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Next Great Restaurant No Spoilers

I just have to say that most of them are wrong with giving people a choice. If you ever been to McDonalds and watch people take 5 minutes to order from a menu thats been pretty much the same for 20 yrs, having them choice from 20-30-40 ingredints is not going to make it.

I agree with the reason they kicked off the person who left.

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  1. I've watched the furst two episodes, mostly because I wasn't watching or doing anything else. I don't care enough to have a favorite, but I find the taco guy and meatball guy annoying.

    9 Replies
    1. re: John E.

      If I were a betting man, I think the winner is going to be the meatball guy.

      1. re: monku

        I think a lot of it depends on what hoops they make them jump through for the sake of television. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy that won't screw up along the way somwhow.

        1. re: John E.

          He's got a likeable personality, but his idea and none of those ideas aren't unique enough to be the Next Great Restaurant in my opinion.

          1. re: monku

            "Likeable personality"? His personality his why I don't care for him. That and his idea is a little weak. He needs more than meatballs. I'm no prude, but I think the name he came up with is lame and not an asset to a restaurant.

            1. re: John E.

              I'm sure the "investors" will nix the name shortly.

              1. re: monku

                Actually, they asked the people eating there and they all liked it, found no problems with it. Of course, that could be the Elves up to their old tricks.

                1. re: Phaedrus

                  Those people were not asked to invest their money however. Stone seemed a little perplexed on the issue.

              2. re: John E.

                I dunno. The name to me seems like it may be just lame and titillating enough to not offend too many customers, yet still out there enough to get lots of extra free press when (if) he expands into new markets.

                1. re: Cherveny

                  I just think it is lame. The investors seem to agree. This guy's prospects don't seem that good after tonight. His concept seems very similar to Fazoli's.

      2. tonight i figured out the real upside to my not getting cast on the show - it spared my family and friends from having to waste their time watching such crappy TV. pure dreck.

        5 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Oh yeah, they would have made you or anyone else look bad in some way. They made the chefs look bad last night. And giving someone hours to come up with a logo. I've been working on mine for months. The right thing to do is have them make three and ask the people which one they liked the best as well as the food.

          I also wonder how long they had to work with the chefs. Something like this doesn't happen in a day. The Indian guy is going to have to look long and hard to find the right chef.

          Also when does the mentoring start. You can have somoone who needs help but gets put off because they don't have everything in place because of lack of knowledge.

          1. re: Just Plain Craig

            re: making people look bad, that was the primary reason i considered not even going to the casting - i didn't want to ruin my reputation thanks to bad editing or contrived drama, and i was concerned about the way it might impact my family as well.

            the logo situation was ridiculous - i spent weeks working with a graphic designer to develop one for my first company, and they came up with numerous options...i have to wonder how much effort some of these contestants have *really* put into thinking about their concepts. for me, logo and brand identity was a huge element even from the beginning. in fact, i wanted to nail that down before anything else! most of the logos last night were pretty pathetic, and you can't blame the designers - the contestants need to have the vision in the first place, and *communicate* what they want the designers to do.

            i think my biggest challenge would have been trusting one of those chefs to execute my recipes the way i wanted them to.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              You're right about the food. Good food will help anyone to not be eliminated in situations like this. The stir fry person served bad rice instead of stir fry. She could have been eliminated. The wings and waffles guy served gumbo instead of wings and waffle. The difference was they liked his gumbo.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I can't eat a "logo"....it has nothing to do with what I want to eat.

                1. re: monku

                  i get that, but in a market that's already so saturated, you still need brand identity to differentiate you from the gazillion other fast food & fast-casual outlets in existence.

          2. I DVRed the first episode and I had somewhat high hopes for the show because it had gotten some decent reviews. The review had said that the investors had done a lot of work with the constestants on how to start a restaurant. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I think by far the most disappointing thing was that they didn't actually implement their visions and the selection of the chef to meet the challenge was so serendipitous was very disappointing.

            1. A Little FYI, Needless to say I was very upset about the knucklehead from Big Wangs. I wrote on here and Yelp. My "review" on yelp was removed because someone complained but when I checked there must have 20 -30 negative "reviews" commenting on his remarks on the show for all his restaurants. Then I googles Big Wangs Racist and there are quite a few articles about him. From LA to NYC.
              Do I feel good that this guy was exposed, YES, are there others outthere YES. But its one less. Sadly the only true victims are the employees who will most likely lose thier job when the places close up.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Just Plain Craig

                According to Yelp's TOS, reviews must actually be about one's actual experience with a place and not pontificating about things like the beliefs of the owners and whatnot. That's why it would have been removed.

