Restaurant Impossible - Incredible Cafe Update - Open or Closed?

Restaurant Impossible Incredible Cafe

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Robert Irvine visits Incredible Cafe in San Diego, California.

Incredible Cafe is owned by Liz.

She has owned the restaurant for more than 20 years.

They currently serve breakfast and lunch.

Her family have restaurant businesses back in her home country of South Korea.

Liz has always worked in the restaurant business in her fathers restaurants.

She was motivated to have her own restaurant after her father died.

His restaurants were passed to his sons, overlooking her.

She was a single mom when she started the restaurant.

Her business was impacted when a franchise restaurant opened close by.

Liz has a new husband Don and they are both in debt.

Don invested $175,000 into the restaurant to keep it open.

They both sold their houses to stay afloat.

Liz has taken out credit cards and her debts are at $140,000 with her credit maxed out.

Robert finds out that the cafe is in a mall with some foot traffic.

He looks inside and thinks there is so much wrong with the design.

There are also some dirty dishes left on display.

Liz comes out to meet Robert and they talk about the finances.

They lost $30,000 in the previous year.

Liz thinks it is the new restaurant and her anger issues that is causing her business to fail.

Robert has people come in so he can watch their service.

The servers are taking too many orders and wait too long to put in orders in.

This ends up bombarding the kitchen with multiple orders all at once.

The cook Jose is overwhelmed with having to cook so much food all at once.

The customers are left waiting for almost an hour for their food.

Robert has a walk-through the kitchen and it is all dirty.

The kitchen, freezer, fridge and the microwave all need to be cleaned.

He shuts the kitchen down and refuses to serve food out as it is a health hazard.

After the customers leave, he orders for their top selling dishes including a BLT and eggs benedict.

He decides not to taste the food due to the state of the kitchen but wants to see the plating and appearance.

All of the food has something wrong with it from cold dishes to greasy meals.

On giving Liz feedback, she is uninterested because she has lost her passion.

Robert gets her to throw some plates to get her to feel something.

After breaking the plates she tears up as she feels some relief.

Robert meets with his design team of Tom and Taniya to discuss plans for the decor of the restaurant.

They are confused by the decor and feel like a lot of hideous decisions have been made in the space.

They plan to open it up and remove a half wall that serves no purpose.

All the furnishings are cleared out and the restaurant is emptied.

Liz is sorry to see it go as she has changed nothing in 20 years.

The team pull down the half wall and hit a snag.

It could put them back by days but they quickly find a work around.

Robert takes Liz to meet with her staff to work out their differences.

They say that Liz is aggressive, takes things personal and puts them on edge.

He makes her see her fault in the interactions with them.

The cleaning of the kitchen started as soon as the design team started work.

After several hours, they are still not finished with the deep clean.

They are still painting in the main area and they have one day until relaunch.

Jose tells the team he is not a cleaner and refuses to clean.

He leaves and says he may not come to work the next day.

The next day, Robert meets with Liz and her husband.

He takes them on a trip to the Korean supermarket.

Liz is excited as she shops there for her family.

She says that Korean food was not popular when she first started.

She did not think of offering Korean dishes at her restaurant as the cuisine became more popular.

Robert tells her it is time she tries to infuse Korean themes into the new menu.

Robert takes Liz back to meet her team so they can learn to communicate properly.

Liz is directing her blindfolded staff to a table to make a banana ice cream desert.

She learns to be more specific and direct while being calm and giving praise.

The kitchen has finally been cleaned and the other work is progressing.

Jose has not come to work so Robert has to call for some local chefs in the area.

In the restaurant, they are working on the wall design and the floor has been painted to look like a carpet.

Liz manages to convince Jose to meet with her as he has been at the restaurant 20 years with her.

She promises to get him help in the kitchen and Jose is back on board.

Robert gets him in the newly cleaned kitchen to demonstrate the Korean inspired dishes.

Liz loves the taste of the new dishes and Jose promises he can make them.

The team hurries to finish up the renovations and Robert takes in the couple to see the new space.

They see it is brighter and open with a cohesive design that is inviting.

Liz is moved to tears and is excited, dancing in the dining room.

Her two daughters are brought in afterwards and they point out all they love in the new restaurant.

Tom and Taniya meet the family and receive thanks from them for the beautiful redesign.

The servers and the kitchen are quickly prepping while Liz lets in customers.

On relaunch, the customers love the new look.

They are also happy ordering from the new menu.

The servers are taking one order at a time so Jose has enough time to work through it all.

Liz is communicating much better with her staff.

The customers love the new dishes.

They have nothing but positive things to say and promise to come back again.

Liz is happy and praising Jose while the staff cheer him on.



What Happened Next at Incredible Cafe?


Two months later, it is revealed sales are up 50%.

Full time kitchen staff were hired to help Jose.

Liz has a new attitude and outlook.

Incredible Cafe is open.

The reviews are mostly positive after Robert visited.

There are negative reviews on the lack of atmosphere at certain times and being charged different prices than on the menu.

Incredible Cafe was Restaurant Impossible season 14 episode 3 and aired on 4th May 2019.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Next episode - Copper Steer Steakhouse

Previous episode - Filomena's Italian Kitchen and Market

This post was last updated in December 2022.

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