Restaurant Impossible - Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant - OPEN

Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Owners Nick and Maria are in desperate need of help of saving their six year old restaurant from closure.

Between the owners, there are about twenty five years of experience in the restaurant trade.

The restaurant started off great as the locals were keen to try their authentic Mexican cuisine.

There used to be a line of people queuing at the door to enter the restaurant.

Sometimes the line would be up to an hour wait for a table.

The restaurant was making a great profit and they were able to invest in a second restaurant.

The second restaurant took up a lot of their time and their money.

The new restaurant ended up plunging them into $250,000 of debt and they were forced to close the restaurant.

After the failure of the second restaurant they decided to try again and opened another restaurant.

As they focused on the two other restaurants they neglected Gusanoz and as a result they cut corners with food quality and service.

As the food and service quality declined so did the customers and they are now close to closing the restaurant.

Robert arrives and finds holes in the wall, the bar is falling apart, chairs are breaking and there are silly garden lights hanging from the ceiling.

He also thinks the decor looks old and dirty.

Robert speaks with the owners and finds out the vast amount of experience managing restaurants that they have between them.

They have both seen great success in managing restaurants with ground breaking sales.

After having problems at the restaurant Maria worked at she decided that she wanted to open her own restaurant.

They were making $100,000 a month after opening the restaurant but they were in $500,000 of debt by the time they had opened their third restaurant.

The couple have five children and two of the adult children work at the restaurant too and rely on the income to support their families.

Robert wants to watch a service to find out what the issues are at the restaurant.

During the service he notices many issues but the main issues looks like it is the food.

The food looks awful, it looks dull and there are complaints that the food is bland.

The kitchen is also run poorly and this is contributing to the issues with the food they serve.

Robert meets with the staff and is honest about how bad the situation is right now and that the owners have become complacent.

He feels that they need to make big changes in order to save the business.

Robert doesn’t want them to continue with the business for the sake of the staff and they need to make money too.

Maria and Nick are more careful about taking care of their employees than ensuring they are doing their jobs properly.

They are being far too soft on staff and they need to be more open to disciplining the staff.

When Maria lost her confidence at the restaurant, she stopped being leader and the heart and soul of the restaurant was lost.

Robert is concerned with the decor as there is nothing Mexican about it except for the flag.

He meets with designer Lynn to discuss the transformation for the restaurant and ideas for improving the space.

Robert meets with the staff to find out what goes on at the restaurant and the owners children are causing problems for the staff.

Alex is Alexandra, the owners daughter who is reported as having a bad attitude.

The staff also say that the owners son Eddie is the worst member of staff in the kitchen.

The staff meeting descends into an argument as the staff argue and blame each other for problems at the restaurant.

Robert introduces a handbook of procedures that the staff will have to adhere to and will set out the expectations of them.

Next, he moves on to the biggest task that he has to undertake in fixing the food.

Nick and Maria have a Chimichanga cook off, Maria's original recipe versus the current one they serve.

Although Nick finished his dish faster, Maria’s dish tasted better and had better presentation.

Her recipe was to be added to the menu.

Robert checks in with the design team to see their progress in the dining room.

The flooring is causing Tom issues as it was taking him a lot of extra time and is essential so they can save more money.

The next day, Robert arrives and checks in with Tom and Lynn.

They have made good progress over night and are on track to complete in time for the relaunch.

Robert meets with the owners to talk about one of the biggest issues at the restaurant.

Their weekly revenue is $21,999 but their payroll is $8200.

They are hiring too many people and having them work too many hours.

They are unable to make a profit if they continue whilst their costs are not under control.

Robert tells them that they are going to have to make some tough financial decision.

He asks the owners to look at the schedules and see where they can make changes to save money.

They agree that they need to make changes and agree to reduce their employees hours to save money.

Robert reminds them that they are a business that needs to make money and not a charity.

Next, he works with the kitchen staff on the menu and shows them how to make new menu dishes including a Lobster Taco.

They taste the dish, love it and they are confident that the customers will also love the dish.

Robert wants to tackle the complaints about the owners children next.

After speaking to the pair Robert can see that they want the best for the restaurant and their parents and went too far.

The final task before the relaunch is for Robert to meet with the staff and make sure that everyone knows the new rules.

He asks them to sign to say that they agree to the new terms and if anyone breaks them they will have three strikes before being fired.

The transformation is complete and is revealed to the family and the staff.

The dining room has a new bright decor, a refurbished bar and new flooring.

On relaunch night, customers love the bright inviting decor and the new food.



What Happened Next at Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant?


In the few months after Robert visited, they noticed an improvement in the number of customers.

They have cut staff costs down to 28%.

They are cutting food costs without compromising on the quality and are becoming more involved in food prep to further cut costs.

Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant is open.

Reviews since Robert visited are mostly very positive on Yelp and Trip Advisor.


Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant was Restaurant Impossible season 4 episode 6 and aired on August 29 2012

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Previous episode - Stella's Italian Restaurant

Next episode - Frankie's

This post was last updated in February 2021.

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