To Mike and Dan Andelman: A Call for A Public Apology

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 02/25/2011

Subsequent to my last blog post, I sent an email to several members of all types of media asking the following question:

If someone called your daughter, co-worker, sister, mother, girlfriend, partner, wife, female friend or relative a moron and a monkey for doing her job, what would you do?

The email went on to say:

Michael Andelman, of Phantom Gourmet infamy, did just that on his radio show on 2/12 referencing a hostess at Grill 23, one of Boston’s most respected restaurants since they opened in 1983. He also stated that all hostesses were incompetent and incapable of doing anything else. The degradation of women and insults made on the radio program are unacceptable.

In response to the email, The Boston Globe contacted Mike Andelman and ran a story on 2/23 stating, he [Mike] told us the comments were meant to be facetious. “Our radio show is obviously satire.”

Anyone who listens to the audio (below) will know that Mike’s, “I was just kidding” excuse is a lame attempt at backpedalling.

Today I sent the enclosed email to Mike and Dan Andelman and cc’d everyone at Phantom Gourmet and the executives at Greater Media, Inc., who own and operate WTKK, 96.9-FM, the radio station from which Mike and Dan made their insulting comments.

Please read the email and see the recommendations at the end of this post if you support the call for a public apology from the Andelmans.

Dear Mike and Dan-

My name is Patrick Maguire. I author a blog called, I’m Your Server Not Your Servant, advocating for service industry workers.

I’m sure you are aware of the responses that have ensued as a result of the comments you made on the Phantom Gourmet radio program aired on 2/12/11 on WTKK-FM, 96.9.

In case you missed any of them, they can all be accessed here:

- 2/18/11 Blog Post- Server Not Servant: All Hostesses are Good-Looking, Incompetent and Can’t Do Anything Else in Life. Really?
- 2/21/11 Universal HUB: It’s painful to watch grown men in the media throw tantrums.
- 2/22/11 Grub Street-Boston: The Phantom Gourmet Can’t Get Seated at Grill 23, Performs Un-P.C. Pout
- 2/23/11 Boston Globe: ‘Phantom’ host grilled for remarks
- 2/23/11 Grub Street-Boston: Phantom Gourmet Specializes in Satire, Not Offensiveness
- 2/22/11 Universal HUB: Grill 23 owners say Phantom Gourmet proves the customer isn’t always right
- 2/22/11 Boston Yelp Talk
- 2/23/11 Chowhound-Food and Media News
- 2/23/11 A Boston Food Diary: The Public Humiliation of a Hostess
                                     - 2/26/11 You Just Got Sat-Not a Phan


I recommend that you read all of the comments following each piece.

You had a week between radio shows to reflect on your comments that were posted on the 96.9 website (2/12/11 Eddie and Mike go to a Celtics game), and to consider issuing a public apology on your 2/19 program. You failed to do that, and mysteriously the audio has been removed from the 96.9 website.

The only public comments I have seen from either one of you are in a piece by Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein in The Boston Globe on 2/23:

“Phantom Gourmet” host Mike Andelman is surprised by the online criticism concerning comments he made on “The Phantom Gourmet” radio show about restaurant hostesses. Ranting about a Grill 23 hostess who wouldn’t seat him in the dining room before the dinner hour began, Andleman said all restaurant hostesses are attractive but incompetent. Yesterday, he told us the comments were meant to be facetious. “Our radio show is obviously satire,”…

Are you really surprised, Mike? You called a woman a moron and a monkey!!!

In case you haven’t listened to your comments from the 2/12 program, here is the audio:

WTKK-FM, 96.9: 2/12 Eddie and Mike go to a Celtics game

Mike- The audio makes it clear that you weren’t being facetious while hurling invective at Grill 23, their hostess, and all hostesses during your radio rant. You sounded angry, agitated and vindictive. Attempting to employ the pathetic, “I was just kidding” excuse to downplay your comments and cover your tracks won’t fly.

If you stand by your comments, then why not re-post the audio on 96.9 and on the Phantom Gourmet website?

I am writing on behalf of everyone who has contacted me and asked me to request a public apology from you and Dan. Here is who deserves an apology and why:

#1. The hostess at Grill 23.

Your comments from the 2/12 radio show:

We walk in and the hostess who’s the typical hot woman, rude, cold-as-ice, never would talk to me in high school-type girl…She goes, “Two?”, and I said, yes. And she looks at us and says, “I’m sorry, we’re not open until 5:30, so there’s nothing I can do.”