              2. i honestly think the best idea to make the next chipotle is the wok concept. however, i think she has the wrong idea with it. i picture it set up very similar to chipotle but with fresh asian ingredients and screamin hot woks lined up where you are normally building your burrito. walk up, tell them which ingredients you want in your stir fry, and they wok it right there for you. itd be delicious and fresh and totally possible since stir frys go so fast.

                with that said, i think the grilled cheese guy could be the dark horse here. really, whats not to love about a gourmet grilled cheese?

                10 Replies
                1. re: mattstolz

                  I thought her stir fry concept was just as you described? I just think she was overwhelmed with the thought of 1,000 servings and so she choked and made bad rice. 

                  Her concept is already being done as the Mongolian grill/bbq. I think of that in the same way as spaghetti with meatballs/sauce. You can't get the latter in Italy and you can't get the former in Mongolia. (Ok, I read somewhere that BD's opened up a Mongolian Grill in Ulaanbaatar).

                  There already are a few grilled cheese only restaurants out there as well. He might have a better way of doing it, who knows?

                  1. re: John E.

                    from her description in the first episode it sounded like she wanted to have everything pre-woked and stir it all together when the customer orders it.

                    and honestly, if you look enough i think you will be able to find any of these concepts in play SOMEWHERE. unique eats has done a show (the comfort foods show) on a place that serves only meatballs, every sandwich place and their neighbor serves wraps, bbq and soul food joints are a dime-a-dozen, there are several curry-themed restos that i know of, and muscle-maker grill is starting to expand with their healthy foods menus.

                    1. re: John E.

                      There already are a few grilled cheese only restaurants out there as well.
                      i was talking to a friend about this the other day. not only is there already one in NYC, but another one in Manhattan went under pretty quickly. *and* the one that opened in the Culver City neighborhood of LA last year didn't last 6 months. *and* Eric Greenspan from the Foundry Restaurant in LA is apparently already working to open a grilled cheese place in Hollywood. *and* we've already got the Grilled Cheese Truck here in LA...so considering that NYC & Hollywood are 2 of the 3 locations for the grand opening of the winner's restaurants, i just don't see it happening for him.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        yeah ive seen talk of greenspans grilled cheeses, but i also doubt that these two places would be in similar price brackets.

                        1. re: mattstolz

                          good point - i do recall reading that he was considering making it ultra-casual, more like a stand than a restaurant...but i'm sure the food and the prices will still be a cut above what this guy on ANGR wants to do.

                      2. re: John E.

                        A concept restaurant in the southeast called Wok Hay is growing because it's a (duh) wok and your choice of ingredients. If you're in or around Knoxville, we're the epicenter of Wok Hay.

                      3. re: mattstolz

                        When your cooking fresh you need more chefs/cooks to keep up. If it takes someone 3-5 mins to cook and order during a lunch rush say you have 30 people in line at one time. You would need 6 cooks to get those people out in 5 mins. 3 cooks your looking at 8-10 mins of a 30 min lunch break. Even if you have an hour, you want time to relax not wait in line. Stand in the kitchen and wait 8-10 mins for your wife or husband to cook dinner. Don't sit, just stand and wait. It seems like forever. I never been to Chiptole so I don't know how it works. I do know restaurants looks 3 things, Food cost, employee hours and utilities. The first thing cut are hours.

                        Right now their looking at the food. I don't see many people looking at the system. Maybe in future episodes.

                        1. re: Just Plain Craig

                          i was picturing a line of like 5 or 6 woks anyways. if youve never been to chipotle during a lunch rush though, its pretty normal to wait 10 minutes or so for a burrito. if you get a oven-roasted sub at subway, you sub will easily take 3-5 minutes to make, a philly cheese at greatsteak will take a few minutes to grill, ... etc.

                          1. re: mattstolz

                            In a quick service restaurant 5 minutes isn't a bad wait. But the problem you get into is, lets say the lunch rush only last 2 hours 12-2. before 12 your doing 30% od capicity and after lunch your doing 40%. Alot of places die between 3 and 5. The issues is having enough cooks to handle the rush, but still keep labor down. What are those 5-6 cooks going to do after lunch rush. The biggest problem I had managing a busy Wendys was controlling labor cost. 5-6 cooks, 2 cashiers, a dining room person, maybe 2 people putting orders together and at least one manage. 12 people. Thats alot of money to pay when nothing is going on.

