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Old 07-03-2013, 10:39 AM   #1
TonyTheTiger
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Kitchen Nightmares Vs Restaurant:Impossible.

I've been watching some RI episodes recently and they have the (annoying) habit of sending you to the website to see how the restaurants are doing. So, it made me wonder how the two shows compared and which was more successful.

We all know that there is a certain amount (a LOT) of drama with these shows and KN seems to be a lot worse than RI. It was interesting to see that they have aired a similar amount of shows and the closure rate for KN is almost double that of RI, despite a longer visit and much higher budget!

Kitchen Nightmares


Restaurant:Impossible


What's even more interesting is the fact that, out of 22 UK restaurants, only three are still open with their original owners!

I like Ramsay and we're planning on trying to eat at one of his London restaurants when we go there in September, but this makes interesting reading.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:10 AM   #2
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That is fascinating. 38 restaurants out of 71 for Ramsey have closed.

I wonder if Restaurant Impossible is choosing places they know they can help (read: not in such dire straights).

I ate at Gordon Ramsey Steak in Las Vegas and was soooo disappointed. My $63 rib eye was raw (I ordered medium well), the Mac & Cheese was swimming in truffle oil, and the Sticky Toffee Pudding was bland. Would be interesting to know how his other places are.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:57 PM   #3
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I also hate that RI makes you go to the website for a status, but I do like that show better (although I watch both).
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:53 AM   #4
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Which is amusing since GR is a legitimate restaurateur with serious success outside his TV appearances and RI is kind of a fraud who has a reputation for ripping off investors outside his TV work.


Also, RI has been on a significantly shorter time, which could go a long way explaining the the closure rate differences. Restaurants, even well run ones have very high failure rate. With few exceptions, it's just a matter of time before they close.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Donbadabon View Post
I ate at Gordon Ramsey Steak in Las Vegas and was soooo disappointed. My $63 rib eye was raw (I ordered medium well), the Mac & Cheese was swimming in truffle oil, and the Sticky Toffee Pudding was bland. Would be interesting to know how his other places are.
I had similar experience with Emeril's Delmonico's at the Venetian in Las Vegas (expensive highly mediocre food with great service), though I had a great experience with his original place in New Orlean's (this was early in his success and he had actually been cooking in the restaurant the day before we dined there). The problem is that once these celebrity chefs start opening restaurants all over the place, the resteraunts becomes little more that a very fancy TGIF or Applebees. They're a chain and chains enforce mediocrity.

Having followed Ramsey a bit over the years, I doubt he would ever consider using truffle oil in any dish he created. Then again, I doubt Ramsey has ever cooked in or had anything other than a brief overview of the menu at Ramsay Steak.
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donbadabon View Post
That is fascinating. 38 restaurants out of 71 for Ramsey have closed.

I wonder if Restaurant Impossible is choosing places they know they can help (read: not in such dire straights).

I ate at Gordon Ramsey Steak in Las Vegas and was soooo disappointed. My $63 rib eye was raw (I ordered medium well), the Mac & Cheese was swimming in truffle oil, and the Sticky Toffee Pudding was bland. Would be interesting to know how his other places are.
That also shows you how difficult running a restaurant is. The vast majority of restuarants supposedly close after a year or so.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:10 PM   #7
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RI was at a local Italian place recently - the episode is supposed to air in August. We ate at the place many times before RI - the only problem that we had was that it was a little dirty. It mostly just needed new carpets and a good scrubbing. Food was very good, prices were reasonable, service was good.

We've been back once after RI - and will likely not return. The menu was stripped down to the RI-standard, single, laser printed page (I'm almost thinking that all Italian places get the same RI menu). They increased the prices a bit. We always order garlic knots - now they charge $1.00 extra for a small cup of marinara sauce that used to be included. The service was horrible - very slow. The new decorations were very generic - they added shelves to two walls and it looked like they just went to a used sporting goods store and bought a bunch of crap to put on the shelves. One of the walls used to have plaques and photos from all of the youth sporting teams that they've sponsored over the years. Other decorations were handmade, and looked cheap. The quality of the carpentry work was poor. They also added a new wall to make a little waiting area by the new front door (which wasn't needed) - which meant less room in one of the dining areas so tables are squeezed together. The food tasted pretty much like it used to - not sure if there were changes there or not (besides reducing the menu).

