Restaurant Impossible - SEVEN - CLOSED

SEVEN Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits SEVEN in Laporte, Indiana.

SEVEN is owned by Chad and his fiancée Tonya James.

They bought the restaurant about a year-and a half ago.

The restaurant was named in honour of their seven children between them and their blended family.

Years ago, Tonya was a server at the restaurant until the restaurant was put up for sale.

Chad initially did not agree with his fiancée on the decision to buy the restaurant.

After more discussion they bought the restaurant as they thought it had the potential to provide for the family and their children.

The restaurant however has not strengthened their family as they had hoped it would.

Chad handles the back of house while Tonya looks after the front of house.

The restaurant was doing well at first but now they are losing $5000 a month.

The customers declined and they started to lose their staff too.

The chefs left and Tonya’s son Jake runs the kitchen but he is only 19 and is inexperienced.

The restaurant is causing issues in the their family relationships and not bringing them together as it should.

The restaurant will close in a matter of months if something doesn’t change.

Robert arrives at the restaurant and thinks that it looks like a church.

There are large stained glass windows and giant columns that don’t belong there.

The walls are also dark so the space is dark and it doesn’t seem like a restaurant.

Robert brands the restaurant as hideous to the surprise of the owners.

He meets with the owners for a brief and to discuss the restaurant.

Tonya’s only experience in the industry was seven years as a bartender and server.

She has no experience of managing a restaurant and doesn’t know food or labour costs.

Chad’s experience is in finance and he has no restaurant experience at all.

They believe that the restaurant is failing as they are not correctly running the kitchen.

They reveal that they had a chef but he got burned out and left so her son took over the kitchen.

The couple put in $160,000 to the business, Chad put in $150,000 and Tonya put in $10,000.

Chad’s house is tied to the restaurant so if it fails then he will lose his house too.

Chad feels trapped because of the stress and money issues.

Robert asks to see a service to find out what the issues are at the restaurant.

During the service the kitchen is behind as they are short staffed for the number of customers.

The food takes a long time to leave the kitchen and it isn’t long before they are behind.

One dish nearly leaves the kitchen with brown lettuce on it.

Tonya isn’t stepping up, is running around like a headless chicken and is performing poorly as a manager.

There is chaos amongst the servers as they are all left waiting for food for their tables.

Jake collapses in the kitchen due to the pressure of having to cook for so many customers.

Robert asks Jake to cook four different dishes to see how he cooks whilst cooking for just one person.

The dishes both look and taste awful and Robert isn’t impressed.

Robert speaks with Jake and Tonya and tells them that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a restaurant chef.

If he is to be able to turn around the restaurant they will need a qualified chef in the kitchen.

Tonya isn’t managing well and Robert is questioning whether it is because she has so little invested compared to Chad.

Robert meets with his design team Lynn and Tom and they discuss ideas for transforming the restaurant.

The staff and their children help to remove everything from the restaurant so that the design team are ready to get to work.

Robert does an exercise with the staff and it is clear that the staff don’t think Tonya is a good manager.

They don’t think that she has done enough to make the restaurant a success.

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

He is pleased with the progress that they have made so far in the dining room and tells them to hurry to finish the redesign on time.

The next day, Robert arrives and Chad has arrived with some strong opinions on the events of the previous day.

He thinks Robert has got things wrong and is defensive of Tonya and the way she manages the restaurant.

Robert confronts him and puts him straight.

He asks the design team to stop as he doesn’t want to go any further until he knows that the owners are on board and are ready to change.

They tell Robert that they are ready for his changes.

Robert tells them that he will solve their biggest problem, that they don’t have an experienced chef.

In the meantime he teaches Jake the menu until they are able to find a chef to take over.

Next, he shows them how to control their food costs and teaches Tonya how to be on top of this.

He asks the design team to continue now that he can see that they really are on board with learning from him and improving the restaurant.

Robert checks in with the designers and despite the poor weather overnight they were able to lay the new floor.

He likes what they have done so far and encourages them to meet the deadline for relaunch.

They don’t have enough time to hire a chef so Robert works with Jake in the kitchen.

He creates some simple dishes that they can create in the kitchen and with the level of skill that Jake has in the kitchen.

They enjoy creating the dishes and they all taste them and think they are just what the restaurant needs.

After cooking session they feel ready for the relaunch later in the day.

Robert goes out into the community to get them behind the restaurant.

They need the locals to come to the restaurant after he leaves if they have any chance of turning the restaurant into a success.

Robert uses the couples seven children to serve food to local bloggers, radio presenters and TV presenters to promote the restaurant.

The restaurant renovation is finished but with an hour to go Jake is struggling with the looming relaunch.

Robert gives him a pep talk and works with him on his confidence by getting him to step up to him.

The new restaurant is revealed to the owners and the family and they over overwhelmed with what the designers were able to achieve.

There are new floor and tables and the room has been brightened with lighter accents.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new restaurant.

The food is a big hit and the customers promise to return.



What Happened Next at SEVEN?


A few weeks later, Tonya reveals that they tripled their sales in the first week.

Their sales were doubling in the weeks after this.

They kept Robert's menu but added a few popular dishes to the lunch menu.

They have hired a new chef and Jake is still cooking alongside him.

Seven closed in September 2014.

The restaurant was put up for sale in November 2013.

SEVEN was Restaurant Impossible season 7 episode 6 and aired on 27th November 2013.

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Previous episode - Georgia Boy Cafe

This post was last updated in June 2021.

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