Casa Real - Restaurant Impossible Update - Open or Closed?

Restaurant Impossible Casa Real

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Robert Irvine visits Casa Real in Loveland, Colorado.

Casa Real is owned by Alma and Ritchie Ponce.

They are mother and son.

Ritchie’s parents opened it in the 1990s.

Ritchie works in the kitchen and he pushes fresh ideas and changes but his mother baulks at them.

Stalling change has affected the business with a lot of money invested and lost.

They do not have any money left and do not get paid.

Robert comes in and he sees the place is worn from the walls to the furnishings.

There is a mismatch of furnishings too with no central theme and dirty floors.

Robert meets with the pair and they tell their story.

At some point, Ritchie was working a good job in oil and gas but had a calling to be an entrepreneur.

Robert is shocked to find out that over $400,000 has been invested in the business.

However, they do not own the building or even pay themselves.

They have turned no profit and they do not keep track of the numbers.

Service begins so Robert can observe them at work.

There is no front-of-house manager.

Alma is serving and Ritchie is in the kitchen.

The staff are rotated from bartender to server etc.

There are modern POS systems but the processes are bad.

Customers are left waiting for over half an hour for food.

Robert looks through the inventory and sees ribs even though they are a Mexican restaurant.

Ritchie explains he runs 7 virtual kitchens and it is too much for Robert to take in.

He sits to taste from the menu and the virtual kitchen.

The burrito is wet and soggy, the refried beans are too soft, and the fajitas taste plasticky.

For the virtual kitchen food, only the chicken nuggets taste good.

Robert gives them feedback and they are not happy.

He is perplexed as to how Ritchie cannot keep on top of the restaurant but runs several virtual kitchens.

Ritchie claims the financials make sense but he does not keep proper records.

Alma was not in support of the decision but she went with Ritchie on it.

Ritchie admits he was driven by the fear of failure that's why he branched out and he wants to live his life.

Robert tells them they need to be owners for the place to work well.

Robert brings in his designer and builder, Lynn and Tom.

They agree with Robert about the chairbacks and plan to work with them.

They all agree on the changes needed and then have volunteers come in to empty the space.

Alma and Ritchie are scared to see the place empty.

Robert takes some time to look at the financials and shows Alma and Ritchie that they are in a worse state than just losing money.

The virtual kitchens are losing them $5000 a month rather than bringing in income.

They have to focus on one thing so they can improve the quality.

They agree to get rid of the virtual kitchens.

Robert has them and the staff work on the new menu that can be their signature.

By the end of the day, the space is already looking different as work has started.

Robert leaves Alma and Ritchie homework to look at their top-selling items and work out the costs.

The next day, Robert meets with Alma and Ritchie and they have done their homework.

Ritchie is surprised to see the results.

Robert is happy to see the space as the arches are gone which opens it up.

The chairs have been redone and the walls are a different colour.

A lot of work has been done overnight.

Robert has the owners tackle the lack of leadership and distinct roles.

They both agree to put staff into roles, Ritchie takes the lead and shares some news with the chef.

They will be hiring a new executive chef to lead the kitchen.

Robert takes the owners into the kitchen and they make some dishes with Mexican twists.

They make Calamari Tacos and Carne Asada.

The team meanwhile work very hard to finish up the renovations and finish just in time.

Robert takes them in and they see their new restaurant.

It is upscale, fresher with cool colours and a warm ambience.

It is open with more character.

They are especially surprised to see how the old chairs are now one long bench.

They love all the changes.

Alma happily lets in the waiting customers.

On relaunch, the regulars love the changes to the decor and menu.

Robert's culinary team step into the kitchen to help.

Ticket times are 8 minutes or less which is good.

The systems are running well with Ritchie managing all aspects and Alma taking care of guests.

Everyone is happy, and Ritchie and Alma are hopeful for the future.



What Happened Next at Casa Real?


Since the visit, sales have gone up 20%.

Alma and Ritchie are enjoying their new roles.

They have a new executive chef they are happy with.

They returned to their old menu but raised the prices.

Casa Real is open.

The reviews are mostly positive and the criticisms seem to be on service.

Casa Real is Restaurant Impossible season 20 episode 6 and aired on 30th September 2021.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Next episode - The Breakfast Place

Previous episode - KC's BBQ

This post was last updated in July 2023.

1 comment:

  1. It is a shame to hear the restaurant is not doing well. My wife and I love Casa Real and will continue dine there. The menu is moderately priced and the food and service are great.

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