To Mike and Dan Andelman: A Call for A Public Apology
By: Patrick Maguire
Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service
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.
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:
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: email@example.com
Dan Andelman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Andelman: email@example.com
#2. Copy management at Greater Media, Inc.
Tom Baker-Boston Market Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grace Blazer- Boston Program Director: email@example.com
Peter Smythe- Chairman and CEO: firstname.lastname@example.org
Edward Nolan- VP and CFO: email@example.com
Heidi Raphael- VP Corporate Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to cc me on your email @ email@example.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.