Al's Seafood - Restaurant Impossible Update - Open or Closed?

Restaurant Impossible Al's Seafood

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Robert Irvine visits Al’s Seafood in Essex, Maryland.

Al’s Seafood is owned by Chad and his sister Cara.

They are one of the oldest crab houses in the area.

The restaurant was opened in 1961 by their grandmother.

It was passed down to their father before being passed to the siblings.

They have some serious problems with staffing.

Their father used to take care of the financials while Chad was more hands on.

Sadly, their father passed away two years ago and the restaurant passed to him.

Chad was in over his head and Cara stepped in to help Chad.

They have about 6 months left until their family legacy may close.

Robert is sick but is determined to put all he can into helping the business.

He arrives and thinks the interior looks like an old, dark ship.

It is dirty with cobwebs and a sinking ceiling.

There are no windows which makes it seem gloomy.

Robert meets with the siblings for a brief about the restaurant.

They tell him of a mural from the 80’s that is the family history.

Chad says his father was his best friend and they had a well oiled machine that fell apart after his death.

They have invested $270,000 into the business.

They currently owe $120,000, are losing $8,000 a month and they do not pay themselves.

Robert decides to watch a lunch service.

There are 2 servers with no energy and a line forms at the door.

There are guests that are left unserved for almost 15 minutes.

Customers have complaints about the food and the 30 minute food wait times.

The servers are confused about orders and are confusing Chad and Cara in the kitchen.

Robert, calls Chad to the front of house and the guests all say they would not come back.

Only one person thinks that they had good service and food.

Robert tells Chad he has no passion and it translates to his business.

Chad is unhappy at his father being brought up and says he would smack Robert.

Robert orders some of the food from the menu and he only likes the bread.

The dishes have too much sauce, the crab is bland and the filet is tasteless.

Robert tells the siblings his feedback on the food.

The designers Taniya and Tom are brought in and they instantly notice it is dark.

They think it feels more like a basement than a boat.

Volunteers are brought in to clear out the space ready for them to get to work.

Chad and Cara pick out a few mementos to take home.

Robert speaks to staff to find out how it got so bad at the restaurant.

He tells them they are not a team and that morale is low.

They complain of their pay cheques bouncing.

Robert sits with the siblings to show them their Profit and Loss statement.

Their food costs are way too high and they check the freezer and find food stored improperly.

Robert sees lots of freezer burned food and they are all unable to be used.

Robert tells them its thousands of dollars of food that is being thrown away.

Chad stays late doing work he is paying staff to do.

He tells Chad to get angry and hit a tire so he can let out some aggression and regain his passion.

They start throwing the food away while Robert checks in with his team.

They have repainted the walls white to make the space look bigger and brighter.

He loves the progress they have made so far and goes back to the siblings to give them an assignment.

Cara is asked to figure out her role in the restaurant.

Chad is asked to put together a plan for leadership so he can fully take over the restaurant.

The next day, Robert checks in with the design team and it is looking much better.

He meets with the siblings with Cara saying she will take care of inventory and training.

Chad he presents his leadership plan to his staff, minus Wendy who has decided to quit.

Chad tells the staff what he hopes to achieve and the new direction he will be taking.

With 5 hours until the relaunch Robert shows Chad and his chef some new techniques.

They are making some quick dishes that are flavourful and will cut down on their food costs.

He shows them a seafood pie and a crab sandwich to replace the crab cake.

The restaurant starts to be put back together with the tables and chairs brought back in.

They work right up until the time for the relaunch.

Chad and Cara are taken in first and they are shocked by the changes.

They are moved to tears by the work that the team has done.

It is brighter with a nautical theme with murals and a family portrait.

They meet Taniya and Tom and thank them for what they have done.

On relaunch, the customers are let in.

Chad will move between the back of house and front of house, managing the staff.

Cara is in charge of the finances.

The customers love the food.

The food is coming out fast and is hot and flavourful.

Fifty diners are seated and served quickly.

The employees are happy and the guests think the restaurant is much better.



What Happened Next at Al's Seafood?


Two months later, it is revealed the sales are up 80%.

Chad and Cara have kept to their new roles.

The freezer is cleaned and organised once a week.

Al's Seafood is closed.

However,the closure may be temporary.

Reviews were mixed with many negative comments on food quality after Robert's visit.

Many customers weren't happy with the reduced menu on offer.

The restaurant suffered from a devastating fire in October 2020.

They began operating a limited service out of another space.

They planned to reopen at the original location in April 2022.

They have yet to reopen at the original restaurant.

Al's Seafood was Restaurant Impossible season 15 episode 11 and aired on 24th August 2019.

This post was last updated in January 2023.

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