Restaurant Impossible at Poco’s in Kansas City | O’Dell Restaurant Consulting blog

Poco's Latin restaurant

Poco’s on the Boulevard in Kansas City, MO

I took a drive by Poco’s on the Boulevard today to snap some pictures of Robert Irvine’s Restaurant Impossible crew in action. Poco’s is a Latin restaurant that is near Kansas City, Missouri’s hispanic neighborhoods, and competes with a lot of great Mexican restaurants located just down the street.

Restaurant Impossible at Poco's in Kansas City

The “rear” view of Poco’s in Kansas City, MO and the Restaurant Impossible tents

When I drove up to Poco’s I expected to see a beehive of activity. Based on the show, the two day makeover is a mad dash to get finished, with Chef Robert yelling that they’ll “never get done on time”. That’s not at all what I saw though. What I witnessed was what appeared to be an organized and calm effort, with most the people helping either sitting or standing around. No running or hurrying and no stress. At least not outside the restaurant. Behind the restaurant, I saw servers in Poco’s uniforms sitting and talking. From across the street, I couldn’t tell what they were doing, whether it was training or helping with the remodel or something else.

As a restaurant and food service consultant, I’ve always wondered what happens when the Restaurant Impossible or Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares crew leaves. The restaurant has a new look, the menu is smaller, fresher, and likely higher priced, there is a boost in business due to the publicity and the owners have a new energy to “make it work this time”. My real concern for these restaurants is what happens next. Are the owners left with their same bad habits, only to revert to what is easiest? Do they continue to cling to the old crowd of customers that wasn’t enough to keep them in business, and alienate all the new potential customers by reverting to old habits and menus? Do they have new organizational systems in place or someone teaching them what information to record and how to organize their restaurant’s data to make sure they can be successful in the long run? Is there support after the reboot?

I don’t have the answers to any of those questions, but I do know one thing. More restaurants fail as a result of bad management practices than bad food. That doesn’t mean you can plan on being successful with bad food. The food is obviously very important. It just means that having good food isn’t enough. You have to have management systems in place and a process for tracking and saving important information about your restaurant, to allow you to make better, more informed decisions. You also need to have someone to talk to that knows what successful restaurants are doing that you aren’t, outside of the food.

Restaurant Impossible in the parking lot of Poco's in Kansas City

Most of the Restaurant Impossible staff sitting outside of the restaurant

These restaurants that receive free makeovers from the likes of Robert Irvine, Gordon Ramsay, or the Restaurant Makeover show are getting an incredible gift. The type of remodels and assistance they are getting is worth many, many times the $10,000 budget these shows stick to. The publicity they are getting is absolutely priceless. I don’t expect to be able to get into Poco’s for the next month. Especially in a food crazy town like Kansas City. I just hope the makeover shows are doing something to provide these restaurants with some support after the makeover. THAT is where the battle will truly be won or lost.

Update 8/10/12 – Robert Irvine answered some of the questions raised in this article via Twitter. See his replies here.

Brandon O’Dell and O’Dell Restaurant Consulting provide marketing and operations consulting services to small and medium budget independent restaurants and small chains, and offers downloadable organizational tools on their website. Brandon also operates a home chef service in the Kansas City and Wichita, KS metropolitan areas. Visit visit and for details.

Tip Reporting Advice for Full-Service Restaurants – Restaurant Management (RMGT)

Tip Reporting Advice for Full-Service Restaurants - Restaurant Management (RMGT)

You can never get enough advice on how to keep yourself out of trouble with the IRS. Here are some “tips” for full service restaurants on what you need to be doing to track and manage your employee tip records…

Tip Reporting Advice for Full-Service Restaurants – Restaurant Management (RMGT).

For more help for your restaurant, visit

How To Interview and Hire New Workers – Restaurant Management (RMGT)

Here’s a good article from Restaurant Management Online on hiring for restaurant employees. I’m not sure I agree with the stated cost of losing an employee though. Those numbers seem exagerated to me. Either way, turnover sucks and this article has some great tips to help reduce turnover, including advice on what questions to ask in an interview. Feel free to comment on our blog about questions and tactics you’ve found useful in your interview process.

How To Interview and Hire New Workers – Restaurant Management (RMGT).

THE DAILY STAR : Pairing wine with Chinese food? Sacre bleu!

Interesting article on the website about pairing wines with Chinese food. Chinese food bring some interesting flavors to the table that may not be easy for many experienced Sommeliers to match with wines….

