Restaurant Impossible - Coachlamp Restaurant and Pub

Coachlamp Restaurant and Pub Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Coachlamp Restaurant and Pub in Louisville, Kentucky.

Coachlamp Restaurant and Pub is owned by Bill and Gail Darling.

They have owned the restaurant for thirteen years.

Bill's education was in the engineering field but his passion has always been in the restaurant business.

Thirteen years ago, Bill quit his career in the engineering field and decided to run the restaurant.

They bought the restaurant for $225,000 and they were busy at first.

There were periods when the restaurant was fully booked.

It has never been quiet as currently as it is.

During the week, business is terrible and it costs more to open than they are taking.

They have made many changes to try and turn the restaurant around.

They have tried to change the menu and even bring more chefs.

They have added a patio and advertised but still the restaurant is quiet.

They don’t know why because when he talks to customers who come and their feedback was great.

Roberts arrives and thinks that restaurant looks clean and the bar looks fine.

The only criticism that he has is that the environment seems very dark.

Robert met Bill and Gail to get some brief information about the restaurant.

The restaurant was bought in 2000 and they have struggled for a number of years.

They bought the business and the building for $225,000 with $278,000 invested in it.

With all the investment and losses they now are in $500,000 debt.

Gail is a social worker while Bill was in the engineering field.

He ventured into the business because it has always been his dream and he think that he is an excellent cook.

They don’t know why the restaurant is failing and neither does Robert as it is surrounded by homes and businesses.

He thinks it should be thriving.

Gail thinks isolation may be a factor in the restaurant's failure but Robert isn’t sure this is the problem.

Robert looks at the price list and thinks that prices might be part of the problem.

The prices on both the restaurant and bar menus are quite high.

Robert asks them about the prices and they raised them due to the pressure.

Robert goes to a busy restaurant that is located a few doors down and speaks with the customers.

The fact the restaurant is so busy confirms to Robert that the location isn’t the issue at the restaurant.

They give their reasons for eating at the restaurant.

One customers says that the food is good as is the service but the prices are too high.

He also talks to the owners about the restaurants customers.

Robert had taken a copy of the Coachlamp menu with him and shows it to the customers.

They think that the prices are too high and they also tell Robert that the restaurant isn’t popular in the area.

Robert returns to Coachlamp and speaks with Bill about the feedback from the customers of the nearby restaurant.

He speaks with their daughter Brooke, who says that they are failing as they have no idea what they are doing and are serving the wrong type of food.

Robert takes him out the front of the restaurant and some passing potential customers say they thought the restaurant was closed.

They don’t have their sign or opening hours illuminated so they had assumed the restaurant was closed.

Robert knows that they will have to work on making the curb appeal of the restaurant better.

He asks Bill to tell the kitchen to prepare the two of their bestselling items on the menu.

Robert tastes the dishes and is actually impressed with them.

Robert meets with his designers Taniya and Tom and they discuss ideas for redecorating the restaurant.

Robert shows them the outside dining area, a hidden jewel of the restaurant.

Taniya is impressed with the outside space and thinks there is great potential in this area.

The staff help to empty the restaurant and outside area ready for the design team to get to work.

Robert meets with Bill and Gail and tells them that customers don’t want white tablecloths and expensive bottled beers.

He also tells Bill that he is stubborn.

He reveals that he has planned some market research with a focus group.

Robert speaks with the focus group with Bill and Gail listening from another room.

The group tell Robert exactly what they want from a restaurant in their area.

They say that they want casual dining and an outside garden dining area.

They return to the restaurant and Robert feeds back to the designers what the group wanted from the restaurant.

Robert wants a cool and exciting grill space where people can feel comfortable.

Robert is worried that the owners may have taken the negative comments to heart.

He discusses his ideas that came from the focus group and realizes that Bill is too stubborn to accept his ideas.

Robert leaves for the day and is angry after their conversation.

The next day, Robert arrives and reflects on the previous day on the battle with the owners.

They admit they don’t know why the restaurant is failing and keep fighting Robert every step of the way.

Robert hopes that today they will listen to him and do what they need to do to get the restaurant back on track.

First, he checks in with the design team to see their progress overnight.

He was impressed with the work that they have done overnight and encourages them to keep working to meet the deadline.

The tinted windows have been replaced with clear glass so customers can see in the restaurant.

Taps have also been fitted to the bar so that they are able to serve draught beer.

Robert meets with the owners to see their frame of mind because he wasn’t sure how the first day had gone.

They have a productive talk and Robert can see that Bill wants the restaurant to succeed.

Robert takes the staff out to show off the fantastic desserts that are on offer at the restaurant.

They also promote their menu so that the locals can see everything on offer at the restaurant.

The feedback is positive and the locals say that they want to visit the restaurant and see everything on offer.

Robert heads back to the restaurant to show Bill and the kitchen staff two new dishes to add to the menu.

They enjoyed the session with Robert and love the taste of the new food when they try it.

The design team have finished in the dining room and it is time to reveal the new restaurant.

They are shown the new outdoor area and the inside of the restaurant in a double reveal.

The owners and their daughter are surprised at how much they have been able to do in so little time and with their budget.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new restaurant.

The food is a big hit with the customers with them enjoying the new dishes.

They enjoy the evening, give great feedback and promise to return to the restaurant.



What Happened Next at Coachlamp Restaurant and Pub?


A few weeks later, business is up 30% and beer and wine sales are 40% of all sales.

The locals are visiting the restaurant and they love the outdoor dining area.

Bill reveals that they will save $3000 a year by getting rid of the linen.

They have kept Roberts menu and the dishes are their top selling.

They have sold over 900 glasses of beer and a number of barrels in a matter of weeks.

Reviews after the show were mostly positive.

They rebranded, renovated and relaunched the restaurant in 2019 as they were struggling to fill the restaurant.

It is now called Brooke and Billy’s with even more casual dining and the prices are lower.

Coachlamp Restaurant and Pub was Restaurant Impossible season 7 episode 4 and aired on 13th November 2013.

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This post was last updated in May 2021.

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