Kitchen Nightmares - Burger Kitchen - CLOSED

Burger Kitchen Kitchen Nightmares

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Gordon Ramsay visits Burger Kitchen in Los Angeles, California.

Burger Kitchen has only been open for 16 months but it already has serious issues with a family at war.

He enjoys eating meat had eaten in a number of steak restaurants so he decided to open a hamburger restaurant to be able to cook with Wagyu beef.

Owner Alan Saffron didn't have enough money to open the restaurant so he used $250,000 of his son Daniel Saffron's inheritance money.

The money was part of a million dollar inheritance from his Grandfather and used by his father without his permission to pursue his dream of owning a restaurant.

Alan doesn't consider Daniel a partner in the business, he makes important decisions without telling him and doesn't tell him about the restaurants finances.

Daniel feels that his father belittles him and treats him like a child and they don't respect his girlfriend Wendy.

Gordon arrives and is impressed by the central LA location on trendy 3rd Street and he also likes the interior of the restaurant.

He sits down with Alan and Jen who reveal they have been open 16 months and are losing roughly $6000 per month.

When Gordon asks why they blame the Burger Kitchen staff as they have ever changing chefs and servers but also multiple menu changes and a Yelp conspiracy.

Alan reveals they have hired and fired 20 service staff, 20 chefs and have had 10 menu changes.

Alan believes that Yelp are ruining the restaurant by deleting all of his 5 star reviews and only leaving negative reviews.

They reveal that Daniel usually works the night time and Alan works in the day time as they can't work together.

Alan reveals that his son has resentment towards him and tells Gordon that the thinks the food is a 4/5.

Gordon sits to order food and his server Marilyn tells him there is a lack of management, no consistency and burgers are constantly sent back.

Gordon orders a range of burgers including the California and Cowboy Burger, cooked medium rare and an Australian meat pie.

The food disappoints as both of the burgers are raw, tasteless, have doughy or disappointing buns and the Australian Meat Pie is tasteless and like cat food.

Gordon meets Executive Chef David Blaine, who was hired as a pastry chef and worked his way up to Executive Chef.

He says that is not allowed to change anything on the menu, follows the recipes he has been given and has not been paid his wages.

Jen and David don't get along and David doesn't want her in the kitchen. They argue about whether a mushroom dish has been changed from the recipe.

He accuses her of drinking and taking prozac and Jen claims he gossips about her and blame her for problems.

Gordon also discovers that the Australian Waygu burgers are bought in and are frozen.

David is challenged to cook a fresh burger, the Redemption Burger, whilst Alan cooks a frozen prepared burger.

Whilst they are preparing the burgers, Gordon takes a visit to Daniel at his home. Daniel tells Gordon that Wendy and his family had a falling out and they don't respect her.

Back at the restaurant Gordon loves David's fresh burger but hates Alan's frozen Wagyu mix burger.

David has proved to Gordon that he is a good chef when he isn't restricted by the recipes he is given.

Alan tells Gordon that he thought the Wagyu beef would be better as it sounds expensive and he tells Gordon that he wrote a book about his father.

For the evening service, Daniel is sent out to work front of house, the food speeds out of the kitchen only to be sent back as they aren't cooked correctly.

The kitchen is in chaos as the tickets are messed up and they don't know what half the orders are.

David looks like a deer in the headlights and is unable to keep up. Frustrated by the ticket drama he explodes and threatens Daniel and is fired on the spot.

The guests start to leave and David comes back, not to finish the service but for the money he is owed. David is owed $1000 and doesn't want another cheque that will bounce.

Alan and Jen don't think they even have $1000 to pay him and offer to pay the next day but he refuses telling them he isn't even sure they will be open the next day.

They say they will move around some money so that it doesn't bounce but David remains sceptical and makes more accusations against Jen.

Daniel's partner Wendy tells them he isn't putting in any more cash to the business and another argument breaks out.

Daniel breaks down outside but Gordon consoles him and tells him that the only reason he has stayed is to help him.


Burger Kitchen Part 2

The next day, Gordon invites them all out to a theatre and brings out the Yelpers to quash Alan's conspiracy theories.

There is a Community Manager from Yelp and numerous diners who have posted Yelp Reviews who assure him that they are real but Alan still refuses to believe that the reviews are real.

The Yelpers tell Alan that they are giving constructive feedback for him to make changes and one poster says that he received a response from Alan and was met with a baraage of emails.

Alan has even threatened the Yelp reviewers and threatened to report one to the LAPD Hate Crime Division for their review.

A fellow restaurant owner talks on how to deal with Yelp and finally Ramsay gets through to him that he needs to take the criticisms and learn and improve on the negatives.

The next issue Gordon needs to tackle is the family relationships and Daniel reveals that the problems are mistrust due to them taking his money.

Alan says that he put $250,000 of his money and Daniel put $250,000 of his in but Daniel reminds him that he didn't put the money in, he had no permission to use the money and he took the money from him.

He also tells his father that he wants to be on the paperwork, have evidence of ownership and know the financials from the accountant.

Gordon also feels that they need to make the decision of who will be running the restaurant.

Wendy is defensive of Daniel and they agree to try and move past it and get along with Wendy for the sake of the restaurant.

Gordon reveals the Alan that he read the book about his father he had given him and reveals the same is repeating again and that Daniel would probably describe him the same as he had his father.

All attention then goes to improving the food and creating a tasty burger for the evening's service.

Gordon introduces a new burger recipe using fresh ground beef rather than the frozen Wagyu beef they were using.

In the evening, the dinner service begins with Daniel expediting, there are small hitches but he deals with them successfully and the new burger is a big hit.

Overnight Gordon's team gives the restaurant a makeover with new murals, pop art and the ugly green colour is gone.

