Restaurant Ambush Revisited: Stay or Go at Ellendale's Restaurant
It's the name of the Ambush game that business owners are shocked by Robert Irvine's unexpected appearance with his Restaurant: Impossible team. What happens after that initial surprise is up to the owners themselves: Are they open to Robert's help, or are they so fearful of change that they refuse to let him make their eateries better? On tonight's brand-new episode, one owner, Julie of Nashville's Ellendale's Restaurant, nearly turned down Robert's offer of a second chance at success when he visited her restaurant unannounced. But once she came to terms with the potential for vast improvements, she readily welcomed him and his team. And it's a good thing she did, because after a few days of work, Ellendale's reopened to a full house. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Julie to see how her business is faring these days.
"Business has improved since the buzz of the show. It's up about 20 percent, which is huge to me. Before the show I was running four or five servers a night and now seven or eight," Julie admits. She adds that she's pleased with the updated design of the restaurant, as are her employees and the diners who visit the restaurant. "The staff loves taking the guests around the room and showing off the new changes. I think everyone's favorite element is the outrageously large wood beam turned into a chandelier hanging in the center of the dining room," she says.
Julie notes that diners have responded well to the menu Robert introduced and its innovative offerings. "The customers don't seem to miss my huge menu because the new menu also has a nice selection," she adds.
According to Julie, "the restaurant does seem to be running more smoothly for many reasons." She credits "management stepping up," as well as "the easy menu" and the fact that she's now "focusing more on the floor and front of house operations."
Looking back on the ambush, Julie explains, "I wanted to turn him away for quite a while, until I decided that this is what I was praying for. Once I decided Robert was a blessing, I was able to open up about struggles." She adds that after working with Robert, she learned both personal and professional lessons. "Robert taught me to not be afraid to ask for help. I learned a lot about myself and the inner workings of my business," she says.