Lessons From Chef Irvine of Restaurant: Impossible

Last year when Chef Robert Irvine was out on the Olympic Peninsula filming an episode of his popular TV show “Restaurant: Impossible”, he stayed with us at our Holiday Inn Express and ate at our Black Bear Diner. Chef Irvine had only compliments for our hotel and restaurant; he said we got the details right. But that’s not Chef Irvine’s demeanor on his TV show. The plot of “Restaurant: Impossible” goes like this – with only two days and $10,000, Chef Irvine faces the daunting challenge of turning around a failing restaurant. And he doesn’t hold back on his advice!

Trisha, Chef Robert Irvine from Restaurant Impossible, Bret and Toni

Trisha, Chef Robert Irvine from Restaurant Impossible, Bret and Toni

While Chef Irvine was staying at our hotel, he was filming the makeover for Zoog’s Caveman Cookin’ Restaurant in Port Hadlock, WA. The makeover gave Zoog’s a publicity boost, but a few months later, the owners closed their doors for good. Are all these disaster kitchen’s doomed to go dark soon after Chef Irvine leaves? No. According to David Segal, a writer for the New York Times. There are many restaurants that have benefited from Chef Robert’s radical makeover and his brash coaching.

When asked, “What’s the most important aspect of marketing in the restaurant business today?” Chef Irvine said that the menu, style and décor had to be unique. But you really need to empower your staff to get the most productivity out of them. Are your people enjoying serving their guests? Allow them to give an appetizer to a regular customer or a glass of wine to the newlyweds. Your staff won’t abuse the privilege, and it will help make your restaurant’s brand stronger.

I think that the biggest lesson that Chef Irvine teaches us is that we can all benefit from ongoing training – just don’t be like the restaurant owners on his TV show and wait until the last minute to seek help!