I worked, mostly as a host and cashier, in three Los Angeles restaurants during the mid-1990s. In each restaurant, whether it was a mom and pop or part of a national chain, management made the same complaint: my refusal to greet customers with a warm smile was bad for business and, by implication, my job security. One owner even referred to a national study that demonstrated that – as is in fact the case – worker unfriendliness is the main reason that customers don’t return to a restaurant.

While my managers sometimes seemed embarrassed, or even apologetic, to be lecturing their mostly un-tipped, minimum-wage-earning employee on the importance of appearing happy, there was one time when management became deadly serious about its “smile or else” policy. I had been written up by a Mystery Shopper for not smiling while hosting at Coco’s. Seeming to forget that the Mystery Shopper was in fact a company employee applying criteria that the company had invented in the first place, my managers acted as if I had grievously harmed someone. Indeed, management ordering me to smile was one thing, but a customer – even a fake one – ordering me to smile was something else. My only comfort was knowing that because Mystery Shoppers were said to visit infrequently, I wouldn’t have to worry about being spied on by one for a long time.

The website Yelp has changed the way many restaurants manage their staffs. Numerous restaurants, especially chains, still utilize Mystery Shoppers, but these restaurants also supplement their internal reviews with Yelp’s online reviews. And smaller establishments (which are more affected by negative Yelp reviews) that don’t employ Mystery Shoppers generally do rely on Yelp as an informal, albeit unreliable, customer-subsidized “Mystery Shopper.” If I were working at Coco’s today, my occasional anxiety about a potential Mystery Shopper would likely be replaced by perpetual concern that every customer could be a Yelp reviewer. I might even start smiling, not out of happiness or general well-being but out of fear.

I have talked to over two dozen New York City managers who have punished (for instance, through loss of shifts) and even fired employees who had been identified in negative Yelp reviews. Some managers also use Yelp reviews to provide positive feedback. For instance, one chain posts on a bulletin board reviews that praise employees (while still confronting employees about negative reviews, of course). And one manager, according to his employee, even puts his staff to work writing positive Yelp reviews whenever a negative one appears. In short, managers – while maintaining a decidedly ambivalent attitude toward Yelp – have found numerous ways to incorporate online customer feedback into their management of workers.

I am currently writing my dissertation on the ways in which customer-based websites are being used to manage employees. While I have had no trouble interviewing dozens of Yelp reviewers and restaurant managers, it’s been trickier to interview servers (I can’t go into a restaurant and spend 25 minutes talking to a server with the manager watching). I therefore wanted to ask any servers or bartenders reading this to please contact me if you have any experiences with or thoughts on how Yelp has affected your workplace. I’d like to hear from you whether your experiences are good, bad, or neutral, and all interviews will be anonymous.

Thank you very much- Joshua Sperberjsperber@gradcenter.cuny.edu

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To Shame or Not to Shame?

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Shame

Posted: 03/8/2015

On the heels of one of the biggest stories in the news last week, publicly shaming abusive guests and fellow humans, I made 2 lists for current and future consulting clients to consider before pulling the trigger. Now that we’ve all had time to reflect on the incidents and the aftermath, I decided to make my lists public here for discussion.

Reasons why initiating public shaming of customers by a business on social media is a bad idea:

  1. Defending the decision or apologizing for it can be a huge time drain.
  2. The distraction from running your business.
  3. It could backfire badly.
  4. The other side of the story.
  5. The truth.
  6. If you or your staff are culpable, you’ve created an (unnecessary) opportunity for the spotlight to shine brightly on your mishandling of the situation, lack of training, professionalism and experience.
  7. The potential perception that your shaming of guests may be perceived as passive aggressive and cowardly, the same thing many of us accuse amateur ‘reviewers’ of.
  8. Screenshots and residual articles and comments are forever, along with the negative connotations.
  9. The satisfaction is usually temporary, and often not worth it.
  10. The questions about your true motives. (Is it to compensate for something you’re not doing or to create a distraction?)
  11. The risk. It’s rarely 100% beneficial.
  12. The sycophantic, ‘hero’ worshiping, cheerleaders who may enjoy the entertainment aren’t your true friends.
  13. The high road.
  14. Revenge/retaliation.
  15. Inciting ex-employees with a legitimate ax to grind to unearth ugly truths. (Wrongful termination, etc.)
  16. Inciting ex-’everythings’  to expose your skeletons. (Stiffed/jaded vendors, consultants, etc.)
  17. The longer-term implications for the shamed could ultimately be more severe than their improprieties warrant.
  18. Potentially being accused of staging the incident for PR purposes.
  19. The questions raised about your professionalism and hospitality philosophy.
  20. Huge distraction for FOH staff when future customers repeatedly ask about the incident.
  21. The story will be repeated over and over inaccurately, with negative connotations for you and your business.
  22. You’re better off letting someone else do it, bloggers, media, customers, Chowhounds, etc.
  23. Your PR firm may fire you.
  24. Potential lawsuit.
  25. Google.