I'm interested to watch the episode. I don't know what issues they were having before RI, but I would be surprised now if they are still in business at the end of the year.
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Old 07-23-2013, 03:32 PM   #8
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RI was just in my area at a place called Edibles. Robert Irvine has now begun to cheese it up a bit more than usual. Spitting out food he was tasting, and eventually turning over a table with a bunch of meals on it. Very dramatic. He then changed the name of the place from Edibles (which he hated) to the family name Hurley's - which pretty much means to vomit. I usually love the show, but they appear to be going a little over-the-top and faker than usual in these recent episodes.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:26 PM   #9
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RI was just in my area at a place called Edibles. Robert Irvine has now begun to cheese it up a bit more than usual. Spitting out food he was tasting, and eventually turning over a table with a bunch of meals on it. Very dramatic. He then changed the name of the place from Edibles (which he hated) to the family name Hurley's - which pretty much means to vomit. I usually love the show, but they appear to be going a little over-the-top and faker than usual in these recent episodes.
I have to admit the name Edibles is/was horrible. The second I heard that name I thought to myself, who would name it Edibles...like I would want to go to a place that just has edible food.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickels View Post
RI was just in my area at a place called Edibles. Robert Irvine has now begun to cheese it up a bit more than usual. Spitting out food he was tasting, and eventually turning over a table with a bunch of meals on it. Very dramatic. He then changed the name of the place from Edibles (which he hated) to the family name Hurley's - which pretty much means to vomit. I usually love the show, but they appear to be going a little over-the-top and faker than usual in these recent episodes.

turning over the table was a new one, but he has spit out food plenty of times before.
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Old 08-20-2013, 02:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_k View Post
RI was at a local Italian place recently - the episode is supposed to air in August. We ate at the place many times before RI - the only problem that we had was that it was a little dirty. It mostly just needed new carpets and a good scrubbing. Food was very good, prices were reasonable, service was good.

We've been back once after RI - and will likely not return. The menu was stripped down to the RI-standard, single, laser printed page (I'm almost thinking that all Italian places get the same RI menu). They increased the prices a bit. We always order garlic knots - now they charge $1.00 extra for a small cup of marinara sauce that used to be included. The service was horrible - very slow. The new decorations were very generic - they added shelves to two walls and it looked like they just went to a used sporting goods store and bought a bunch of crap to put on the shelves. One of the walls used to have plaques and photos from all of the youth sporting teams that they've sponsored over the years. Other decorations were handmade, and looked cheap. The quality of the carpentry work was poor. They also added a new wall to make a little waiting area by the new front door (which wasn't needed) - which meant less room in one of the dining areas so tables are squeezed together. The food tasted pretty much like it used to - not sure if there were changes there or not (besides reducing the menu).

I'm interested to watch the episode. I don't know what issues they were having before RI, but I would be surprised now if they are still in business at the end of the year.
So it looks like this episode airs on Sunday. Here's an article about it.
Quote:
Although business boomed for several weeks after taping, the restaurant saw a slow-down in July, said owner Tony Aponte. He’s hoping sales pick up after the episode airs.
Here's a gallery with some photos. The two photos with the booths and non-frosted windows are before. The rest of the interior photos are after. You can see the cheesy, home-made decorations I was talking about.

(The frosted windows do nothing to stop the glaring sunlight that hits in the late afternoon/evening.)