                            1. re: Just Plain Craig

                              well its not my concept so i dunno,

                              but id imagine if youre gunna use fresh veg and such youd blow through alot of it at lunch and need alot for dinner, so thats a decent amount of prep work?

                      4. I enjoyed the first episode, but the 2nd didn't entertain me as much. I may tune in, but it isn't compelling enough to care much if I miss a week. I went to a make-your-own stir fry (well, pick your ingredients & give to the grill guy) place and liked it. If the fast-food version really had fresh veggies, I'd be interested in that one.

                        1. Am I the only one that thought that Hicks looked like the thing I most wanted to eat?

                          I like the chicken & waffles guy. I probably would dig the tacos. I don't have much use for the rest, what I *don't* want is some stupid "healthy fast food" joint. If I want to eat healthy, I can do that on my own quite easily. I *never* walk into a fast food, quick food, whatever you want to call it and say, "Ya know, I want a healthy wrap"

                          14 Replies
                          1. re: jgg13

                            what I *don't* want is some stupid "healthy fast food" joint.
                            so because it doesn't appeal to you it's stupid?

                            we all have our preferences, and some of us would actually prefer to have more healthy options than just the one or two lame default salads you see on every menu these days. of course i can - and always do - make healthy food at home. but that doesn't do me much good when i'm *not home.*

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              I personally view them as stupid, yes. As you say, we all have our preferences. Based on visual & concept, I personally preferred what was offered up by Hicks more than just about anyone else in that challenge.

                              From where I'm sitting right now, it's *far* easier for me to get something more on the healthy side than the indulgent side in terms of quick eats. It seems that every new option given to me is trending towards the healthy (e.g. there was a food truck competition to put a new food truck near where I work, one of the stipulations was that it must be semi-healthy). Blech. I want indulgent options.

                              1. re: jgg13

                                well, dismissing something as "stupid" merely because you wouldn't choose it for yourself is, IMO, rather childish. and if you really believe these places offer *more* healthy options than processed calorie- and sodium-laden crap, then the fast food joints you patronize must exist in an alternate universe.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Let's just say that there are several places for me to get a salad, "healthy wrap", or whatever between myself and the closest mcdonalds.

                                  I view the push to have everything be healthied up as being "stupid". If there's really a market demand for it, great. But it largely feels as it's being pushed - e.g. the food truck example I mentioned earlier.

                                  1. re: jgg13

                                    we can agree to disagree on this one, as many of us often do here on CH :) i. for one, absolutely believe there's a market demand for it. there's been nothing but the opposite for so long, we could use a little 'healthy' competition out there. the bottom line is that it's not going to cannibalize the business of places that appeal to someone like you, but could provide much-needed options for someone like me...so the way i see it, everybody wins. and it's not like EVERY idea on the show (or being developed in the "real world") has a healthy focus. in fact, the majority of ideas chosen for the competition appear to be standard "indulgent" or fried/heavy fast food.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      "appeal to someone like you"

                                      I actually do go into the healthy options, I just look around and feel that everything is moving in that direction and it annoys me because I also want the indulgent. I suppose that Limbo place is the one I should be rooting for then ;)

                                      1. re: jgg13

                                        perfect! see, we *can* compromise after all :)

                            2. re: jgg13

                              pre-processed, pre-frozen, "hash brown" casserole. THAT was what you wanted to eat?? no thanks.

                              i think the fusion tacos are a good idea. its been done with korean food, but id be down to try italian, german, etc tacos. would probably be delicious

                              1. re: mattstolz

                                It was more the sausage/bacon. I've done similar things at home (e.g. cheese & chile stuffed hot dog, wrapped in bacon, deep fried, battered, deep fried) and always liked them.

                                If the taco guy wasn't being presented as such a jackwagon, he'd probably be my favorite. Right now it's the W3 guy and the Hicks couple.

                                1. re: jgg13

                                  i wish he woulda picked a different name. its almost exactly the same as BW3's

                                  1. re: mattstolz

                                    agreed. I think his name, logo, etc have been kind of dumb so far. I'm always interested in more options for chix & waffles, and based on their reaction to his gumbo I'm guessing other stuff is good too. Plus, I like the story of him being on hard luck, from detroit, etc.

