I recently discovered Restaurant Impossible on the Food Network and I enjoy watching it.
Its precursor, Dinner Impossible with chef Robert Irvine, was a failed experiment. But, Food Network brought back Irvine for this show. It’s modeled on another successful experiment (or proven formula): Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, which is a restaurant version of Supernanny. And, they also makeover the restaurant (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — spinoff of Extreme Makeover). Funny how innovation works (evolutionary).
On Restaurant Impossible, Irvine comes into a failing restaurant and turns it around in two days and a makeover budget of $10,000.
I’m impressed with Irvine’s knowledge of the restaurants, leadership and his business acumen. I find it extremely educational to see what he hones in on — bad menus, bad inventory management, bad leadership, bad communication, unmotivated servers and lackluster kitchen management to name a few — and how he communicates that to the staff.
His communication style is a bit over the top, (reminiscent of Ramsey) but every now and then I think the real Irvine slips through.
I can’t quite figure out why Irvine yells at the designer and builder so much. They aren’t responsible for the failing restaurant and I believe they are donating their efforts (albeit for some TV exposure) and they usually get the job done. It’s consistent enough from show to show, that I think it’s just a dramatic bit the producers have built into the ‘formula’ to make it look like Irvine is running herd on everyone.
I’m amazed what the designers can do to a restaurant space with $10,000 (though, I believe lots of free labor goes into it). I’ve always been impressed with good designers who can transform spaces with great success.
If you have any interest in business management, restaurants and design, you might enjoy it.
At the end, of the show it often says things like, “Four months after the turnaround the restaurant is thriving. “
I’d love to know Irvine’s success rate.
Update: Jon notes in the comments that Dinner Impossible is not a failed experiment.