Should be an interesting episode, although I feel sorry for Tony that they screwed up his place like that.
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Old 08-20-2013, 02:53 PM   #12
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Place looks great to me. Not much you can do (with 2 days and $10k) about glare considering that entire place is windows from floor to ceiling.
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:08 PM   #13
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Place looks great to me. Not much you can do (with 2 days and $10k) about glare considering that entire place is windows from floor to ceiling.
The fresh paint helps a lot. But adding the white shelves and putting some generic soccer balls, batting helmets and bowling pins on them adds no value. The two before photos don't show much - but you can see that the booths and neon signs are gone (I liked both). Many of the decorations that were removed showed their history in the community - sponsorship plaques from youth sports teams, etc.

I agree that there wasn't much that could be done about the glare in 2 days, but they could have saved the money from the window frosting and ordered some blinds and put them up a few days later.

I guess my point is that this was a case where some help with accounting and marketing probably would have gone a lot further than new decorations and chairs and a new, stripped down menu. I guess we'll see on Sunday what actual issues they attempted to solve.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:40 PM   #14
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Quick follow-up:

I didn't post after the show aired - it was a boring episode, and they didn't address any of the real issues with the restaurant.

Anyway, here's where they are three months later:

Quote:
“I’ve had to cut back, and I still have a situation with the IRS. I’ve just let two people go,” said Tony. “I will keep the doors open until my luck runs out.”

When that is, Tony can’t say. Business is at an all-time low with sales down 30 percent over last year, and he still owes the IRS back taxes of about $100,000, he said.

“The hype has died down and people have seen the inside and tried the new menu,” said Sommer.

Mason pizzeria remains impossible
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:37 AM   #15
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It's a shame he can't seem to make things work. But as he admitted, his troubles probably aren't with the food etc, it's mainly do to choosing a very poor location to reside in. Hopefully he can pull out of his slump.
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:50 AM   #16
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This RI blog is pretty interesting:
http://www.foodnetworkgossip.com/p/r...l#.Up9BMtJDtAI

Quote:
Running Total Of Episodes That Have Aired - 27 of 80 Restaurants Have Closed, 4 Restaurants Have Sold, and 49 of 80 Restaurants Are Still Open with the same owners.

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Old 12-04-2013, 08:55 AM   #17
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Yeah, nice that he doesn't blame the show for his failures.
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:56 AM   #18
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This RI blog is pretty interesting:
http://www.foodnetworkgossip.com/p/r...l#.Up9BMtJDtAI
I'd say those are pretty good stats for the show!
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:21 AM   #19
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I need to give the place near here that RI visited (Gusanoz Mexican) another visit at some point. They are still in business, which is a good sign.

The RI episode surprised me, since my experience there was that the food was always pretty decent (one of the owners is a very good Mexican cook), but the rest of the business was a shambles. Before the makeover, my summary of the place was "reasonably good food, and indifferent bordering on terrible service."

Sadly, I went back there just about six months after the renovation, and while the physical makeover was actually pretty nice, and the food pretty good, the service behaved like nothing had happened: the owner's children who got chewed out on the program for not really putting in effort were still not putting in effort, and the son that was more interested in his phone than tending bar was.... still more interested in his phone than tending bar. I ended up summarizing it as "reasonably good food, and indifferent bordering on terrible service."

I wrote up a bigger review on my blog: http://offbeateats.org/2012/11/gusanoz-chapter-3/ , which seriously pissed off the owner, so I'm a bit afraid to go back (haven't been there since May).
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:06 AM   #20
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Can anybody figure out how to do a search to see if they have visited a place in my area (phoenix, az). I can't figure out their website:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/restauran...ble/index.html
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:19 AM   #21
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Can anybody figure out how to do a search to see if they have visited a place in my area (phoenix, az). I can't figure out their website:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/restauran...ble/index.html
The tracking link above on FoodNetworkGossip gives locations. The only Phoenix-areas one was Sapori D'Italia in Fountain Hills, which is apparently doing quite well.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:51 AM   #22
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Thanks...silly the actual foodnetwork website doesn't have a list.
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