Reasons why initiating public shaming of customers by a business on social media is a great idea:

  1. You’ve slept on it and considered all 25 reasons above and are convinced that you, your employees, future guests, your brand and your business will benefit in the long run.

There are exceptions when we’re backed into a corner and need to defend ourselves, our families, staff,  brands, businesses, the ‘truth’, and fight fire with fire. Absolutely. And there’s no doubt with the way that technology has evolved, and the way people sometimes use it as a threat, that we’ve all been tempted to strike back, and have in some cases. I’ve done it probably more often than I should have via blog posts. We all wish we could have moments back and could have handled things differently. As business owners, employees and customers, we can all learn from this recent spate of public shamings, and reflect on how we might respond the next time we’re tempted.

I strive for the mission of this blog and my book project to present balanced views of the issues. That doesn’t always happen because we’re all biased and my bias has a (strong) tendency to sympathize with workers/owners vs. customers in most instances. I understand that, and I’ll continue to work on being more objective while researching and posting here.

I welcome your comments and perspective.

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Attorney Benjamin Edelman “Internet Sheriff” on ill-advised crusade

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Shame

Posted: 12/10/2014

The level of stupidity that service industry workers and owners encounter interacting with the public is astonishing. Last week a Boston restaurant owner and food truck operator shared the story about a woman who called and was irate because her nephew didn’t get the exact hamburger he wanted. Her nephew and his friend only paid $7.50 for two burgers (one was comped because of a communication error), but the woman demanded a $30 refund. I know, “fuzzy math.” He ended up sending her a $10 gift card to keep the peace. It never ends.

This one from Hilary Sargent at Boston.com  is tough to beat. Attorney Ben Edelman took  Sichuan Garden to task over a $4 “overcharge” on his takeout order, and in an email exchange, things got out of control. The email exchange was shared with Boston.com and suddenly it became a huge story.

I’ve reached out to Benjamin and the dean of the Harvard Business School (where he purportedly teaches negotiations) for comment.

From Ben’s website: “Ben holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Economics at Harvard University, a J.D. from the Harvard Law School, an A.M. in Statistics from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College (summa cum laude). He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar.”

Not a whole lot of common sense or street smarts from a guy with so many degrees


Ben Edelman (left) and Ran Duan (right)

By Hilary Sargent, Boston.com Staff | 12.09.14 | 3:28 PM

Ben Edelman is an associate professor at Harvard Business School, where he teaches in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets unit.

Ran Duan manages The Baldwin Bar, located inside the Woburn location of Sichuan Garden, a Chinese restaurant founded by his parents.

Last week, Edelman ordered what he thought was $53.35 worth of Chinese food from Sichuan Garden’s Brookline Village location.

Edelman soon came to the horrifying realization that he had been overcharged. By a total of $4.

If you’ve ever wondered what happens when a Harvard Business School professor thinks a family-run Chinese restaurant screwed him out of $4, you’re about to find out. (Hint: It involves invocation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Statute and multiple threats of legal action.)

Surprised yet? We were, too.

In addition to teaching at HBS, Edelman also operates a consulting practice where he advises clients like Microsoft, the NFL, the New York Times, and Universal Music on “preventing and detecting online fraud (especially advertising fraud).” (That’s from Edelman’s own website, which it seems safe to presume is always kept up to date.)

