Nine aspiring restaurateurs arrive in Las Vegas, where they meet Chef Robert Irvine and the Restaurant Express Bus. In order to secure one of the eight spots on board, they must first pitch their dream restaurant concept to Robert: Those with the best concepts head into Lake Las Vegas for the first challenge. They'll have to create a restaurant from the ground up with just $500 and six hours to feed 250 hungry guests! The bottom three earners will be up for elimination.
The Restaurant Express bus arrives in Temecula, Calif., a small, upscale town with lots of restaurants. The contestants' market knowledge is tested when they must propose to Robert and the mayor a new restaurant that they think could be successful in the town. The winner of the mini challenge will get extra money for the main challenge, where they will test their restaurant ideas on the locals at a lunch fair. The bottom three earners will be up for elimination.
The Restaurant Express bus arrives in Los Angeles, where the contestants face their first group challenge. Inspired by Restaurant: Impossible, the teams will be given 24 hours and $5,000 to revitalize two struggling restaurants. Robert and two visiting critics will dine at each location to determine who won this round, and who will be off the bus.
The Restaurant Express bus arrives at the iconic Balboa Pier in New Beach, Calif. The remaining five contestants will each have to open a concession stand with the same three dishes; a burger, a dessert and something on a stick. They also must produce a commercial for their stand. The contestant with the best commercial gets to have their ad play on the pier, but will that marketing advantage be enough to draw the most customers?
The remaining four contestants are given their biggest budget challenge: create a supper club with $1,000 and an empty restaurant shell. They first attend an auction with items that could be a big benefit during dinner service, challenging them to spend wisely for an advantage, with enough money left over for food and supplies.
The three remaining chefs are each given a food truck and are challenged on their ability to serve specific groups of diners at three iconic locations: a zoo, an upscale shopping center and a late night bar scene. The winner gets a big advantage heading into the final challenge.
The Restaurant Express bus arrives at the final location: The M Resort in Las Vegas, where the winner will open their very own restaurant! The last two chefs standing will be given a budget of $5,000 and must create a restaurant fit for the resort. They must design their restaurant, create their menu and impress not only 100 diners, but also Robert and two M Resort executives. The chef with the best overall concept and execution will win Restaurant Express!