THE DAILY STAR :: Culture :: Lifestyle :: Shiraz with your Peking Duck or Kung Pao? Sacre bleu!.

Attacking the restaurant industry | A dangerous and inaccurate post on the Mayo Clinic website

I would like to share a very inaccurate and damaging post from the Mayo Clinic website from two dietitians, Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.

The author(s) claim that the “average” burger size in the U.S. is now 12 ounces, without toppings, the “average” fry portion being 6.7 ounces, and the “average” soda portion being 42 ounces. They may or may not have gotten their information from a CDC report they cite but don’t reference. These “averages” really represent the largest portions available in most markets and are nowhere near accurate. McDonald’s, the largest burger seller in the country, has a 2 ounce, 4 ounce and 5 ounce burger, with 2 – 4 ounce buns. The most popular pre-formed patty sizes sold through distributors are 4 ounce and 5 ounce sizes.

It’s articles like this that lead to regulations like what is being proposed in New York City by Mayor Bloomberg to limit the sizes of soft drinks available for purchase.

They wrote the article implying that restaurants might be responsible for making people eat larger portion sizes, as opposed to the real relationship between customers and restaurants of restaurants responding to customer demands and doing whatever it is that will keep customers coming through their doors so they can simply keep those doors open. This blame game starts with finger pointing and ends with the government eventually stepping in to tell you what you can and can’t sell in your restaurant, as witnessed currently with the proposed regulations in New York City. These regulations limit competition, drive up pricing and put independent restaurants out of business.

I urge all of you to comment on the Mayo Clinic article (no registration necessary) and express your disagreement with the mis-stated facts, and even urge the Mayo Clinic webmaster to take the inaccurate article down. If these statistics are actually contained in a CDC report, we need to get the National Restaurant Association involved in reviewing the study these “facts” are cited from as they are grossly inaccurate.

Here is the article, please comment:

Here is the Mayo Clinic “Contact” page to request this inaccurate article be removed:

If you are a National Restaurant Association member, contact them to ask that they look into possible damaging and inaccurate CDC reports that restaurants need amended:

Please help myself and others work to protect our industry.

Brandon O’Dell
O’Dell Restaurant Consulting

Dectiva’s Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey found shifts in spending | Nation’s Restaurant News

Shifts in total spending across restaurant segments

The Nation’s Restaurant News newsletter shares a recent study that shows spending habits of consumers flip-flopping between quick service and casual segments. During the recession, the quick service sector got a boost from tightening spending habits. Now the casual sector has retaken the majority of dining dollars. Click below for many more details…..

Dectiva’s Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey found shifts in spending | Nation’s Restaurant News

Gov’t. offers guidelines for health-care cost reporting – NRA News Blog

The following article from the National Restaurant Association goes over some of the new reporting requirements for restaurants in regards to the new healthcare law. Give it a read….

Gov’t. offers guidelines for health-care cost reporting – NRA News Blog

For help in your restaurant, visit and check out our blog at for tons of great articles.

What restaurant operators need to know about QR codes | Marketing content from Restaurant Hospitality


Great article on about using QR codes in restaurants. It doesn’t take a marketing genius or expensive software to create QR codes. Google and many other companies offer free QR code generators. The one from Google is very easy to use. You select whether you are creating a code for a web address, telephone number, or whatever other piece of “cell phone friendly” format QR codes are used for, you type in the information, and hit a button. Google creates the QR code, then you save it just like any file, print it, attach it, or do whatever you want to with it. Read the accompanying article to see how QR codes can be best utilized in restaurants…

What restaurant operators need to know about QR codes | Marketing content from Restaurant Hospitality

Food trucks move from the streets to the parties with catering services

Food trucks are an increasingly popular way for chefs and owners to break into the restaurant business without breaking the bank, especially as municipalities continue to ease food codes to accomodate the food truck movement. There is, however, a great opportunity for existing restaurants to greatly expand their catering services without putting extra stress on their restaurant kitchen, by expanding through the use of food trucks. The following article from is on the growing trend of parties being catered from food trucks.

Food trucks move from the streets to the parties with catering services.

Chefs Use Farmers Market Products to Boost Menus – Restaurant Management (RMGT)

Is your restaurant taking advantage of your local farmer’s markets to source local produce? Why or why not? Check out the following article to see how other chefs are using farmer’s markets to drive the menus in their restaurants.

Chefs Use Farmers Market Products to Boost Menus – Restaurant Management (RMGT).