If the owner of Grill 23 was standing next to this dumb hostess, this moronic hostess who was just getting her, uh, jollies off by sticking to rules of  her little brochure in a little binder. This little monkey, her only job is to look at this binder and say don’t let people in ‘till 5:30.

Your sexist comments insult and degrade a whole class of service employees.

How would you respond if someone made those comments about a female family member, friend or colleague of yours on a public radio show?

Are you still surprised about the criticism?

A small sampling of comments from SNS blog readers after reading my recent blog post:

A Boston Food Diary: Might I ask – what on earth makes them think that this woman’s appearance has anything to do with their not getting to break the rules as they apply to EVERY patron of Grill 23?…Might I remind you that all of this is because she was unable, not that she wouldn’t, but she was unable to satisfy a request that blatantly went against the rules of her place of employment.

Jules: When will people understand that “no” does not always equal rude?

DC: The comments made about the hostess are insanely inappropriate. To call anyone a “little monkey” is beyond rude. To not just imply, but to say outright that she is stupid and incapable is worse, but to comment on her body like she’s a piece of meat? Disgusting. Every host I worked with was in college and working until midnight to pay for it. Glad the Andelmans have such a high opinion of women.

CP: …what struck me about this is that he probably wouldn’t have treated a man like that or made such remarks after the fact. Ugh!

Beth: Wow. I deal with ‘guests’ like this every shift at work. They are rude, condescending and clearly have no idea how a restaurant works. I’ve been in the business for 17 years. Since they think that it’s monkey work, they can come work with a shift beside me for a night and see how they feel after that.

#2- All current and former restaurant hostesses.

Your comments from the 2/12 show:

There’s not a hostess who’s not good-looking because they’re incompetent and can’t do anything else in life. If you can’t model, when you’re good-looking enough and not tall enough to model, you stand behind a little box and say, “How many?”

- This insulting, offensive generalization is wrong on so many levels.

Comments by SNS readers:

Jules: 90% of our hostesses are either college-educated or in college. One of them has been accepted to multiple Ivy League schools, she just needs to pick one. Sound like a brainless monkey to you?

SkippyMom: I have served with hosts and hostesses of all types (male, female, ‘good-looking’, not so ‘good-looking’, educated, working on a degree, not ‘educated’.) – and I will tell you – it is a dang hard job – and being “pretty” isn’t a requirement and being told “no” is NOT being rude, it is their job.

Ali: I’ve been a hostess in my life on a number of occasions. Currently, I’m getting my PhD. That is all.

Rebs: If they think that hosting only involves looking good and asking “How many?” then they are clearly clueless…Hosts have to multi-task as much as anyone else on the floor. Greeting guests, fielding phone calls, taking coats, seating guests, managing the seating chart, managing the wait list, making sure all servers are getting an equal amount of covers [guests]. Occasionally they take cocktail orders and deliver them. All while looking cool and calm.

Lotsie: Hey Michael-Just thought you should know – I am a hostess. I’m also a full-time student graduating from Harvard University this spring with a BA in Psychology. And, oh, by the way, I’m also a professional ballet dancer. Clearly, according to you, I’m incapable of doing anything else besides asking, “How Many?” when people like you come in to eat. Just thought you should keep this in mind for the future – some of us want to be working there, some of us need to be working, but none of us are incompetent and/or incapable of doing anything else. In fact, most of us will probably do much more important things with our lives in the long run than you. That’s all.

#3- The owners and employees of  Grill 23. All restaurant employees. All diners, and everyone who listens to or watches you – including your ‘Phans’.

You’re supposed to be a restaurant guy who is familiar with how and why restaurants operate the way they do. For better or for worse, (in this case worse) some people trust you for dining advice and restaurant etiquette. You should know how well-run restaurants work.

The Grill 23 incident, and your subsequent comments, indicate that you do not understand standard restaurant protocol, nor how to escalate service or hospitality concerns. When you set a bad example for the dining public, you fuel the ignorant, entitled contingent who think it’s ok to run roughshod over employees and then complain about them when they don’t get their way.

Restaurant customers have almost as much influence on the success of the dining experience as do restaurant employees. Putting up with the demanding public goes with the territory as a restaurant employee, but tolerating abuse and disparaging, inappropriate remarks should not.

Mike (on the radio) 2/12: Yeah, she says no, and so we basically, you know under our breath say F-you and we leave, and we walk across the street.

- On the radio segment, you never mentioned asking for, or speaking with, a manager. If the explanation by the hostess wasn’t sufficient, you should have spoken with a manager on the spot. Instead, you did nothing and set a bad example for diners and all amateur restaurant reviewers by using your radio platform to complain. By doing so, you are encouraging misguided, elitist customers who think that bitching publicly (Yelp, Chowhound, etc.) is better than speaking with someone in the restaurant who can listen, react and possibly remedy a problem.

