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‘Restaurant Stakeout’ rescues Junction 46 in Ledgewood, N.J.

Willie Degel mastermind behind Restaurant Stakeout
Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Last night's episode of “Restaurant Stakeout” was titled "Dysfunction Junction." Willie Degel came to help out Junction 46 in Ledgewood, N.J.

Willie met with Bob Winegar, owner of the establishment. The online reviews rave about the food, but complain about the staff that has no interest in the customers. Although Bob works about 80 hours a week, his recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is a factor. In addition to this, his family’s livelihood is at stake, and if the restaurant fails, it will be catastrophic.

Willie met with Bob away from the restaurant, got the keys, and sent in his team to wire up the place. When Bob saw the control room, he was amazed.

Willie will use his reliable four-step plan to identify the key staff, observe their behavior, test the systems and then confront the staff.

Danielle is a waitress on staff for six months; she was seen waiting on a man with a gluten allergy, but had a blank look on her face when he asked for a recommendation. Diane, a bartender there for sixteen years, was the person who trained Danielle. Danielle went back to ask Chef Roy, on staff for six years about the gluten recommendation. Willie commented about the age of Roy, but Bob admits that he is a rock star.

Two men came in and ordered martinis; she did not put vermouth in either one and lied when they asked if she did. She shook the martini too, which is a no-no. After putting “more” vermouth in the drink, it sat on the bar instead of going back to the customer. Willie also told Bob that the sign outside is confusing, stating that it is a bar, restaurant and a night club.

Jean, a waitress there for 12 years was spotted next. Willie sent in Sandy and Donna to test Jean. Jean greeted them with pitchers in hand, told the women to sit wherever they wanted, and she would be with them in about four minutes. She was busy with a large group of elderly singles, and Diane brought menus to the women. As they waited and waited, and tried to get Jean’s attention, she continued to ask they to wait, promising to be right back. Willie reprimanded Bob for only having one waitress on staff this night. As they attempted to ask a question, they got an abrupt answer as she walked away again. Willie said it was more Bob’s fault than Jean’s.

When two men at the bar were swigging down Long Island Iced Teas like they were going out of style, one of them came into the dining room to ask one of the elderly people to do the tango with him. With no separation between the bar and restaurant, it was a rowdy bunch of drinkers amidst the nice dining room.

Two people walked in and observed people playing poker. Bob admitted that on Wednesdays, they had a poker night, where attendees are asked to support the restaurant, and they play for a chance to enter the World Series of Poker. When the two people sat down, Will, a young bartender, on staff for five years waited on them as they ordered a “Voodoo Bucket,” a drink for $11 made of 32 ounces of booze. As they drank the drink, they got very rowdy and their voices drifted across the entire place, disturbing other customers.

Bob called the staff together after it closed, and Willie came in. He explained why he was there. Bob had to make changes to bring his restaurant back from its identity crisis. Now Bob is ready to get to work to make the necessary changes.

The next day, Bob and Willie made the plan, and Bob now claimed the title of restaurateur. Willie gave the chef all the props he deserved. He was a master of his craft. Willie then met with Danielle, and gave her the info about how she should talk to the customers. She felt that the onus was put on the staff, and Willie let her know that it was primarily Bob’s fault as the owner, regardless, all the staff had to work together.

Next, Willie took Bob to a local radio station to get the word out about his new restaurant, and he did a great job explaining about the delicious menu and service.

Six weeks later, Willie was greeted by Bob’s wife, the hostess. There were new faces and the place was humming. With a separation between the restaurant and bar, and a new hostess stand, the place was classy, like never before. Thanks to Willie and his staff on "Restaurant Stakeout," the sales were up; the staff was happy, and the owner will have more time with his family and get the much-needed rest when his multiple sclerosis requires it.

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