He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College. He has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Ran Duan moved to the U.S. from China when he was 3-years-old. His father had hoped to support the family with a career as an opera singer, but when that didn’t pan out, Duan says “like all Chinese families we decided to open up a restaurant.”

Sichuan Garden opened its doors in Brookline in the early 1990s. A second location followed in Woburn.

Despite the restaurant’s successful expansion, Duan admittted that Sichuan does not have the budget for teams devoted to public relations or a website that is updated as regularly as it should be.


Screenshot of Sichuan Garden’s website as of December 9.

“I personally respond to every complaint and try to handle every situation personally,” said Duan, who was profiled by Boston Magazine in June and featured in GQ Magazine last month as “America’s Most Imaginative Bartender.”

The exchange with Edelman stood out to Duan. “I have worked so hard to make my family proud and to elevate our business. It just broke my heart.”

Edelman told Boston.com that investigating pricing discrepancies by neighborhood restaurants isn’t something he does every day.

“I mostly look for malfeasance by larger companies,” he said. “It certainly seems like a situation that could call for legal redress. But this is a small business in the town where I reside.”

As for the troves of angry customers likely looking for recourse? Edelman pointed Boston.com to Massachusetts General Law, Section XV, Chapter 93A, Section 9. (Translation: If you didn’t pass the Massachusetts bar, but still feel as though you must do SOMETHING, then just gather all the receipts you’ve saved, along with all screenshots you took and saved of the website menu in case that dinner order ever ended up in court, find a lawyer whose fees aren’t likely to exceed the few dollars you’re seeking, and … voila?)

As for Edelman, he alerted town officials in Brookline about the matter, but told Boston.com he doesn’t expect them to take action. He plans to “take a few days” before deciding whether to pursue any further legal action against the restaurant.

Oh and the food? Edelman admitted: “It was delicious.”

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Tribute to a True Gentleman-Bartender, Josh Childs

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 09/30/2014

Much to the dismay of Boston’s restaurant community and Tuesday night tipplers, tonight marks the last ‘official’ shift for Josh Childs behind the bar at Silvertone in Boston’s Downtown Crossing. We will miss his affable, warm, welcoming, inclusive and good-natured presence and humor behind the bar. Long ago dubbed, the “Godfather of Boston Hospitality,” Josh is a guy whose laudatory reputation accurately precedes him.

It’s time to celebrate one of Boston’s most beloved bartenders.

One of the first “Josh moments” I had was at Silvertone. After talking with someone outside for several minutes, I came back to my stool at the bar and my High Life was in a mini “beer cooler,” a Boston Shaker tin filled with ice to keep my beer cold. Absolutely brilliant. After several similar interactions with Josh, I quickly realized that the legend was not myth.

A few years back, Misty Kalkofen asked me to help coordinate the initiative to bring “Hey Bartender,” a bartending documentary to Boston. Part of the initiative included assembling a panel of Boston bartenders for an on-stage discussion after the film. I was anxious about getting a great group to commit to the event. Not only did Josh participate, he showed up to dinner with the director before the film, then added his down-to-earth candor, wisdom and insight to the panel discussion. It was a huge relief to have Josh and his voice included in the conversation. Two days after the event, I received a hand-written envelope in the mail. It was an old-school, ‘Thank You’ note from Josh stating that he was “honored to participate.” I was nervous as hell about assembling a panel, and the living legend himself not only comes through, but takes time to humbly send his gratitude. Those are the defining moments that reinforce what the term, “good people” is all about. I’ll never forget that.

I asked some Boston restaurant industry folks and friends to share their reflections about Josh Childs:

Aaron Butler: There are too many stories to exactly say how much Josh has had an impact on me. Still, there is one. That amazing man opened Silvertone on my 30th birthday on a Sunday just for my friends and me and bartended it the whole time with Cedric. He is selfless, thoughtful, and wants nothing but the best out of and for others. 

Seth Yaffe (GM, The Gallows): Josh Childs has always been and will forever be my hero and an inspiration when it comes to how to personify true hospitality in the restaurant industry. He is one of the best people I have ever met, and I am truly grateful to be able to call him a friend. 

