Sunday, 24 June 2012

Kitchen Nightmares - Cafe Hon - OPEN

Kitchen Nightmares Cafe Hon

Episode Recap


Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Cafe Hon in Baltimore, Maryland,  owned by entrepreneur Denise Whiting based on the word Hon. She trademarked the word Hon and it alienated the local people. She threatened to go after anyone who used the word and there are anti hon stickers. Since the "Hon controversy", business has been down and she takes it out on the staff. Gordon stops by a local radio station and discovers that the term hon is extremely important to the culture of the town and that she had threatened legal action against others. 

Gordon arrives and is greeted by Debbie, the manager and Denise. They sit down for a chat, she breaks down and says business is half of the previous year and she has invested the last of her money. She recognises that the problem is the trademarking of the word 'Hon' as the media got involved. Gordon sits down to try the food, he orders the Big Bay Club, English style Fish and Chips and the "Much Better Than Mom's" Meatloaf. On the club, the crab is delicious but the shrimps are stone cold and taste old. The fish and chips is greasy, the fish is dry and the soggy batter is coming away. The meatloaf is dreadful, with no flavour, the broccoli is raw, the mash cold and the gravy over the top swamps the dish. Gordon discovers they are told by Denise that they can't season the fries.

Gordon watches an evening service and Denise comes in and shouts at them all. The food backs up as she insists on showing them how to cook and plate asparagus. Food is sent back for many reasons so she stops serving turkey, steaks, pot pie, catfish, french fries and sweet fries,  leaving them nothing to serve. The customers become frustrated and leave, $800 of food is comped or discounted. Gordon calls a staff meeting, morale is low, they don't like the way they are spoken to and they don't like her management style. They are in fear of being fired if they tell her how they really feel. Manager Debbie calls her a "rude bitch" telling her she treats them like s***, they tell her she is negative, talks down to them and doesn't appreciate or trust them.

Gordon calls a meeting with local residents, they are angry about the 'Hon' trademarking, they think she is just after money and have made a mockery of the citizens. They also think she is a bully as anyone could be issued a cease and desist order and one resident has had a letter. The Maryland State Government had to go to her to approve use of the word hon in their ad campaign and she insisted on creative control! The locals say they will think about returning if she abandons the trademark on 'Hon'. Gordon revamps the restaurant and menu. Gordon makes it clear it is important to reach out to the local area and they go to a local radio station. She apologises and asks for forgiveness, she then gives the trademark back to the people by dropping ownership.  

What Happened Next?


Reviews on Yelp are looking mostly negative but it is hard to tell if these ring true due to her bad reputation with the trademark issue, which  in 2016 is still mentioned in reviews by locals.   Gordon revisited in May 2012 and discovers that residents have began to forgive her as she gave up the trademark on the word Hon. Gordon brands her burger delicious and she is given a commendation for her work in the community. The restaurant was packed with diners but it appears many are not going to forgive her so easily... In May 2013, the restaurant was renovated and redecorated. Reviews throughout 2015 appear to be mostly negative with negative comments on food quality and service.


17 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing..

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm not sure when or where "hon" first started... did it start in Baltimore? Correct me if I'm wrong but I feel like "hon" is just part of the English colloquial language.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's used as a term of endearment in a lot of places but it's especially used in Baltimore.

      Delete
  3. If she'd tried to copyright the phrase Cafe Hon I could understand that because it was her cafe's name but trying to copyright Hon is like trying to copyright G'day , or Y'all oe something else that is part of the general language , it just doesn';t make sense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or Copyrighting "OMG" " WTF" "BS"

      Delete
  4. She would have never been able to maintain such a trademark in court if anyone had just taken her up on her offer to go to trial. Instead everyone just caved in to her lawyer's silly threats.

    She really got herself into that tricky situation by trademarking "hon" rather than "Cafe Hon", since you are required to send out take down notices if you want to hold on to the trademark. If you don't do what she did and then you went to court over a serious infraction that was genuinely challenging/competing with your business, then they could just argue that you had never defended the trademark in the past and so cannot do so now. This is, unfortunately, how trademark law works. Her lawyers were right for advising her to send out the take down notices in so far as it is their job to protect her trademarks, but they should have recognized and alerted her to the fact that a trademark on a word like "hon" would never hold up for a moment if it went to court.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lol all the ones you want to see Closed on always are open Lol what a shame, didn't like the owner one bit, seemed fake the whole time the way she acted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got the same vibe from her. After the staff told her their opinions it looked like she was acting, fake tears. I hope the staff all found better jobs, cuz I'm sure she fired them later on our at least went psycho on them. She should have given the trademark to the city of Baltimore.
      I agree with another comment also that the places I want to stay in business are the ones that ultimately closed, like Sushi Ko etc.

      Delete
  6. She was one of the few owners/people on KN that were so very repugnant and false that I really was disappointed in Chef Ramsey for taking the time trouble and expense to give her a second chance. She didn't deserve it, especially when there are so many good hearted people trying to make a restaurant work that genuinely deserve help, rather than this ego driven tyrant.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree with other posters. Her apology on the radio show rang false. She was sorry for all the hate (she meant directed AT HER, for instance.) A non-apology apology. Yuck. I would never patronize this place. I feel bad for the long-time employees, but they can and should seek employment elsewhere if they're unhappy.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's sad how internet idiots, who are probably 12 years old think it's fun to make things worse for restaurants after they watched on the TV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise, your new name is so much better.

      Delete
  9. Who cares its just a word. Get over it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I used to live within walking distance from there went there once, but there were much better places to go on that strip.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Typical: whenever the owner is extremely vile, their business somehow survives. Proof that the Universe hates us.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't understand this "hon" thing, does the city really define itself by the fact they use that word a lot? Is there no other places that say it? Also, who cares!? Where I'm from in England, we're know for saying the word "bab" and the phrase "alright bab", but we don't try to make it our one unique defining characteristic lmao. 'Hon' also seems like it wouldn't really be rare or unique to one specific place tbh but what do i know.

    ReplyDelete

All comments are moderated, those with swear words and racist language will not be approved.