Stupid Bad Restaurant Tricks

If you want to figure out the formula of a formulaic show just watch three or four of them without interruption.

I have been sitting on the sofa this evening watching TV with Helaine. Mostly it’s been Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine. They’re showing back-to-back-to-back episodes.

If you want to figure out the formula of a formulaic show just watch three or four of them without interruption. I’m not suggesting you do this, just if you do
you’ll find the secret sauce!

  1. Robert finds really bad restaurant
  2. Robert tries the food
  3. Robert dislikes the food
  4. Robert finds all the other things wrong with the restaurant (note to ‘before’ customers, you’re not going to be happy seeing what you were eating)
  5. Robert browbeats owner
  6. Makeover
  7. Restaurant lives happily ever after
  8. Here’s my question. How is this different from Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares on Fox? Isn’t this the same show with a different host, both with British accents.

    The show is entertaining, but if I were a restaurateur I’d think twice about subjecting myself to this. Irvine’s criticism is brutal. Of course watching these owners get dressed down is why people tune in.

    The problem with reality shows is they setup a problem to be solved and always solve it. Always!

    Think about it: cliffhanger right before a commercial break. Do you really think they’re throwing in the towel twenty five minutes into an hour show?

    A little free advice. If you ate at any of these restaurants before Robert Irvine got there don’t watch. Really. No, seriously, you don’t want to watch!

    Bon appetite.

11 thoughts on “Stupid Bad Restaurant Tricks”

    1. I liked “Dinner Impossible” better too. Robert Irvine was still abrasive but the show was more exciting than “Restaurant Impossible”.

  1. I watch both shows. Realities: A great many restaurants are started by people who have no restaurant experience. The owners allow the restaurant to get filthy, disgusting and smelly – which begs the question, who are the health inspectors and why aren’t more restaurants shut down?

  2. I do watch Kitchen Nightmares often, though I’ve never seen this particular show. There were a couple of episodes of KN where the restaurant did not succeed after the makeover (one of them was in Connecticut) I agree with you the reason people watch is due to the abrasive host dressing down the owners of these restaurants, and have also been thoroughly disgusted by some of the food handling practices of them.

    By the way, (and I hate to point out errors) it’s “Bon appétit” which is a French term, not “bon appetite.”

  3. I have watched both shows as well, and even though they’re both very formulaic, they are fascinating to watch from a perspective on how not to run a restaurant or even a business for that matter.

    I do like how they run a tag at the end as a follow up to tell people how the restaurant is doing (or not doing) months after the episode was filmed.

    Supposedly, one of the KN shows pushed an bad owner over the edge to where he unfortunately took his life.

  4. Robert Irvine’s show is a total ripoff of Gordan Ramsey’s, even right down to the formula. I’d heard that Irvine went to Pastori’s in Ellington and that the episode aired. I never saw it though.

    1. I saw that show, and for some unknown reason, they went into Hartford to give samples and the current mayor of Hartford got his fifteen seconds of fame.

  5. The hosts are abrasive because they have to be. They have to get it through these peoples heads that they need to completely change what they are doing and they don’t have a lot of time to make them see that, so “gentle” goes out the window.

  6. The only real difference is that Restaurant Impossible has a low budget for the renovations, which I think is a good change. Saying “you can fix your restaurant if you just spend $50-100k on it” is not really a good repeatable lesson.

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