Nicole Fonsh: I had to think of a quick place to take my parents before a Saturday night show in the Back Bay that also took reservations. We ended up at a non-descript but reliable chain-type spot on Newbury Street [name redacted to protect the innocent]. As my family and I approached, I thought I recognized Josh and his family sitting outside. And it was him. And I think we both felt slightly guilty to be at this particular establishment. And immediately everyone was laughing about it. I introduced my parents to him and he couldn’t have been more warm and friendly and appreciative of meeting them. Once inside, I explained to my mom and dad who exactly they had just met. “That’s the guy that made me feel like I was home at Silvertone and Trina’s, even when I go in on my own.” They were so excited to have met the man, the myth, the legend. And ever since that encounter, I don’t think there was an night where Josh was working and didn’t ask about how my parents were doing. That has always meant so very much to me. Cheers.

Domingo-Martin Barreres: Josh is the consummate professional and all around great human. A bartender of the people as well as the bartender’s bartender. A rare breed of person who exists on a level that all aspire to but few reach. There is the old saying we have all heard numerous times since childhood that states – if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing. This simple, yet seemingly impossible phrase for most to practice, speaks volumes to the character of Sir Joshua Childs. I have never, not once, heard that man utter a single disparaging word about any one or any thing.

The world can be a dark place at times but, in his presence, always shines a little brighter.

Thank you Josh for being my friend. I love you. Cheers.

Trina Sturm (Trina’s Starlite Lounge): I met Josh the way most have, sitting at his bar, being in awe if his hospitality and the way he commands his bar. We got to know each other when we started working together at the Beehive. Although both of our stints there were short, we formed a great friendship that is still strong. He and my husband, Beau Sturm became fast friends as well, and quickly formed a partnership that over the last 5 years have been lucky enough to open 3 restaurants/bars. 

I owe so much to Josh. The last 5 years have been amazing because of him and we are still going strong. Everyone knows that Josh doesn’t have to be behind the bar to be the guy running the show. His professionalism and hospitality show even when he is sitting at a bar on his night off enjoying a drink.  I’m grateful our friendship and business partnership continues, but I’ll miss having him make me a cocktail. 

Yuki: Visiting Josh & Silvertone – “The best bad idea always.”  So easy to stay late because you’re having so much fun.
On my worst days because work or life is stressing me out, Josh never fails to make me feel better.  The drinks help for sure, but it’s because he really listens, cares and puts things into perspective through advice or inspiration that really lifts my spirits.  Josh & Silvertone always feel like a safe place to be yourself.

Daren Swisher (bartender-jm Curley): Josh has an inimitable presence behind the stick, unfailingly hospitable. He works a bar with such aplomb, all the while forging a genuine rapport with each and every guest. I’ve asked myself, more times than I can count, if tending a bar will ever be so seemingly effortless for me as it is for Josh. I can only hope that someday it might be.

Karen Richey:  I first met Josh Childs on a Sunday while I was working at The Butcher Shop in 2007/08ish.  He would bring in his daughters and have lunch and many other patrons and employees would invariably stop by his table to say hello.  I had no idea who he was or what he had done for the hospitality industry in his life, I only observed him as a Dad, amusing his kids and generally being an amazing guest in the dining room.  His personality always sparkled and he had his own share of “Dad-jokes” that would usually make his older daughter roll her eyes and sigh loudly… “What does blanc-de-blanc mean, sweetie?”…”Aw, Dad, (insert SERIOUS eye-roll) it means the grapes are 100 percent Chardonnay!”

I can only hope that his example is followed as a Father and a Bartender.  What a guy.

John Nugent: My favorite memory of Josh Childs is probably and selfishly the day he hired me. It was a very casual conversation between friends and I asked if he needed anybody for the fall. He replied with “How about you start in September.” I hope I kept my cool but I was doing backflips on the inside. I always wanted to work for him and was so excited to learn from him, Cedric, and Mike, The Three Musketeers of Hospitality.

I think you can relate any positive adjective toward Josh Childs and it could be correct in my opinion. My biggest dare–Find any bartender who has worked for Josh Childs and see if they have one negative thing to say about him.

