Restaurant Stakeout is the undercover new program on Food Network hosted by Willie Degel, owner of several successful steakhouses in New York City. 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, which are well run and thriving.
In this episode Willie Degel heard from Mike Cappucci, owner of Trends Restaurant in Staten Island, New York. Mike is having a problem with his son Nick, who is supposed to be running the front of the restaurant while Mike runs the kitchen.
The next day, Willie and his staff install the hidden cameras and he and Mike sit and watch what goes on. They watch the staff goofing off while people are waiting for food and drinks. The bartender is in the kitchen eating while a full bar of patrons sit and wait. A waitress is on her cell phone and his son who is supposed to be running the place is outside on his phone. A waiter is sitting drinking at the bar and a waitress chastises him for his actions and tells him she does not want to share her tips with him and he makes a joke of it. Willie sees that the owner’s son is not a leader.
Nobody greets customers, the waitress is making drinks and serving them without a tray. The bartender is giving away drinks, which is stealing, then disappears to have a smoke in the back room. So Willie sends in two of his crew to the bar, two nice looking girls who want to get drunk. They flirt with Big Mike the bartender and he puts on a show for them, and the rest of the patrons are annoyed at his actions. They are visibly drunk and one of the girls wants her food but it is not coming out fast enough. He tells them to go back and tell them to hurry up.
On the third day of the Restaurant Stakeout, Mike the waiter shows up late to a packed restaurant. Nick said nothing to Mike about being late, and went over the specials with a waitress. Two more people come in from Willie’s crew and put the staff through the wringer. They ask for their waiter, but he is outside on the phone smoking a cigarette. The woman explains that she is allergic to nuts and orders a salad that contains nuts. During the service a disgruntled customer leaves the restaurant because of the bad service.
The waiter was asked to watch over the bar for a few minutes while the bartender makes a phone call and takes money off the bar and puts it in his pocket. Little did he know that he was being watched by Nick and the hidden camera.
Willie is appalled at the actions of some of the people and wants to fire half of the crew, but Nick took Mike aside and fired him. Willie and Mike Cappucci met with the entire staff and clued them in. Willie took both Mike and Nick together and patched up any issues they had before.
Six weeks later, Willie went back and saw a great change in the staff and the restaurant, cash register and bar were humming.