Wednesday night’s episode of “Restaurant Stakeout” was titled “Standup Stakeout.” Willie Degel came to help out the restaurant at The Stress Factory comedy club in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Willie met with comic and owner of the Stress Factory, Vinnie Brand, at an abandoned battery factory, and they discussed his dilemma. Vinnie has six kids and is fearful that they will not be able to attend college if his business fails. Vinnie loved the setup and got to watch his staff in action.
Vinnie wants the restaurant to be thriving, as of now; it is not. He identified the staff. Mark, has been the manager for eight years, and was viewed doing his staff meeting. Donna, his mother-in-law is the box office manager, on staff for five years, as she was observed, she was yelling to someone on the phone that she was having password problems. Crystal, three years there as a waitress was questioned by a customer because there were no prices on the menu. It took Crystal fifteen minutes to get the prices and serve the man. What a waste of time!
Willie told him, if he does not change, he may as well close the doors. As the show was about to start, they observed the kitchen, where a waitress was making appetizers. When they needed help, the manager was watching videos on the computer in the office. When he pointed out each person, he told Willie that each person did several things; but nothing was getting done, because each person was responsible for sixty people. He saw customers leaving because they were out of just about everything on the menu.
The next morning, Vinnie called an emergency meeting, which Willie interrupted. He introduced himself and was met with some resistance by an aspiring comedian/waiter. Willie told everyone on staff, that they were going to start working as a team to get the restaurant up to snuff. Vinnie did not appreciate any criticism pointed at him, but Willie gave him a good analogy.
Willie brought his chef with him, to give Vinnie a chance to see how good food can be made quickly and easily. He then took the waiters to role play with an improve group. He took Mark and Donna aside to give them the scoop about selling merchandise and keeping the staff aware of changes to the menu.
Six weeks later, when Willie arrived, there was a new hostess who walked people to their seats, Donna was greeting and checking tickets, next to the new merchandise display case. Vinnie has a smile on his face, and the waiters no longer had to make the appetizers, thanks to Willie and his staff on “Restaurant Stakeout.”