Greg Reeves (Vialé): Josh Childs is the ultimate role model that many industries/professions lack. Aside from just being good at what he does, he can be an inspiration to just do the right thing. Whether it’s opening an ice cold High Life, or stopping the music so everyone can greet you and know you walked in, he is what the world needs more of. Plain and simple. And tall and handsome.

Tom Mastricola (Café ArtScience): I met Josh when we opened Roadtrip on Canal Street, I believe it was 1994. I was a kitchen guy at that point, but was lucky enough to be a part of an opening restaurant team with an amazing staff. Barmen like Rob Zin, Cedric Adams, Patrick Lynch and Josh Childs came form West Street, which was a great bar, and other places around the area. Everyone in the house was trained by the likes of Steve Olsen, one of the best in the business. A few years later Josh opened Silvertone and I was part of No.9 opening as bar manager. We lived at Silvertone after work and days off. (I actually pulled many shifts on Monday afternoons into the evenings at the end seat of the bar). We would go to Silvertone not only because of the close proximity to No.9, but for the most part the welcome you would get from Josh and everyone there! As far as I’m concerned, he is the king of hospitality in this town and it trickles down to everyone he works with.

We would walk down those stairs after work into a little piece of heaven. 100% industry!! We played cribbage, smoked, talked about the night, met chefs, dishwashers, servers, barmen and everyone from the restaurant scene. Not to mention drinking great wine, drinks, and of course Fernet and beer! Silvertone was everybody’s place to go to feel you where a part of something normal, not just a “restaurant worker.”

Beau Sturm: I wanna tell you about the first time I walked into Silvertone, which is to say, the moment that I knew I wanted to be in the bar business as my career.

It was winter 2000 I’m pretty sure. I was a fairly new bartender/server at Joe’s on Newbury Street– hey, it payed the bills…

After a day shift on a Tuesday, I had dinner at Biba with Mike Ray (another mentor of mine) behind the stick. After dinner I asked him where I could go on a Tuesday that would have some people. He didn’t hesitate to insist that I go to Silvertone, in his words: “the coolest spot in town.” He told me it was in a basement down some alley by the Orpheum. After some alley weaving, I found it.

I walked down the steps to the sound of laughter, loud laughter. It was 11:30pm on a winter Tuesday in downtown crossing; it couldn’t be that crowded…

Well, it was PACKED! Packed with a who’s-who of the restaurant business and what seemed like every hot girl in Boston. Some kind of smooth electro-jazz was playing at the perfect level. The lighting was dim but warm. Every inch of wall-space was taken up with vintage European liquor ads & antique radios. People were having a blast! But why? The place looked really cool but how could it be this busy and fun on a freezing cold Tuesday? I quickly found out. I was one of the droves in the bar. I knew no one. I was just trying to position myself to get a beer when the tall, debonaire barkeep breaks his conversation with a couple of the aforementioned beauties, looked up and gave me a huge smile like he’d known me forever. “Hey brother, can I get you anything?” I ordered a High Life because that’s all I saw anyone drinking. Then Josh saw that I wanted to ask him something but hesitated. He asked what else he could get me and I inquired if he might have a smoke I could bum. He said, “I can do better than that. I’ll be right back.” This guy comes over with an antique cigar box filled with cigarettes! “Take as many as you need buddy”.

I was hooked.

From that moment until this very day if someone comes to visit me, or is staying downtown and asks where to go, I don’t hesitate to insist that they go to Silvertone & see my good friend, Josh Childs.

Peter Boyd: Whenever I would be talking to a young bartender or barback I would always preface things with: I don’t claim to be the best behind a bar, because I know the best bartenders. I just try to take what I’ve learned from watching (and working with) the people I look up to in this business. You should all go sit at Josh Childs’ bar on a Tuesday night. Don’t tell him why you’re there. Just have a couple beers and observe how he moves behind the bar, makes sure you have a water and interacts with strangers and regulars alike.

I always felt that no matter what was going on outside the Silvertone door, you could always count on a smile, kind greeting and a few good hours there.

If you left Boston for a few months/years, you knew there would be that constant. We will miss him behind the bar, but rest assured that the generation of people who learned from his example will be there, spread throughout this city and beyond, to get you a beverage.