                                    1. re: mattstolz

                                      How is the name the same? One is Buffalo Wild Wings and the other is Wood's Waffles & Wings. There is exactly one word that is the same, wings.

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        because i dont know many people that call it buffalo wild wings. everyone i know calls it BW3's

                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                          Where did the third 'W' go? Even though their headquarters are about 10 miles from me, by the time they got to Minnesota it was named Buffalo Wild Wings and I was unaware until recently that it usd to be called BW3. And since it is no longer called that, it might be a positive thing for there to be a little confusion.

                              2. Just some random observations after watching the first two episodes -

                                - Meltworks has the best logo. Grilled cheese are good but not the most filling. A single grilled cheese sandwich won't fill me up and if it costs like 5 bucks, it's not something I'd buy. A $3 grilled cheese where I could get two, would be what I would look for. This is still the one I would be most eager to try, because grilled cheese sandwiches amazing.

                                - Any "fast food" chain that lets customers pick their ingredients is doomed to failure. People take long enough as it is staring at menus, nobody will wait in those lines as people are trying to pick ingredients from a list. It's also a nightmare for the chef(s) in back, and, lets be honest, fast food requires low-wage labor and this concept is not something I would entrust some high school kid to cook.

                                - I think there's a huge market out there for Indian fast food, but Tiffin Box doesn't seem like it has the right formula to bring Indian food to the masses. I only got introduced to Indian food about 4 years ago and I'd eat it almost every day if I could, but the only places around are mid-to-high end sit-down restaurants. They need to to find a handful of signature dishes to associate with the mainstream American palette (like Chinese food and broccoli beef/sweet and sour pork/Mongolian beef/chow mein/fried rice) and make it fast and flavorful.

                                - Chicken wings are oversaturated with WingStop and Buffalo Wild Wings nationally and almost every major pizza chain offering wings as well. They need to do something to really differentiate themselves.

                                - The heaven/hell concept just seems like an awful idea. Have no idea what kind of food it would serve.

                                - Meatballs are tasty and a great idea but impossible to eat to-go and there's a high risk of clothing splatter which for me does play a role at times when deciding what to eat during my lunch break at work.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: Bunson

                                  Agreed on all counts.

                                  On the point with the grilled cheese - there's a quick service grilled cheese place not too far from me, but it's just so freaking expensive. Sandwich + small cup of sup + drink was over $10 IIRC. Ridiculous.

                                  1. re: Bunson

                                    I like the idea of the tiffin box. I remember an old episode of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, the BBC version, where he turned a nice little trade for an Indian restaurant by offering a quick and tasty tiffin box for lunch as a cheap intro to the restaurant and make a quick buck.

                                    Along similar lines, I think too many choices will kill all of the restaurants. People want choices but they don't know what to do with their choices, worst of all, they mot likely will hate their choices: contrasting tasts and textures and then they will attribute their own silly decisions on the restaurant, its a lose-lose.

                                    1. re: Bunson

                                      i fee like the pick your ingredients concept is pretty common nowdays:
                                      Marble Slab
                                      Pita Pit

                                      the list goes on and on!

                                      1. re: Bunson

                                        "- Any "fast food" chain that lets customers pick their ingredients is doomed to failure. "

                                        Say what? Have you stopped and taken a look at all the burrito chains and sandwich chains that are successful?

                                        1. re: LurkerDan

                                          ...and all the tossed-to-order salad places in NYC, which seem to do more lunch business than most other outlets.

                                          1. re: LurkerDan

                                            Let me try to clarify a bit - all the successful pick-your-ingredients places only require someone to grab a pair of tongs or serving spoon and put said ready-to-eat ingredient in a serving vessel. The only "cooking" involved is toasting or mixing something. It's all set up so that even though a customer is picking their ingredients the process from start to finish is fast and done in a way where every franchise will give you a uniform product at the end.

                                            The one exception I can think of is Mongolian BBQ but there you're just throwing everything into a bowl and the cook just dumps the entire contents of the bowl onto a giant flattop.

                                            If you've seen proper stir-fry you can't do that. Your bean sprouts will cook faster than your carrots which cook faster than your chicken. You're going to need a skilled chef at each wok station unless everything is pre-cooked/par-cooked or cut in a size where everything can be cooked for the same length of time by anyone, except instead of throwing it onto a giant flattop you're throwing it into a giant wok.

