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Dec 15, 2011 11:37 AM

Mystery Diner

Did anybody else watch this latest 'reality ' type show? I've never seen or heard of it before so I'm assuming it's new. It's a mystery shopper service for restaurants. Owners experiencing merchandise / monetary losses due to employee theft arrange for this firm to stage a sting operation and record what happens. Last nights episode was at Maeve's Bar & Grill in Studio City. The blatant acts of dishonesty by this particular bartender were incredible. His excuse to the owner when confronted: " I was only trying to help you by establishing a rapport with the customer so they would want to become regulars.

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  1. Where and when did you see this program?

    1. This sounds intriguing.... where can I find it??

      1. Although I didn't see any info on the Food Network site, Google turned this up...

        The Pilot episode is called 'Mystery Diners' and will air on the Food Network on the following dates:

        December 14th at 10:00 PM
        December 15th at 1:00AM
        December 16th at 11:00PM
        December 17th at 2:00AM
        December 18th at 6:30PM

        1 Reply
        1. re: Manybears

          Thanks many bears! I guess I could have looked that up myself, whoops!

        2. This show is as phony as a three dollar bill. The first issue that comes to mind is the bar tender involved would have to give his OK for his involvement to be aired. (this is not a news show). With video camera's shooting away, both in the bar and later in the office might have been a giveaway?

          15 Replies
          1. re: poser

            No he wouldn't. When you are in a public setting you can be video taped and it broadcast without your permission at any time by anybody because your permission is not nessecary. When you are in public you have no expectation of privacy. That's the law. Many shows will have you sign a release as extra CYA but it isn't nessecary. Keep in mind this episode was shot in LA where virtually everyone is trying to be a star. This d-bag probably thought it was his big break and signed a release not knowing he was going to be exposed as a turd.

            1. re: WannabeTVchef

              This was not a public setting. This is a TV show. There is a huge difference. The show is a phoney. If you can't see it, that's your problem.

              1. re: poser

                The legal definition of a public setting is pretty much anything other than a private residence. As long as the owner of a business knows about the cameras and approves of them visitors to that business still have no expectation of privacy. TV show or not.

                1. re: WannabeTVchef

                  The bartender was not a visitor, he was an employe. Look, I don't care if you think the show is on the level or not. The fact is, employes have to have knowledge of the cameras. Do you work? I do, and we do have surveillance cameras. We had to be notified of them before they were put to use.
                  Another giveaway of this being a phony show. At the very end they said the bartender in question was working in Los Angeles as a bartender. How would they know that? Do you think the fired bartender used them as a reference?

                  1. re: poser

                    There are exceptions in Minnesota anyway. When someone is suspected of theft hidden cameras have been used to document that theft.

                    1. re: John E.

                      The only difference is this was done for a TV show. Even on those Fox shows (Cops etc) the guilty parties never were visually or identified by name. I really can't believe anyone thinks this show is real. Do you actually think the Bartender in question would sign a release to have his mug plastered all over the television showing himself to be a dishonest employe?

                      1. re: poser

                        As I indicated before, he might have signed a general release form without reading it or knowing it could end up on television. I really don''t care one way or the other. This show was so bad I cannot believe I have put several minutes into writing posts in reference to it.

              2. re: WannabeTVchef

                You may wannabe a TV Chef, BUT I am a lawyer.

                The law if different in many jurisdictions. A fleeting glimpse of an individual on a street (a truly public place) may be broadcast in a news segment. Someone dining in a private establishment does have an expectation of privacy. That is why people are asked to sign releases before their images can be broadcast. That's also why they pay extras to appear in films and on TV!

                This keeps a restaurant from snapping a picture of a celebrity dining there and using it in advertising without paying for the rights. No star would tolerate his/her image being used as an unpaid celebrity endorsement, particularly if they don't want to dilute the value of their paid appearances.

                Last year, I was in a restaurant where they shot an episode of Kitchen Nightmares. I was asked to sign a release. As I was dining with a client who did not want his whereabouts broadcast, we refused. Shots of our table were not used on TV, and my client had his faced blocked out when he was caught in a shot on his way to the rest room.

                Diners near us who were offered releases to sign were told that their meal would be free in exchange for the release.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  Was Gordy there when you were dining or was just the camera crew getting footage?

                  1. re: John E.

                    Gordon was there for about 10 minutes of our visit, but we hurried to get out when my client's now ex-wife walked in to have dinner with her attorney

              3. re: poser

                I just thought the show was boring. There were not three or four 200 hundred pound guys wandering around with cameras. They were hidden cameras. What we saw appeared real, but it was boring. I don't know what the California laws say about this issue, but I'm sure the bartender signed a release form to receive his last paycheck but did not know he was going to end up on national television. This show won't last long.

                Years ago my father was the president of the city council of the town we lived in. There was a municipal on/off sale place and it was losing money. My father hired a 'secret diner' (actually drinker) to go in there and observe the bartender. Basically he was doing the same thing. They fired him and hired a new manager. I told him he was like Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse minus the martial arts.

                1. re: John E.

                  "There were not three or four 200 hundred pound guys wandering around with cameras. They were hidden cameras"

                  Even though, California law allows the placement of recording devices in order to protect the employer. That same employer must make it known to the employes that they have installed those devices. If they don't make that info known, they are in violation of state labor laws.

                  1. re: poser

                    I wonder is their are exceptions to the rule? What about Candid Camera from long ago?

                    1. re: John E.

                      I don't think there are any exceptions. But if there were, I don't think a Food Network TV show would qualify.

              4. No this wasn't a fake program. I have gone to Maeve's for four years and she is for real. I can vouch that there were always a couple of cameras in the bar, perfectly obvious. I doubt she's supposed to inform employees she's installed additional cameras. And I took media law at Stanford. The dirtbag barkeep does not have to sign anything; it's a public place and he's been informed of the original camera. As for keeping up with where he is, bar biz in the valley is a small world. Maeve prolly heard the day he got his next gig.

                4 Replies
                1. re: crimsons

                  I guess the exception to the rule is when there is at least one visible camera.

                  1. re: crimsons

                    It is one thing to have security cameras which capture images for the protection of the owner. employees and patrons and quite another to use those recording for broadcast purposes.

                    I may see a sign stating that there are security cameras in a bar and enter feeling safer than without the cameras, as the cameras may deter holdups and drug use. My remaining in the premises may give the owner permission to film for security purposes. It does not give the rights to broadcast or resell my image.

                    In some jurisdictions there are time limits on how long the images may be retained before they must be erased.

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      @Bagelman, you've got a couple of good points there. The show seems to not have been picked up, and I wonder how much is due to legal reasons. I also wonder if the bartender has taken legal action.

                      1. re: crimsons

                        Apparently it is coming back. They aired a "sneak preview" on May 20th with the announcement that it will start airing this week.