How Real Are the Lessons in Restaurant Impossible?
If you spend as much time watching the Food Network as I do, when you should be being productive instead, then you’re probably familiar with Restaurant Impossible. RI is a reality makeover show featuring Chef Robert Irvine — a hard-nosed and steroidically muscular Brit — as he travels around the country to save failing restaurants. Although Irvine himself has been revealed to be a shady character, a charismatic con-man at the very best, his skills as a chef and motivator are frequently on display on a number of Food Network programsOn the show, these restaurants appear to be the worst of the worst: poor management, unqualified cooks, bad decor, filthy kitchens, furry creatures and cockroaches running about. Irvine swoops in with $10,000 and a team of designers and overhauls the place in two days, presumably saving the dreams and finances of all these families that are so in over their heads. Given the nature of reality television, savvy viewers probably doubt the veracity of everything shown on the hour-long episodes, and with good reason; nonetheless, the program offers some reasonable lessons in between the heavily-dramatized entertainment.
Considering the rather bleak economic climate of the last few years, along with the natural difficulties of the food service business, it’s not hard to see why so many restaurants are struggling: family-owned, national chains, everybody. But Restaurant Impossible offers a glimpse of hope, of the light at the end of the tunnel. With some tough love, a few changes, and a lot of focus and relearning the business end of things, restauranteurs of all shapes and sizes are given the chance to believe there might be hope. The show’s lessons are few, simple, and repeated frequently:
- Have a little business sense
- Be genuine to both customers and employees
- Keep the entirety of your eatery sparkling and spotlessly clean
- Remain approachable
Next week I’m going to tackle these lessons in greater depth. I’m going to try to be entertaining, too — because, heck, Restaurant Impossible is entertaining — and relate these lessons back to problems and solutions presented in the show (but, you know, in a way that’s actually possible, instead of just good TV). You’ll probably never have the ten grand, professional designers, and rapidly working staff, nor are you likely to be yelled at by a huge British guy. What you can do is learn from the lessons portrayed on the show and apply some basic good sense to your own business venture, so your business is as great as your food and you can weather the economic storm. Or even make more money in it.
If you have a question before I get to it, feel free to leave a comment below or contact us here.