On last night's episode of "Restaurant: Impossible," Robert Irvine traveled to Tavares, Fla. to assist Sharon Whitmore, who owned "Soup to Nuts Diner" for nine years. She has already lost her home, and is about to lose the business. She works seven days a week and works about 100 hours a week. This was supposed to be her retirement, now it is about to be the death of her. Her last hope is Robert, who was disgusted as soon as he walked in the place with the filth he found there. This 1950s style diner looks like it has not been cleaned since then.
As Robert viewed the service, he knew that Sharon was in denial about the cleanliness. People who saw how filthy the place was, wondered how dirty the kitchen was. The food in the kitchen was laying around, and nothing was dated. Robert threw sitting chicken away and questioned the cook about several items. When a customer sat at a booth, there were bugs on the table and Robert called Sharon. She then told her staff that "they put bugs on the table." Robert overheard the accusation and confronted her. She told her that he did not put bugs on the table, nor did he put the years of dirt there either.
The kitchen staff would not take any responsibility for the condition of the food or the filth. Sharon was the only one liable for the place, because she could not find anybody to trust to be in charge. Robert told her it would not be an easy two days. When he met with the staff, he asked who cleaned the place and a bunch of hands went up. Robert told them that they were all taking advantage of her kindness. The staff was all put to work getting the place ready to pass Robert's inspection. They are a younger group of people, and although there is nobody specifically responsible, they are lacking in the respect department. One disrespectful dishwasher was fired by Robert for his actions that would no longer be tolerated.
Cheryl, the designer came in to do her job, but Robert had to take $800 from her $2,000 budget to have the kitchen professionally cleaned. Robert sold the old 50s style juke box to get enough to purchase used kitchen equipment to replace the stuff that was too far gone to be cleaned and used.
On day two, Robert helped redesign the menu; once the kitchen was clean enough to work in. Sharon got to see the kitchen and the new equipment that worked. Then Robert asked Sharon to account for her 100 hours spent in the restaurant. Now Robert will teach her to delegate, to free up some of her time. When Robert gave Sharon a chance to see how much time she wasted, she realized that she was like a dog chasing its tail.
Robert and the cook learned how to make diner fare food that would bring customers back again and again. Robert then got the young staff together. He asked who did not respect Jeannie, the manager; again several hands went up. Respect must go both ways, and Robert made sure the staff on both sides knew the new rules.
When Sharon and her son Alan saw the new improved "Soup To Nuts," they were amazed. The place filled up with people, and they were thrilled with the new look, new menu and new management team. This feel-good story was made possible through the hard work and creativity of Robert and his staff of "Restaurant: Impossible." who week after week, do an awesome job.
At the end of each show, Robert tells viewers to check his link to see how the restaurant is doing since his visit. Feel free to add your comments, especially if you have visited the restaurant.
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