Are you a fan of renovation-theme reality series? If you are, you have to check out the series ‘Restaurant: Impossible’.
The concept is about more than just food. It aims to improve business practices and the establishment itself to increase exposure and service quality.
What Is Restaurant: Impossible?
The American reality series Restaurant: Impossible airs originally on Food Network. A famous restaurateur and chef, Robert Irvine, hosts and produces the show. It has been on the air since 2011, but it had a 3-year hiatus from 2016 to 2019.
The show’s objective is to find a restaurant in the US that is on the verge of failing. A $10,000 budget, provided by the show’s sponsors, is allotted for the store’s overall renovation. Within just two days, the owners must meet the challenge of utilizing the budget and implementing the plans accordingly.
Each episode starts with Irvine walking into the intended restaurant, confronting the owner for the issues, evaluating the solutions, and then laying out the plans, such as reducing the menu to only the foods that matter the most and redecoration.
However, the owner of the restaurant is not left alone with the task. Irvine and his team of experts assist with all of the changes that are happening.
The Impossible Makeover
With a net worth of $15 million and a wide connection of experts from different fields, Irvine enlists various designers from HGTV and a general contractor named Tom Bury.
They improve the quality of the menu and restructure the whole restaurant. They also help resolve any professional or personal conflict within the business and train the staff or change the personnel.
To test the effectiveness of their changes, guests present before the renovation are invited again to dine in and select the foods highlighted on the new menu. This also serves as a promotion for the newly renovated restaurant.
Spanning for 18 seasons, with around 2 or 3 seasons a year and 200 episodes in total, the show has helped many restaurants with their existing issues. However, because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the show faces a mountain of challenges. Nevertheless, it still perseveres.
How Did Restaurant: Impossible Make an Impact on The Restaurants?
At the end of every episode, you can see that the improvements significantly impacted the owners, employees, and customers.
With just a limited budget, the show highlights practicality and promotes the restaurant’s aesthetic strengths. However, what the show did is just the first significant step towards success, and the owners and employees are still accountable for their stores’ status.
Since the show’s airing, more than half of the Restaurant Impossible restaurants have closed. A few of them have been sold but are still open under different management. Around 30 percent of the restaurants that participated in the show are still open today.
As mentioned, the show’s goal is to provide a great chance of survival to a failing restaurant. This doesn’t guarantee success as this is up to the store’s management.
As for the surviving restaurants, most of them perform well and continue to receive many positive reviews from critics and customers.
How Are the Surviving Restaurants Faring Today?
1) The Trails Eatery
One of the surviving Restaurant Impossible restaurants is ‘The Trails Eatery.’ Featured in season 2, episode 10, and located in San Diego, California, Irvine and his team went inside and found that it wasn’t that bad at all.
In fact, the place was clean, and the food was good. However, debt was the only factor that made it bound to fail, and their pricing didn’t help at all.
With a radical change in their prices and making them serve dinner, the restaurant also managed to climb out from the debt hole.
After the airing of the episode, the revenue tripled for the next five years. There may have been changes here and there, but the reception has been predominantly positive.
2) Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant
A restaurant in Lebanon, New Hampshire that participated is ‘Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant.’ It was featured in season 4, episode 6.
This has all the elements that the show is needed for: financial issues, work-disturbing personal conflicts, lousy food quality, bad cooking services, unmanaged staff, and damages to property.
After Irvine and his team managed to implement renovations and overhaul business practices, the restaurant appears to be revived.
Since then, the owners can cut costs without compromising food quality, and their customers have increased. Also, they receive a lot of positive reviews from online critics.
3) The Country Cow Restaurant & Bar
In season 9, episode 5, the store ‘The Country Cow Restaurant & Bar’ from Campton, New Hampshire, was presented.
The problem with this store is mostly on the conflicts that were happening behind the scenes. The food and location, on the other hand, were already good.
After the resolution, the restaurant manages to thrive. The improvement of the bridge nearby increased their chances of surviving. However, the owners, which are now a divorced couple, changed the restaurant’s name and have currently put it on sale. Nevertheless, the restaurant is still open and serving.
4) Broad Street Bistro
The last episode of the previous season (season 13, episode 8) before the show’s hiatus, ‘Broad Street Bistro’ of North Versailles, Pennsylvania, was introduced.
The owner had difficulty managing the restaurant since it was only operating around more than two years before the episode.
Fortunately, the surrounding problems are not that particularly challenging. To this day, the restaurant has survived and even thrived. While the reviews are not that many, all of them indicate positive things.
4) Loyd Have Mercy
Before the COVID-19 pandemic blew up and the restrictions were all over the country, the show managed to reach ‘Loyd Have Mercy,’ a restaurant in Titusville, Florida, in season 17, episode 1. Although the restaurant already had many positive reviews, it faced financial problems.
Irvine and his team managed to help them, but a few months after, the restaurant had multiple inspection violations. The mandatory lockdowns forced them to depend more on the takeout service since the dine-in needed to be limited.
That served as a restart for the restaurant to implement the CDC guidelines. Also, Irvine visited and helped the store a second time around. The reviews received are still very positive.
Restaurant Impossible is a great show that highlights the reality of the foodservice industry. There are a lot of things involved other than food that contributes to the failure of the restaurant.
Through Irvine and his team’s expertise, you can learn some of the possible solutions to specific problems if you will be investing in a restaurant later on.