Comments by SNS readers:

Rachel: I used to be a hostess and fielded a million ‘Mikes’…And in those teeming masses that came to the restaurant every night, there were always 20+ a night that thought that they were just so much more special than the rest in the crowd and the rules that management had put in place to ensure that the crowd was accommodated in the most efficient way possible. So, to see things through the hostess’ eyes, she had a very clear rulebook to follow, had probably told at least 5 of the 20 people who were in the bar (as per the rules) that they could not seat themselves in the closed restaurant, and now had her 6th person trying to do the same.

Sue: Most of us who work in the “service industry,” including restaurant hosts and hostesses, are not there because we’re stupid; or because we have no other choice. We actually find pleasure in our jobs, whether it’s the good, honest work or the opportunity to meet and interact with a multitude of people. Those guys owe that hostess, and Grill 23, a great big apology…

If I had run and gotten the manager every time some whiny bastard acted like he had never been asked to wait in a busy restaurant before, the manager would hate me for it. If Mike had asked to speak to a manager, or become utterly intractable, then, yes, a manager would have to be consulted …

K Town: The fact that they didn’t ask for a manager flags them as rubes. Phantom Gourmet is not to be trusted if they do not understand how to be diners or how to lead by example.

DC: I worked in restaurants for 8 years, including some very high-end ones…Feel free to make requests; most will happily honor them. Vegetarian? No problem. Table too wobbly? Will fix. But demanding that a restaurant open early when the kitchen is probably still prepping, when most of the staff is eating family meal, when the dining room is being cleaned and set to your exacting standards, when the servers are learning the night’s specials and the host is making sure all reservations will have a place to sit? No. The customer is not right in this situation, and the hostess was doing her job by offering the customer an alternative.

Jay: I’m sorry I missed the [Phantom Gourmet radio] segment. I called to ask if they’d run it a bit earlier so I could catch it, and can you believe they said no?!?

Brett: Concerning their remarks on the radio program – they should be ashamed of themselves. Hearing that type of dialogue (on air!) makes my blood boil, not just because I have been in the business for over 20 years and started as a host, but because of the idiotic commentary from people who claim to be restaurant ‘experts’.

Alex: The frequency of this situation truly illustrates the sense of entitlement that people feel in restaurants. The Andelman’s sense of “give me what I want now” happens all too frequently. Show me any other retail (which is what restaurants are) store that will let you do whatever you want when you want to. Just try and go to Macy’s and tell the staff there that while you understand they don’t officially open until 10, you don’t have anything to do for the next 30 minutes and would just like to browse around while they set up…

MC Slim JB: There’s a line, a tipping point, where the needs of one customer impinges on the smooth operation of the business, and can make other customers feel put out as well. Yes, you risk losing that particular customer, but for most businesses, that will be a net gain. This would be true even if you didn’t risk making your employees feel undervalued by always taking the side of every customer with an undeserved sense of entitlement. Bend over backwards, by all means, but don’t break your own neck doing it.

Dan Andelman- Here are the comments you made on the 2/12 radio show in response to Mike’s comments about the Grill 23 hostess:

How did she look from the back?

Although in her defense she was good-looking, apparently. I’d like to see a picture. Was she wearing yoga pants? These are things I want to know. I have a thing for hostesses.

I don’t think you need anyone to elaborate on why your comments were inappropriate and who deserves an apology.

This email is being circulated via blog post to every current and former restaurant industry employee I can reach, all members of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, as well as every media outlet and restaurant in the Greater Boston Area and beyond.

————————————————————————————————————————

If you support this call for a public apology, here are some things you can do to get involved:

#1. Send the Andelmans an email and tell them what you think.

Mike Andelman: michael@phantomgourmet.com

Dan Andelman: dan@phnatomgourmet.com

Dave Andelman: dave@phantomgourmet.com

#2. Copy management at Greater Media, Inc.

Tom Baker-Boston Market Manager: tbaker@greatermediaboston.com

Grace Blazer- Boston Program Director: gblazer@greaterbostonmedia.com

Peter Smythe- Chairman and CEO: psmyth@greatermedia.com

Edward Nolan- VP and CFO: enolan@greatermedia.com

Heidi Raphael- VP Corporate Communications: hraphael@greatermedia.com

Feel free to cc me on your email @ patrick@servernotservant.com

#3- Write “Boycott Until Apology” every time Phantom Gourmet posts on their facebook wall.

#4- Write “Boycott Until Andelmans Apologize” every time 96.9 posts something on facebook.

