Patrick Maguire's Blog (24)

L.A. Restaurant Industry Steps Up For Boston

Thank you very much to Krista Simmons, Lindsay William-Ross, and everyone at LAist and Gothamist for running this story about the L.A. restaurant community rallying together to raise money to benefit the victims of the marathon bombings in Boston. Please share with your LA friends. Thank…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on April 25, 2013 at 10:13am — No Comments

Game Over

Thank you to everyone who visited this site to read the last post about the customer who tried to play a little game with one of the servers at our restaurant. There were 10,542 visits to the site within a day and a half after publishing…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on August 1, 2012 at 8:07am — 1 Comment

Ladies and Gentlemen

This ode to Trader Vic, from his Book of Food and Drink, published in 1946, hangs in Drink, one of Boston’s best craft cocktail bars. I like it so much that I decided to dedicate a blog post to it. It reminds me of the old Ritz Carlton service mantra, “We are Ladies and…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on June 27, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments

"Things are things."

“Did you lose everything?” asked the heavy-equipment operator, who has a daughter about Stecher’s age (25). His eyes filled with tears.

“Most of it, but it’s OK,” Stetcher said. “Things are things.” (Yvonne Abraham, Boston Globe-May 3, 2012)

When I contacted Gaia Stecher via Facebook she elaborated: “I know what doesn’t…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on May 15, 2012 at 2:33pm — No Comments

The Perfect Restaurant Storm: 47 Separate Checks

I’ve often described working in a restaurant as Improv Theatre. Every shift presents unique circumstances and challenges, and even the most experienced professionals can be taken aback by the audacity of the human condition.

A seasoned general manager of a popular Boston restaurant sent me a text last week requesting to meet. Based on his extensive hospitality industry experience, I knew his story would not be an every-day tale of woe. When we met for breakfast the next day, he did…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on December 28, 2010 at 7:09am — 7 Comments

Memo to FOH Staff: "Change or be changed."

According to Donna Goodison in the 12/8/10 Boston Herald, Kevin Fitzgerald, the owner of Jacob Wirth, a Boston restaurant institution, posted a memo to his servers that included the following comment and ultimatum:



“You are the LOSERS!!!” … “Change or be changed. Please, don’t force your termination for the holidays.”



The Herald piece goes on to say; The memo, posted Saturday in a private work area, included eight pages of mostly negative customer comments about Jacob…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on December 9, 2010 at 9:43am — 2 Comments

Foreign Policy

I love getting thoughtful emails from readers with questions, feedback, suggestions and stories. I received the following email a few days ago, and it raises an interesting question.

I read your blog all the time. It is a refreshing take on what we all talk about on a daily basis and truth be told, we all just want to be heard!

I was working last night (teaming with another server) and we had a table of 7 ladies, not originally from America,…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on December 1, 2010 at 1:04pm — No Comments

You Can't Make This Up

This is too good not to share.

One of my favorite neighborhood restaurants in Boston’s South End posted this on their facebook wall this evening:

Customer forgot doggie bag w leftovers. Too far away to come back and get them. Now wants gift certificate to replace them. Thoughts?

I love the fact that they post these real-life snippets. It’s genius marketing, and it lets people know what reality is on the firing…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on November 5, 2010 at 11:00am — 2 Comments

Bring Your Own? Please Don't.

Back in March, I posted 64 Suggestions for Bar Customers. Number 36 declares, Bringing in beverages from outside of the restaurant is a no-no. My long-standing conviction about this practice led to a spirited discussion on Yelp Talk (Boston) recently when I posted the following:

I’ll…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on September 27, 2010 at 11:38am — No Comments

I've Got Your Back

Business owners and managers talk a big game when it comes to supporting their employees, but unfortunately, many of them cower during moments of truth when customers are dead wrong. Smart leaders treasure great employees because they are much more valuable than horrific customers.…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on September 15, 2010 at 11:00am — 2 Comments

"If you don't like serving customers, get another job." Really?

