How To Go All Restaurant Impossible On Where You Work?

Can he stop by your business?

How To Go All Restaurant Impossible On Where You Work?

Al Getler

“This is the biggest mess I have seen in my life! They failed you! You should fire them all! What are you going to do?!”

Is that what Chef Robert Irvine would say if he were an expert in your line of business and he visited your organization?

If you don’t know what I am talking about, let me explain.

Restaurant Impossible on The Food Network

The premise of Restaurant Impossible is direct and clear. Poorly run restaurants are visited by the host, Chef Robert Irvine and his crew. He proceeds to rip the place apart including the people, the kitchen, the dining room and anything else that he hates. And he hates a lot.

Since he only has 48 hours to turn the restaurant around from disaster to success, he yells, screams and intimidates everyone around him. He teaches people new ways to perform their jobs and makes decisions on changes to the physical restaurant along with things like the menu. He rips up all the procedures to run the business and puts them back together.

The last five minutes of the show are what is known in reality TV as ‘the reveal’. It is here that we see the results of all the yelling, hammering, instructing, tears and more yelling. We see a new and improved restaurant; an “Open your eyes!” moment when the owner sees the new and improved restaurant and finally a sequence of happy and satisfied customers.

Watch the first few minutes of the video and you will quickly get the idea.


What if Chef Robert Irvine Showed Up Where You Work?

Imagine with me that Chef Robert Irvine is an expert at everything. What would he find if he showed up at your medical office, business office, government office or educational institution?

What would he yell about if he came to your retail store, bank, personal service location or classroom? What would he take his sledge-hammer to at your veterinary clinic, police station or car service station?

Who would he say you should fire right away and make them reapply for their job the next day? What would he say about your staff, your supervisors and your workflow?

And finally, what would he say about you and to you? Would you have to take a parking lot walk with him like so many of the restaurant owners do on the TV show? Would you break down in tears and cry about how nobody respects you or listens to you?

Your Reality

The problem is that Robert Irvine isn’t coming to your place. That is reality.

Another other problem is that a Chef Robert Irvine-like crew is not going to show up and tear your place apart and put it back together in 48 hours.

The biggest problem is that if you want to go all “Restaurant Impossible” on your business, it is up to you to do it.

So why not give it a try?

I am channeling Chef Robert Irvine with what I am about to suggest (Can I do that? I mean, he is alive. I don’t know, but I will ask my wife to check with the Long Island Medium.)

Eight Ways to Go All Restaurant Impossible On Where You Work

Start With the End Product – It doesn’t matter what you do. Spread it all out on the table and give it the taste, feel, visual or sniff test. By that I mean, look at your end product as the consumer does. As an example, I really wonder if my doctor knows how crappy his waiting room area is and how old the magazines are sitting on the tables. He should sit there and find out.

Check the Service – What do people experience when they do business with you? Call your customer service line. Place an order on your website. Shop in a location where you won’t be recognized. What is it like? How are you treated?

Review the Staff – Look objectively at the staff. Have you been putting up with someone’s horrible attitude only because they have worked there since day one? Is your staff slacking off after you leave? Is the team carrying the load for a lazy team member? Perhaps you do need to fire someone.

Clean Up Your Work Place – Walk in the front door, not the employee entrance, once in a while. With eyes wide open, look around. What do you see? Suddenly that broken down furniture, old equipment and burned out lighting takes on a whole new look. I bet that shot of the salesman of the year from 1973 was cool back then, but it might be time to take it down off the wall.

Add some Spice – Mix it up a bit. It could be time to listen to the new kid and try more vibrant colors on your next marketing piece or begin to use social media. Be willing to try new things to wake up your staff and thrill your customers.

Reinvent the Process – It isn’t always what you should start doing. It can often be what you should stop doing that can make a huge difference. There are probably a dozen things you could stop doing today without any fallout tomorrow.

Give It a Fresh Coat of Paint – This can be taken literally as in paint your place. It could also mean that you just change things up. Change your website. Move desks and work stations around. Decide on a better workflow or traffic pattern in your office. Rewrite phone answering procedures and retrain your staff. Seek input and get your team involved.

Don’t Forget the Reveal – Make changes and celebrate with your staff. Invite someone to come in for the reveal and have a little celebration. Congratulate yourself for a job well done.

Ask the Customers – Once you make the changes, ask customers (patients, constituents, students, etc.) what they think. Do they see or sense a difference? Have things improved? Would they recommend you to a friend?

The Secret to a Sustaining the Impossible

The calendar on your computer or smart phone is a beautiful thing. You can set a date with yourself sixty days after the reveal and look back on the changes you have made. Are the changes still in place or have you drifted back to where you were before?

Restaurant Impossible, like many other reality shows, revisits the restaurants they have worked with in the past. Some results are surprising and some are expected. I am always surprised that I can spot the owners that were sincerely ready to change and the ones I knew were not coming to grips even as Irvine tore their place apart.

Yelling, screaming, tearing apart and putting back together means absolutely nothing if you have no intentions to making permanent changes. It is why I love to watch Restaurant Impossible. I learn something from every episode.


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Al Getler is a newspaper, website, book and magazine publisher. He is also a comedian/ventriloquist and a speaker on leadership, customer service and personal branding.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.