Stinging Memo To Waitstaff: “You Are The Losers!”

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – The waitstaff at a famous Boston restaurant is feeling the heat.

The owner of Jacob Wirth is calling them “losers” in a note posted at their workstation, and they face a holiday ultimatum to get better or be fired.

One waitress, Megan O’Connor, was so shocked by the memo she quit her job.  “Nobody is going to call me a loser or a failure,” O’Connor tells WBZ-TV.

“To all servers:  The votes are in!!!!!”, according to the memo.  “You are the LOSERS!!!!!!  The Yelp reviews criticize your work.  Change or be changed.  You are not stupid, these warnings are valuable tools, use them successfully.”

Owner Paul Fitzgerald admits he’s been upset about reviews of Jacob Wirth on the “Yelp” website, including recent comments like – “The main problem is the service.”

He tells WBZ-TV his vocabulary could have been better, but he needs to continually strive to satisfy his customers.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.

O’Connor says the note was posted on a recent Saturday which was a busy day at the theatre district restaurant, and they were down a server.

“These people are the face of your business and they’re doing what they can and lacking the tools they need,” she said blaming mismanagement, not staff, for problems with service.”I talked to the owner about it (the memo), and told him it was demoralizing and unnecessary.  His response was ‘this is what your customers think'”, she said.

Fitzgerald emphasizes the note said the you are “the” losers, meaning bad service means poor tips.

It is a more than 100-year-old restaurant that has a loyal following.  Regular patron Jerry Gaughan says he sees no problems with service and has been happy over the years.  But O’Connor believes there’s better ways to motivate staff.  “I just don’t believe people should be treated that say,” she said.

More from Beth Germano
  • Cynic

    I love Jacob Wirths….Not Because of the OWNERS !!!!

  • Lisa

    Why is this a story? This isn’t news!

  • Warren Bennett

    The Yelp Nazi

  • Joseph

    If you don’t do the job you were hired to do to the best of your ability, then you ARE A LOSER. Why is this news???

  • Ron

    Who in their right mind takes Yelp seriously? I gave up when I noticed at least half of the negative reviews I’ve read on places I’ve been get basic facts about the places and their food wrong. (In one case, posters repeatedly complained about the mayo on a sandwich that isn’t and never was served w/ mayo, imagine that.) Others are clearly copy-and-paste jobs. The owner is out of his mind to even be reading that site.

  • KL

    In this day in age, there is no place for this type of poorly worded memorandum to staff under the guise of motivation. Especially when it’s posted in an extremely conspicuous area. Furthermore, Mr. Fitzgerald’s glaring inability as an owner to think critically prior to his action in writing this tirade is extremely unprofessional. Acting like a injured animal when one unfavorable review from a highly dubious site arises, is not something that improves the situation.

    A far better course of action would have been to call pre-shift meetings with staff so that the following could have been performed:
    A) Make them aware of what Yelp was reporting.
    B) Inform them as to how this impacts the establishment and them
    (i.e. tip income.)
    C) Figure out ways to solve the problem together.
    D) PRAISE them for their work and let them know they’re valued members
    of the establishment.

    His handling of the Yelp review has amounted to simply shooting himself in the foot. As the owner of an established and well-respected Boston institution, we expect a higher standard of conduct.

  • buildmeister

    Note to any unemployed waiter or waitress in Boston: If times are tough and you’re desperate for a job, just write some negative yelp reviews about Jacob Wirths’ waitstaff, then apply for a job there.

  • John Mullen

    I have always had pleasant service at Jacob’s Wirth, When I visit Boston, Jacob’s is alway a must visit.

  • bean

    Mr Fitzgerald needs a little help with his people skills.

  • Das Oktoberfestenmunchenpretzeldrinkenbieren, jah! | Squirrel Farts Drink Blog

    […] last year where the owner apparently saw the negative reviews they were getting on Yelp, and called the waitstaff losers, telling them to shape up or ship out. Maybe that was an overreaction, but I’ve never been really satisfied by the service there, […]

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