The booth is gone and there is a chalkboard on the way to be able to leave messages. There is also a POS system replacing the old ticket system with handheld stations for the servers.

The menu has also been updated, shortened and will contain new burgers including a new lamb burger and side dishes including vodka battered onion rings and parmesan fries.

They will also be making their own home made barbecue sauce. The staff sample the new menu and are impressed with the new food.

For the relaunch Gordon has a surprise, the restaurant is going to be packed with writers from Yelp, Urban Spoon, Chow and other major review sites and blogs.

Daniel gets off to a good start but Alan just can't stay out of the kitchen, distracting Daniel in the process.

This leads to some food for the Chow table being sent back for being undercooked and Gordon loses it, urging Alan to get out the kitchen and let Daniel work.

Gordon tells them Daniel did a great job on relaunch and Alan says that Daniel is doing a good job on running the restaurant.

Alan and Jen promise to let Daniel run things in the restaurant without interference and the show ends.


What Happened Next at Burger Kitchen?

At Burger Kitchen after Kitchen nightmares, the menu and kitchen staff at Burger Kitchen in LA were changed numerous times.

In August 2011 the restaurant is said to have changed ownership and by October 2011 there was a rebranding, a new, smaller menu, a new team of Chefs and new management in place.

Yelp reviews continued to be negative and customers reported that none of the burgers that Gordon had created were on the menu.

The POS system installed as part of the revamp was also no longer used to take orders, burgers were still not cooked as ordered and service was very slow.

Burger Kitchen closed in February 2012.

There was a for lease sign at the restaurant in mid January and the restaurant was shuttered in February.

There is the belief that the Burger Kitchen episode was staged and Burger Kitchen was exposed in this blog post.

Luigi's opened in it's space just a few weeks after they closed but this also closed.

Jaffaa Middle Eastern restaurant is now in it's place.

Alan Saffron died in April 2020.

Burger Kitchen is Kitchen Nightmares season 5 episode 5 and 6 and was aired on November 04 and 11 2011. The episode was filmed in August 2011.


Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

Previous episode - Luigi's D'Italia

Next episode - The Greek at the Harbor

This post was last updated in July 2020.


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17 comments:

  1. This episode makes a lot more sense once you read into the story of the grandfather and the fathers book tour.

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    1. But the sequel is alot worse though, the grandfather left Alan money, Alan didnt leave Danny any, he took Dannys money. Who is the greater SATAN?

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    2. I felt so bad for the son. It's not even like the some of the children who simply feel pressured to give their family money, his dad just took his money!

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  2. I wish Daniel had pressed charges over the theft of his money. His father was a straight-up criminal.

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    1. Runs in the Family. His Grandfather was apparently a notorious criminal.

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    2. Facts and he didn't even understand that.

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  3. What everyone should realize is that the mother, as spiteful and petty as she was obviously has a prescription drug problems. Take a close look at her eyes. That is the reason the chef David was so adamant about the hole Prozac thing and why she was defensive about it. You can also pay attention to the way she scopes out the remodel looking for what she could sell to make a quick buck. What really bothered me was the fact that the parents did not have any money but expected the son to pay for everything. Pay close attention to the argument in the restaurant about the finances. They knew that he had $160,000 in the bank. The parents are manipulating thieves that want the money that they believe they should have gotten from the inheritance. They are the worst kind of people. If the son reads this then I hope that will take the kind words of someone who knows what he is going through......... Get away from them and leave them to there own demise. You have your own life and a family of your own to start. Good luck.

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    1. Well said.

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    2. He obviously had put up with a lot of guff by this point. Narcissists often push the sane into acting in ways they wouldn't otherwise act. He was something like the 20th chef since they opened 18 months prior. That is what those in law enforcement call a clue.

      It had nothing to do with him as much as it did with them.

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  4. I watched the episode. I hope the father ends up in prison. Being a manager of somebody's trust fund doesn't mean taking whatever money that you want and investing in your pet project. The mother and father couldnt get along with the sons girlfriend because she knew how much they were taking advantage of the son. Especially since there was nothing on paper about the son being a half owner. I like how they said they didnt have to pay the son because he had 160 grand, and they also wanted him to pay the chef's wages. I don't think the parents deserved any kind of respect from Chef Ramsey after it was revealed that they stole money from their child.

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  5. I can't believe that place lasted as long as it did. I have never seen people that were so out of touch with reality. Alan and Gen seem like they need mental health professionals. The son should have sued his father for the quarter of a million dollars that he stole from him. The only one that seemed to know what they were doing is the chef.

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  6. I don't think he would ever had sued his parents, I bet when they sold it, his parents kept the money... Is it me but the trust fund thing was like strange he looked like he was in his 30s, wasent allowed it till he was 40?

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  7. Keep in mind, these people have been raising him and manipulating him to their own will his entire life. Breaking free from that takes time, hard work and sometimes outside help. Don't judge the son too harshly.

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  8. I wonder why they stopped the scene where daniel went to get the checks to show that his parents were paying themselves.

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  9. Something definitely wrong with the parents. I feel for the girlfriend. She's been with him for 5 years and probably already would have been married if wasn't for his mother. So when she steps up and says no I think she has every legitimate right to say so. She wants to build a life together and grow together, not support the parents

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  10. No wonder the joint is closed. Watched the ep. yesterday and felt really bad for the son. Hope he starts again fresh in a new joint.

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  11. After watching these two episodes I can safely say that my heart goes out to Daniel. I would certainly hope that he got every cent of his money back from the sale of the restaurant. Pretty sure that taking money from someone else's trust fund for your own benefit is called misappropriation of funds and is considered theft. Although it was his own parents, sadly, they should be doing jail time. I hope it ended well for him and he could move on to more positive things.

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