We walked into Steve's
restaurant, through the back doors to the second floor, where they had set up a
huge screen with lots of monitors, each capturing a different kitchen station
where the contestants were prepping for the lunch crowd.
Watching the monitors, one thing became clear to me. This task was designed to give us a better idea of who could handle the pressure of a real lunch rush in a real restaurant while staying in control. In this competition, with so much invested, just having a great business idea isn't going to cut it.
As the customers started to form a line outside, I could sense Steve's anxiety and concern about the service. Unfortunately, his worst fears were realized when the doors finally opened.
Quickly, service began to decline, and it became clear the contestants were struggling. As a chef, my first instinct was to jump behind the counter and get the line moving. Believe me, if it weren't for the heels being a potential hazard in the kitchen, I would have.
Sure enough, suddenly I see Steve, rolling up his sleeves and jumping in to rescue his restaurant. Who can blame him?
It was rough for a moment there, and for the contestants it was a definite wake up call. Running a restaurant is not an easy task.
Back in the Investors' Suite, as I predicted, it was getting harder to decide who would go home. Bottom line, we needed a partner that could handle, as we say in the restaurant business, being "in the weeds."
You only have one chance to give a "great" first impression, but don't forget functionality!
Taking off... see you next week!