Restaurant Revisited: Mumbo Jumbo at Estrada's Restaurant
When Robert Irvine arrived at Estrada's Restaurant in Daly City, Calif., it wasn't enough for his Restaurant: Impossible team that the owners, Bernadette Aggen and Julio Mercedes, were facing more than $400,000 of debt; they seemed downright disinterested in their 96-year-old restaurant, which they purchased nearly six years ago. After surveying the interior of Estrada's, however, and tasting its food, Robert learned that the Mexican eatery's problems went beyond its management. With just two days and $10,000 to work, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team successfully overhauled the menu and updated the design at Estrada's, all while reinvigorating Bernadette and Julio. Read on below to hear from the owners in their first exclusive interview since the transformation, and find out how their restaurant is doing today.
Sales at Estrada's have increased nearly 30 percent, according to Bernadette and Julio, who add that their business is now profitable and that they've begun to decrease their debt.
In terms of customer reaction to the updated restaurant, Bernadette and Julio say they've received "great feedback" about the design, and diners note that the food is "more bright, clean, new [and] modern," according to the owners. They add that "coconut shrimp posole [and] mole enchiladas" are among the top items on the menu at Estrada's, which has improved its efficiency in sending food out of the kitchen.
Bernadette and Julio say they're improving in their partnered appearance to their employees and note that their staff is a "work in progress," though responding "great" to the updates at Estrada's. Bernadette admits that she's spending "more time on [the] floor … [to] ensure great service" and "leading by example" to her employees, while Julio has a greater hand in the food costs of the restaurant.
Both owners say they're "excited about the future" and that their relationship is "more united" than it was before Robert arrived.