#4- Call the studio line at 96.9 between 4-7 on Saturday during the Phantom Gourmet radio program and tell them you support a public apology. The studio line is 617-822-1969, or Verizon wireless #969.

#5 Forward this link to everyone who should know about it.

Thank you.


23 Responses to “To Mike and Dan Andelman: A Call for A Public Apology”

  1. Caroline Potter says:

    I keep wondering that if the hostess had been a host and the scenario played out the same, would such a tirade of name-calling have occurred.

  2. Lou says:

    I read the blurb in the Globe…and they (the Andelmans) re-acted like you/the hostess/etc. were over-reacting…that they were being facetious. If you act like a moron…APOLOGIZE!!
    Being a hostess is one of the most thankless jobs in the world…and the first in line to face bad behavior…it sounds like the hostess did her job with alot of profession acumen. There is no reason to demean anyone who is doing their job as they should.

  3. MC Slim JB says:

    I don’t know how anyone can listen to Mike Andelman as he tells this ugly anecdote and still buy his excuse that it was simply satire. He sounds like a spiteful, spoiled child with a grudge against attractive women, not playing it for laughs. And he clearly doesn’t know how the restaurant business works. Despite being a drooling pig about the hostess’s looks (pretty typical stuff for the Phantom Gourmet radio program), Dan at least seems to recognize that Mike and his dad are being clueless idiots about getting seated before the start of service.

  4. Edward says:

    These guys are spoiled, loud, boorish and irrelevant. How did their opinions become a cottage industry? I wish they’d go away.

  5. Mike Q says:

    Patrick … what an amazing job you’ve done with all this! The Andelmans must be sputtering — their poor excuse that they were just being facetious falls apart when you read the original dialogue. It will be interesting to see what their next step is after the phone calls begin. I’ll be adding mine.

  6. Fairlady says:

    Who do the Andelmans think they are? A monkey? And no apology? All of my children have worked serving customers. If he made those comments about my daughter, I’d be picketing the radio station. The least we can do is send an email and call the station. Thank you for the contact info.

  7. Joe butler says:

    Kind of jerky, kind of funny…not sure. I expected far more vicious…its silly and dumb.

  8. Joe- I know it’s a drag to listen to the whole 7 and a half minutes leading up to the insults.

    Do you agree that he wasn’t kidding at all when he referred to the hostess as a moron and a monkey?

    If he was referring to your daughter, would you think it was silly? Thank you-PM

  9. Joe butler says:

    I found the whole thing silly….not serious at all. Doesn’t sound like the show is NPR. I read your blog, I’m a huge fan..you said that some bar customers are just “douchbags”…am i supposed to be offended by that? I’m not…because some bar customers are..as you say “douchebags”

  10. Bebe A says:

    He said what he said and NEEDS to apologize. HOWEVER, after hearing it, (the text doesn’t really tell the whole story) I think this whole thing is nuts. Must have been a slow news day at the Globe.

  11. nana says:

    His version of what happened is so obviously one sided in his own favor and abridged to the point I can’t believe that’s how it went down at all– and then to cover his feeble complaint he has to emphasize the stupidity of the hostess. Bullys distort reality
    in order to justify the abuse of their victims.
    I’ve never been to Boston so I don’t have a sense of that culture in general, but if those guys were in Montana their asses would have been hoisted out to the curb with seven tire irons.

  12. beaneater says:

    Oddly enough, I was at the bar in a brand new back bay restaurant this evening and spotted one from the famed Andleman brood. As a follower of this blog, I had just read the call for apology and couldn’t believe that not only did I see him but, overheard him telling his wife about the hundreds of “assholes” online who are talking about how he and his family publicly degraded hostesses.
    Hey Andleman… You’ve seen this blog and all of the other recent backlash to your poor choices in your public persona… I don’t even think the apology is necessary anymore. I only hope people who read, listen to or watch Phantom Gourmet understand the characters behind it.

  13. Granted, these guys sound like assclowns who couldn’t find their balls with both hands, but the fact that they said these things on the air makes it a serious issue. When you disparage a whole group of people in public these days it needs to be redressed.

    I have emailed the Andelmans as well the Greater Boston Media people. Also I dedicated a blog post to this incident. Keep fighting the good fight, man.

    Dignity and Respect
    Me, The JerBear

  14. SkippyMom says:

    I don’t know who said it but one of my favorite quotes applies here:

    “Rudeness is a weak man’s imitation of strength.”

    I think it definitely applies in this case.

