Restaurant Impossible - Maple Tree Cafe - CLOSED

Maple Tree Cafe Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits the Maple Tree Cafe in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Maple Tree Cafe is owned by Ashley Robertson who has owned the restaurant for just a year.

Ashley had always wanted to be a pediatrician.

In her last semester in college she decided she wanted to go into the food industry.

She has no experience at all in the restaurant industry and decided to hire members of her family to help her in the restaurant.

Her mother Joniece worked at the restaurant but left after eight months as it was too tough.

They argued constantly and no one takes the restaurant seriously.

Ashely isn’t tough enough with the staff and doesn’t discipline them when things go wrong.

Her sister Andrea feels bad seeing Ashley suffer and is deflated by the end of the day.

She feels despite the support from family the restaurant continues to decline further.

Robert arrives at the restaurant and finds that the huge space is wasted at the restaurant and it is dirty and dated.

He calls it a granny style restaurant and finds that both the ceiling fan and window frame are caked in dust

Robert meets with owner Ashley to talk about the restaurant and she tells him that she has owned it for just over a year.

The restaurant serves American Style breakfast and lunch.

Ashley didn’t have any experience in running a restaurant but she loves to cook.

Ashley paid $55,000 for the restaurant and various members of her family work at the restaurant and her mother worked as a server for a while.

The only person who works at the restaurant who isn’t a member of her family is the cook.

She made no profit at all in the first year, although she makes between $24-25,000 per moth her costs are around $30,000 monthly.

Ashley works at the restaurant around 100 hours a week and will do any task from cooking to serving and bussing tables.

She even does the dishes if they have no potwasher.

Joniece feels that she needs to focus more on organizing the restaurant.

She wants to be back at the restaurant to help Ashley.

Ashley’s sister Andrea also has a stake in the business as she has invested $30,000 in the restaurant.

But like Ashley she also has no experience in the restaurant business.

Ashley is overwhelmed as the twenty five members of her family who all work there want a say in how the restaurant is running.

Robert wants to observe a dinner service to be able to find out what is wrong with the restaurant.

It does not take long for him to see that Ashley is being pulled in different directions as she does not know how to run a restaurant.

He sees that the food was inconsistent, with greasy food.

The food that is over seasoned one minute and under seasoned the next.

The customers find the decor dated and server Hayley is stood around doing nothing, so the customers receive poor service.

Robert orders some items from the menu and is disappointed with the food he tasted.

Robert meets with Alex, the head cook and can see that they are doing the best they can with what they are given.

Next, he meets with Taniya and the design team to discuss the renovations of the dining room.

Robert asks the staff to help with emptying the restaurant of the furniture ready for the design team to get started.

Robert wants to find out the cooking ability of the kitchen staff.

He asks Alex and Kassy to cook a meal from scratch for him.

Whilst they are cooking he checks in with the design team and helps them with some of the prep for the redesign.

Back in the kitchen Robert sees the potential in the kitchen staff and plans to make a menu to play to their strengths.

Robert meets with Ashley and the staff for Ashley to be able to step up as a boss.

Even though they are her family they have to respect her as their boss and listen to her.

Robert asks Ashley to introduce the staff to him and explain what their roles are at the restaurant.

He encourages Ashley to fire all of her family members, they are to apply for their jobs formally.

She will rehire those who earn their role at the restaurant.

Robert checks in with the design team before finishing for the day.

The next day, Robert checks in with the designers and is pleased with the progress they have made.

Robert meets with Ashley to help her with the interviews of the staff for their positions.

Both of the kitchen staff Alex and Kassy were rehired as were the rest of the staff after shining in their interviews.

Roberts next task is to create a new menu of items that are quick and easy to prepare.

He adds a Cuban Sandwich and Apple Fritters.

The staff sample the food and are impressed with the food they try.

Robert meets with Ashley and asks her how she manages her time .

He asks her to write a list of what she spends her time doing.

When Robert sees the list he thinks she spends a lot of time doing nothing and she isn’t managing the restaurant.

Robert shows her things he knows she should be doing rather than working so hard wasting her time.

The design team have finished and Robert invites the family to see the newly renovated restaurant.

The restaurant is revealed and it looks like a completely different restaurant!

On relaunch night, the customers are surprised by the new restaurant.

They praise both the decor and service during the service.



What Happened Next at Maple Tree Cafe?


Yelp Reviews after Robert visit were mixed and seem range from very good to very bad.

Within a few weeks, sales had more than doubled.

She has kept most of Robert's menu including the popular Cuban Sandwich and Apple Fritter.

They had expanded the catering services they were providing to two new local restaurants.

Ashley was stepping up as manager and stepping away from the kitchen by delegating more prep tasks to the kitchen staff.

The staff are responding with less criticism.

Maple Tree Cafe closed in October 2013 to focus on the catering side of the business.


Maple Tree Cafe was Restaurant Impossible season 4 episode 10 and aired on September 26 2012.


Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

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Next episode - Whistle Stop

This post was last updated in January 2021.

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