                                            I'm just having a hard time envisioning how the customer/wok chef interface is going to be set up that will make this "fast food". If the customer calls out ingredients on the fly while someone is at a wok station you risk overcooking/burning. If you use a ticketing system you're going to have chefs reading tickets with a fairly large list of ingredients that can wildly differ from one customer to the next. Maybe the WOK people have a system worked out but that remains to be seen.

                                            1. re: Bunson

                                              Check out stir crazy. They've been wokking for years. However, it's not fast food; you have to wait 10 to 20 mins on line to pick your ingredients and have them cooked.

                                              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                10-20 mins is not quick service which means under 5-7 mins from order to service. QSR restaurants usually have three times a day to make money. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. You have to have at least 2 of the 3 to be successful. Thats one reason Wendys is looking at breakfast again. Spending more then 5-7 mins in line during lunch will kill a restaurant. When I took over a Wendys we had lousey service times and lousey lunch business. As service improved so did business. Dinner you can take you time but people WILL NOT wait in line looking at someone cook thier food for 10 mins. And once you have table service, your no longer QSR, which gets into other complications.

                                                I think one problem is the judges keep saying QSR when I don't think they really mean it. I've never been to Chiptole or Flays place. I guess they wait for thier food to be cooked and number to be called. If you ever read articles about Five Guys the owner says they are not fast food. He tells you that you will have to wait and its worth it. Even though many people place them in the QSR catagory because they don't have wait staff.

                                              2. re: Bunson

                                                "maybe the WOK people have a system worked out..."

                                                haha have ya watched the show yet?

                                                she has less idea about her concept than just about anyone else there

                                          2. it will be the TIffin Indian guy..

                                            it is the "new Pi wie"

                                            but I am disappointed in this show. It isn't about cooking. It isn't about finding a great restaurant. It is about adding another booth to the food court at the mall...

                                            11 Replies
                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Pi wei pioneered the upscale fastfood concept bringing Asian food that was typically only seen at its parent company PF CHangs into small store fronts that were quick and casual ..I think that the investors can see doing something similar with Indian food.

                                                1. re: girloftheworld

                                                  ah, you mean *Pei Wei* - i thought perhaps you were referring to some Indian restaurant chain i hadn't heard of.

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    I thought it had something to do with the ratio of a circle's area to the square of its radius.

                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      ha! you know, my mind went there for a second when i first read "Pi" :)

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        nowwww that we have made fun of my spelling.. I am picturing an Asian Pizza fusion that may take off..

                                                        1. re: girloftheworld

                                                          There used to be a Pei Wei not too far from us but it closed before we ever tried it. I think it was the name. The kids of course pronounced it 'pee wee'. I think to go ahead with a name like that is a bit foolhardy. There is an independent Asian restaurant nearby named FUXING KITCHEN. Ok for a single location, but not for a chain.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              Naw i am a pretty good sport about most things. Especially spelling which my mom says sometimes resembles "something Chaucer wrote" ..along with gag worthy how about Cajun/Mexican nachos?

                                                2. re: girloftheworld

                                                  You might be correct, as I believe Indian food is the next concept ripe for the fast food craze.

                                                  Actually, there is already an Indian fast food concept here in Tampa and it is about to explode. My only comment about the Tiffin guy is that the name just doesn't seem recognizable. I mean, I know what is is, but that is only because I have seen them on TV. Never actually seen one in real life. Good concept though.

                                                  1. re: UptownKevin

                                                    I have a Tiffin I got at World Market I carry my lunch in...so it is not soooooo far out. and I live in Texas!
                                                    I expect to see him get more of a judges tweaking and guidance...perhaps a chef switch

                                                    The taco guy is just too snotty for my taste and he only lucked out because he scored a good chef

                                                3. i am watching this past weeks episode and i have one thing that keeps bothering me. they keep giving the contestants challenges where they have to serve food from heating trays, and then curtis stone keeps scolding the Wok/Chao concept because they are serving food from a heating tray instead of from a wok. what the heck is she supposed to do about that when its the nature of the challenge??

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: mattstolz

                                                    There are all sorts of things about the challenges that seem to be more about TV than the quality of the concept. I'm sure that they already have it whittled down to 2-3 (if that), and the rest of the thing is just to make entertaining television.

                                                  2. We've moved some responses WITH SPOILERS to this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7748...