  15. I’ve been following this and must admit to being a little bit torn. I have no sympathy at all for the bozos who do this radio show, nor do I have any allegiance at all to the [offensive attack on admin deleted]who writes the Server Not Servant blog.

    Although I am certain that there are hosts and hostesses out there who are intelligent and productive members of our society, I am also aware of the time-honored legacy of the maitre d’ who looks down his nose at those he considers beneath a seat in his principled establishment. Filter the “simmering just below the surface” contempt of the tuxedoed old school through the cotton candy brain of all those blondes who were hired by steak and lobster joints in the 70′s and you arrive at what is now the Host/Hostess of the year 2011.

    Is there a studied air of superiority in the behavior of those at the door who may or may not let you into their special party? Absolutely; just as equally, there are those who welcome you in, nurture you, inquire after your pets and want to give you a warm cup of broth. And, as with so many public exchanges in our complex lives, much of the time what we put in is what we get out. It is just as possible to break the ice queen’s visage with a smile and a “Great blouse, is it a ‘fill in designer name’”?, as it is to put her off by demanding that you and your child-bride sit in a booth for two when they are clearly only for four.

    Which brings us to these fucking cavemen who do this radio show in Boston. It becomes clear, upon doing the reading, that first off, these guys are shills for whoever pumps money into promotion on their show. That removes 99.7% of their credibility right our of the chute. Secondly, they are middle-class white males from Boston, an entitled and inbred clan, not particularly know for tolerance or any semblance of an understanding of feminism. Thirdly, they have a sense of entitlement so over inflated as to crowd almost every thing else out of the room; it is a miracle they can all fit in the same radio studio.

    The fact that these guys are seemingly so bewildered by the notion that they have offended someone is laughable. These guys are jerk-offs who got caught jerking off and now they are back-pedaling and whining as if they are the offended party. The fact that these assholes are trying to hide public oafishness and a “now it’s my chance to get back at all the cute girls who were rude to me” attitude in the cloak of “satire” is truly offensive. There is a whole genre of potty joke movies out there these days that these guys were made for. They wouldn’t know true satire if it bit them in their pasty pimply white butts.

    The whole affair is nauseating and the fact that there is still a public forum for the Phantom Gourmet is indicative that “old school white Boston” still exists. Will people who are assholes from the time they walk in the front door continue to be treated poorly? I hope so. But, will hosts/hostesses continue to be be rude/condescending to cool guys like us? Yeah, a lot of them probably will; it’s the nature of the position and until everyone in the industry buys into the notion that ours is a service industry, it will continue to be that way. And no broth tonight, thanks.

  16. Kristen says:

    I used to love watching the “Phantom Gourmet”, but no more. Disgusting beyond belief.

    Calling someone a “monkey”?

    I’m sorry, brothers Andleman. No respect at all for you now.

  17. TK says:

    Even though I used to watch Phantom Gourmet all the time, I wasn’t aware that it was actually a food review show. I assumed it was just pay-for-play (or maybe ‘oversized, deep fried food-for-play’). From the tone and quality of writing and ‘reporting’ on that show, I’m not entirely sure either of them knows what the word satire even means.

  18. TK says:

    And if they’re going to deal in mean stereotypes, then I’m afraid that men who are still complaining about the hot girls who rejected them in high school (I wonder, how many boys were these pretty girls supposed to date?) are always useless tools with deep insecurities and misogynist streaks.

  19. Matt says:

    When I first heard this incident occured I thought “publicity stunt”. But the more I see it just looks like uber arrogance. I’m supposed to take dining tips from a hot dog safari genius? Their wives must be so proud – kidding or not. All their money does not buy class or tact. Eddie always had a chip on his shoulder (about his religion in most cases) and was miserable behind closed doors. It’s too bad because he is smart and can be entertaining but they let all their personal biases and grudges ruin it.

  20. Katie says:

    It’s time for the obnoxious, ugly ‘monkey’ looking brothers to get off the air/tv…run it’s course.

    This is not the first time they’ve made disrespectful remarks.

    Overall they are rude, with huge ego’s. I can’t stand listening to their AWFUL laughs and the way they talk…

    The show itself isn’t authentic because you have to PAY to get reviewed – it’s clear on what restauransts pay them the most….

  21. max power says:

    Would it surprise anyone to know that Dave Andelman is dating a woman that is about 30 years younger than he is? Has anyone ever seen this jokers facebook page, its all about “humping”…guys a grade a loser.

  22. Jason says:

    Gas is going to 5, Iran is going to get a nuke, our country is toast, and you spend this much time on this?

  23. Hey Dan- In the context of my project, yes. On the side, I am working on bringing gas down to .50/gallon and world peace, douchebag.

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