There should be no doubt about the need to raise awareness about the need for mutual respect and common courtesy between service industry workers and their customers. In fact, all human beings could use a reminder about civility. If you’re skeptical at all, read the comments posted in response to all of the stories about Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who dramatically left work and the plane following an altercation with a passenger. The vitriol on both sides of the discussion…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on August 15, 2010 at 10:29am — 4 Comments

Fully Committed

After watching Fully Committed on Sunday evening, a one-man performance starring Gabriel Kuttner, I reflected on several times I’ve seen customers behave like children when they didn’t get what they wanted. I remembered the sleazy guy from NY attempting to coax a Royal Caribbean Cruise Concierge into giving his group a specific dinner table for the entire cruise, despite the fact that he had neglected to make…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on August 5, 2010 at 7:30am — No Comments

Regular or Irregular?

Restaurant workers are a unique breed. Cagey veterans are durable, resourceful and irreverently funny. They’ve seen and heard it all. They put their game face on and deliver great hospitality shift after shift, double after double, week after week. Despite their resiliency, it’s hard to be the life of the party when they’re running on fumes, the laundry and errands are piling up at home, and funds are tight. The daily grind takes its toll on even the most seasoned servers.

A…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on July 27, 2010 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Best Customers Ever

Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Fame

As promised, I will occasionally post a question from the questionnaire I’m using to gather research and stories for my book. If you’re interested in completing the full questionnaire, please click on the Submit Your Stories tab on my blog.

Unfortunately the stinging comments made by the 20% of customers who are impolite, disrespectful or downright rude, linger with us long after the…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on July 1, 2010 at 11:00am — No Comments

Server Not Servant, Question #1

Book Chapter: Manners/Gratitude

Shortly after deciding to write a book, I circulated a questionnaire to everyone I knew and everyone I met to solicit their insights, opinions, and stories about customers, servers, hospitality and human interactions. I'm still accepting completed questionnaires for my…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on May 23, 2010 at 11:00am — 5 Comments

Petulant Patron Meets Plainclothes Police

Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Shame

Where are the cops when you need them? I’ve asked myself that question several times over the years, especially witnessing cars racing by me on the highway, dangerously weaving in and out of traffic. Well, the cops were exactly where Anthony Caturano, chef-owner of Prezza wanted them on Friday night.

I had a chance to sit…

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Added by Patrick Maguire on April 27, 2010 at 1:00pm — 2 Comments

64 Suggestions for Bar Customers

Sharing public space is something a lot of humans don’t do well. When you throw alcohol into the mix, a lot of people really suck at it.



A few caveats and disclosures:



•The list is geared towards bars in restaurants, rather than dive bars, nightclubs, sports bars or beach bars where jungle rules apply.

•I omitted some of the obvious items that endlessly appear on every other list about bar etiquette.

•Some obvious items made the cut because they need to be… Continue

Added by Patrick Maguire on March 31, 2010 at 8:42am — 6 Comments

Servers: Would You Sacrifice Money For Manners?

Ok, I realize this is hypothetical and idealistic because unfortunately, we’re never going to change them all…



Nonetheless, I’m curious to know where you stand.



As I’ve been receiving emails and questionnaire responses from readers, I started thinking, Would customer service industry workers be willing to give up some of their compensation if they were guaranteed that all of their customers were good people? Is respect more important than money?



Here’s a… Continue

Added by Patrick Maguire on March 20, 2010 at 9:58am — 2 Comments

The Best Defense Is a Good Offense

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Confronting without Confrontation



Opening and operating a successful and profitable restaurant takes an extraordinary amount of hard work. If you’ve never been part of opening a new restaurant, it is a frenetic, frightening and fantastic experience. Everything is in a constant state of flux, and you’re always a phone call or moments away from disaster. (Licensing delays, kitchen meltdowns, delivery issues, construction catastrophes, and… Continue

Added by Patrick Maguire on March 16, 2010 at 8:32am — 1 Comment

Overtip Breakfast Servers

Long before bartenders were called mixologists, stewardesses became flight attendants, and secretaries insisted on administrative assistant, I received a book called, Life’s Little Instruction Book as a stocking stuffer from my mom. I can still remember the plaid jacket on the book H. Jackson Brown, Jr. wrote for his son who was leaving home to begin his freshman year in college. One of the many 'instructions' that resonated with me was Overtip breakfast waitresses.



When I came from… Continue

Added by Patrick Maguire on March 3, 2010 at 4:43pm — No Comments

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