“Restaurant Stakeout” is hosted by Willie Degel the undercover new program on Food Network. He plants hidden cameras in failing restaurants and discovers the reason or reasons why they experience low sales, unhealthy happenings in the kitchen and poor service. His claim to fame is that he does the same thing in his own restaurants, that are well run and thriving New York Steakhouses.
On this episode, he heard from the owners of Bar+Bistro in Las Vegas, Nevada. These first-time owners of a restaurant have no complaints about the food made by an up-and-coming, though hot-headed chef, but the service is lousy.
Willie meets with Wes and Debra. The owners are in the Art District of Las Vegas and as soon as it closes, Willie and his crew get to work setting up the hidden cameras and microphones to keep an eye on the entire place.
As Willie and his clients watch the goings-on at the restaurant, they see waitresses arguing with customers and then cursing under their breath, a bartender who uses fire in her “act” to entertain customers. The chef has very little patience with his servers, or lack of them. The menu is way too large and it reads like a book. The chef and sous chef are at odds because of the language barrier.
Willie sends in his fake customers to test the staff. A couple come in and question and question the waitress about the menu. A waiter gets guff from a customer and tells them to get out. The staff has never been properly trained and the owners have little skills in training them. When fake customers send food back, they give it to another customer.
The test of the wait staff is given when underage customers come in with no identification, the waitress sends the manager to talk to them. Both the waitress and manager passed the test. So they go to the bar to see if they get served and are asked to leave. Another test is for food that is cold; a waiter brings out a blowtorch and torches the food at the table.
The bartender is also a fire dancer and puts on a show for her customers that could cause a fire and while she is dancing, nobody is tending bar. The chef comes out to explain the food preparation to them and blows his horn telling them how great he is.
Willie and the owners meet with the staff. He tells them what they saw. Immediately, the chef defends himself and Willie tells him that it is not all about him; it is about the customers. Willie met with staff members and gave Jaime the title of general manager and made the bartender, the bar manager. Jill is now the bi-lingual food expediter.
After six weeks, the place is buzzing and operating like a business with happier customers thanks to Willie Degel and “Restaurant Stakeout.”