Steve Riley: If I was a wordsmith I could go on for days with Josh stories. And if I had a Happy meal #4 or the 200ml of Chartreuse that sits on my desk, I would ramble on…

I first met Josh in the dark ages of Bartending in the early 90’s. Hotel dining was for fancy dinners. No 9 Park, Clio or Radius hadn’t been hatched yet. But the ideas of bigger, more adventurous places were brewing. Josh Childs, Cedric Adams and several of their friends from around the city created an All-Star team behind the bar at a short-lived, white-hot restaurant called, Road Trip. With a collection of egoless talented bartenders from across the city, the bar became an instant success, probably to the detriment of the restaurant itself because every 25 to 40 single in the city was standing in line waiting to get drinks from this talented, fun, funny group of dedicated professionals. I was a fledgling wholesale sales rep when I met Josh for the first time at Road Trip,  along with several others who have become lifelong friends. These guys were a Renaissance of Bartenders in Boston, real restaurant pros and not just a collection of students and actors on their way to greatness…

Josh and a few others of his generation helped set a very high standard of hospitality. Silvertone became a place for industry people to congregate, share ideas, successes and dreams. Lots of the places we enjoy today came from post-shift drinks with waiters, bartenders, cooks, bussers and runners–people drinking and dreaming about better, different, faster ways for us all to eat and drink. Silvertone surely is one of the places that helped incubate the Boston’s restaurant community’s inclusive and supportive nature so prevalent in our city. I believe most people in this city could agree that Tuesday Night with Josh behind the stick at Silvertone was one of the best definitions of HOSPITALITY.

Thank goodness this is just farewell to a bartending career and the end of an era that we are honoring. Here’s to many more years of sharing thoughts, dreams and drinks with our exceptional friend, Josh.

Aaron Cohen: I don’t get to the other side of the river hardly ever, so I just want to thank Josh with warm hugs for Trina’s Starlite Lounge as often as possible.

Justin Ito-Adler (GM, Nantucket Prime): When my brother came back from a year abroad, I brought him to sit with me at Silvertone. When I helped design a new bar program and we needed advice, Josh personally came out to sit with us. When I brought a group out to celebrate my mentor, Tom Mastricola’s, birthday we went to sit at Silvertone. When I wanted to leave the hospitality industry and needed inspiration, a coworker told me to go to Silvertone and sit with Josh. When I lost my job at a law office downtown and didn’t know what to do for work, I went to Silvertone and sat with Josh. When coworkers want to truly understand hospitality, I send them to Silvertone to sit with Josh. A true standup guy in the industry, there are no joys, remedies and experiences in the world of bars quite like going to Silvertone and sitting with Josh Childs. I am happy to be able to say that I had the opportunity.

David Robinson: All I want him to know is that he has all my love and respect.

Joe McGuirk (Highland Kitchen): Josh Childs is Rosa Parks. Or maybe he is Babe Ruth. Or maybe Moses. Or is he Lewis & Clark? Michael Jordan? Maybe he is a bit of all of them. I am talking about his immeasurable impact on the way people tended bar and the way people perceived bartenders. Josh moved all of us bartenders to the front of the bus. He did it with grace and dignity, like Ms Parks. And when he turned his hand to tending bar, he was Ruthian in how he changed the game. There were very good bartenders before Josh but he was a celebrity bartender before every job under the sun needed a “celebrity” version. I’m not saying Josh can part the sea but he did bring so many to a promised land and gave them a code of conduct; he taught both the industry and its patrons how to act whether it was behind the bar or sitting at it. And he did it with patience and humor. He blazed a trail for us all to follow and he did it with a smile but also with a string of incredible successes that reveal his competitive streak. I leave it to all of you to talk about what a great dad he is, what a mentoring boss he has been, and how he made you your first cosmo. I am here to say, bartenders and servers, we need to get this guy a statue, because now when we tell our friends we are working in restaurants, they don’t ask, “What else are you doing?” They will ask if we are hiring. 

Here’s to the next chapter, Josh. Thank you for the nights you masterfully held court behind the bar while respecting the people you were serving on both sides. It will be comforting to see you on the same side more often. Cheers, brother.

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