Tonight's episode of “Restaurant Stakeout” was titled "Family Style Failure." Willie Degel came to The Original Mama Angelo’s in North Arlington, N.J. to meet with husband and wife owners, Larry and Joan Angelo. They named the restaurant after Larry’s mother, Anne, who passed away a few years ago. The restaurant caters to families and serves family-style meals the way his mother used to do.
Willie met with them and discovered that they were about a half of a million dollars in debt. The online reviews rave about the food, but the service is another story. They are losing about $1,500, so Willie and his crew got to work.
After installing the hidden cameras, they set up in a place close to the restaurant. They identified the workers in the restaurant, and overheard a line cook, ask the counter girl to take $10 out of the register for him. He worked there before and had problems, now they took him back. The observed the chef washing dishes while Anthony, the dishwasher was horsing around in the front of the restaurant. As dishes continued to be washed by other staff, he continued his dissertation about mustaches with a customer and girl behind the counter. Then they showed their nipple rings as customers were eating in the restaurant. The couple were very disappointed at the display he put on, because they have been watching over him for a while now.
Willie used his four-step plan to get to the bottom of the problems here. He identified the key staff, observed their behavior, tested the systems and in the end will confront the staff.
They saw a family come in and want a family-style menu, but one did not exist. They claimed to be a family-style restaurant, but lacked the essentials. When Anthony, the dishwasher returned to the kitchen and the chefs were angry at him, he got loud, was swearing and then walked out.
They saw Gia in the kitchen with a drink in her hand getting drunk. There is no leader in the front or the back of the house. Willie called to place an order, he asked the person who answered several questions about the menu and was put on hold several times then finally told them he would go elsewhere.
As customers walked in, nobody was there to greet them. Then they observed the waitresses standing around talking about guys instead of waiting on the customers. The staff was completely unruly and Willie had no tolerance for them. Anthony again walked out after being told to wash dishes by the chef. As nobody wanted to wash the dishes, a fight broke out in the kitchen, loud enough for customers to hear and keeping people waiting for their food way too long.
The couple then called a staff meeting, and Willie took over. At the meeting, several people were missing. The remaining staff were unhappy and unmotivated. Joe, the line cook was fired by Larry for putting his hands on Jose, another cook. Then Willie told them he was coming back the next day to retrain the staff.
The next day, Willie, Larry and Joan were very disturbed and told Willie that they also fired Russell for fighting in the kitchen. They discussed a children’s menu and offered whole grain and whole-wheat pizzas along with a family-style menu.
Then Willie met with Melina, the girl who took phone orders. She will now be the hostess, and Gia will take phone orders. Willie brought in his daughter Lexy to train her as a hostess. Willie was in the kitchen and watched Larry make pizza. Then they took the whole-wheat pizza for the staff to taste and try. Now they will know what they are talking about when customers ask.
After six weeks, Willie returned and found Melina at the front all smiles and welcoming. Gia was at the phone and doing a great job. In the kitchen, Larry and his staff were working together, and the place was humming. Larry thought he had it all worked out, but now the place is doing better than ever, and the outlook is no longer grim thanks to Willie and his staff of "Restaurant Stakeout."
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