Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Bumbinos Italian Ristorante Update

Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Orange City, Florida to makeover Bumbinos Italian Ristorante.  Emotions are high, and there is a lot of yelling between the owner Terry, her son Willie, and her friend Cappy.  Robert then starts to yell after realizing their mistakes, such as firing most of the staff and switching cooking roles in the kitchen.  Robert needs to rebuild the relationships and figure out the correct roles for people in the restaurant to turn it around.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Bumbinos Italian Ristorante to get an idea of how the restaurant is doing since Robert Irvine visited, and here is what I found (note - all reviews are post Restaurant Impossible):



Positive Reviews:
  • "This place is a really good! If you're looking for your Italian craving to be filled, you are considering the right place!..The wait staff was great and the owners came around to all the customers to make sure we were satisfied with our food. With the makeover, this place is a cute place to go with anyone no matter the occasion... It is reasonably priced and the serving are big! Enjoy!"
  • "While service might be a little slow, it's worth it for the delicious food. Garlic knots are delicious, think they have gotten better! The Chicken Piccata was worth every penny and I'll definitely will be getting that again! Restaurant Impossible did a great job creating ambience for this little Italian restaurant."
  • "We decided to visit because of all the hype with a food channel visit. We made reservations and were seated promptly.... The atmosphere is quaint and bistro style. I was impressed with fresh flowers on the table. Lovely touch. Enough though the service was good, the servers seemed overwhelmed and it showed. We ordered a lemon vinaigrette salad that was large enough to share. It was fresh and light. We ordered a pizza with fresh basil. It was a traditional thin pizza "New York style." It was flavorful and you can tell they use fresh ingredients...We will be back to try other items on the menu!"
 
Negative Reviews:
  • "Was not impressed at all,just ate there Thursday...Ordered the calzone,was not hot, sauce not impressive at all....The waitress was wonderful...The owners no smiles....Don't think I will be back.....Sorry!"
  • "We showed up the day after the reveal and had dinner. I have to say, it was delicious. We had an excellent Caesar salad and probably the most delicious meatballs between here and Prato in Winter Park. Followed by a completely average pizza and horrible service. Now don't get me wrong our server did her best but was yelled at and berated multiple times by the owners. I was a little shocked considering how much she was hustling! But again, it was very clear that someone who knew what they were doing worked on the menu and save for the pizza had managed a miracle in this place. The question is, did it stick two weeks later? I'll give you one guess... nope!..Two weeks later...Gone was the delicate meatballs tossed with pine nuts and light marinara and crostini. In its place was fairly gross meatballs with canned sauce. And of course, since I am sure they know better, a lot of the same crap was back on the menu...I won't be back and I imagine that more people will follow!!!"

Other News and Links:
  • Here is the Bumbinos website, dinner menu, Willie's Bumbinos Facebook, Bumbinos Facebook, and Twitter page.
  • Here is the explanation of the restaurant name from an article around the time the restaurant opened, "A young relative once pronounced the Italian word for children "bumbino" instead of the correct "bambino." The name was chosen to welcome people with children, and the misspelling was intentional."
  • Bumbinos opened in 2008, but at a different location(same city) than they are currently at.
  • A few weeks after the makeover Willie from Bumbinos asked Robert Irvine on Twitter, "Hi Robert it's Willie from Bumbinos 70% of customers want old sauce what to do? coast to make old is too high"  Robert responded with, "do what you feel is right for you .."  I'm not sure how helpful that was.
  • Bumbinos made a menu with both new items and also brought back old items due to customer requests. (Link)
  • Here are the results of 3 restaurant inspections at Bumbinos (2 in 2010, 1 in 2011)
  • There seems to be 3 other Italian/Pizza restaurants within a mile of Bumbinos, so there is a lot of competition there. (link)
  • The restaurant has responded to negative reviews on review sites to try to defend themselves/invite customers back to try it again.

Conclusion:

The review for Bumbinos before the Restaurant Impossible visit were not that bad, and people commented that the location was a bit hard to find in a shopping center.  The reviews since Robert Irvine visited seem to complement the food and atmosphere, with there still being a few issues with slow service.

The restaurant has added old menu items back to their post Restaurant Impossible menu, and it seems they may have went back to their old sauce.  With multiple Italian restaurants nearby, Bumbinos will need to capitalize on the Restaurant Impossible exposure to take customers away from their competitors.


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26 comments:

  1. I might need to make myself watch the U.S. vs. Australia if only to see Adrian Richardson in action. I adore him1

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  2. Biff SchmuckatelliMay 1, 2014 at 3:24 AM

    my guess is that after the euphoria wore off, there was a drop in customers so the owners probably panicked and went back to some of the older ingredients because Irvine's way of cooking fresh food is probably more expensive. Also some people like plain cooking and don't like fancy nouveaux cooking favored by today's chefs. So for foodies, all the RI techniques are great, but some people just don't like that style. I think that is the conflict with a lot of these restaurant rescues and the reason many of them go back to the old menu items.

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  3. Cooking fresh can often be cheaper. If you read everything in the post the owner even admits the old sauce is more expensive.

    What's more likely is that after the initial bump fades, panic sets in and they feel like they can't alienate regulars so they go back to the old menu, never mind that generally speaking the old menu is often part of the problem that got them into the situation in the first place.

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  4. Bill S...I agree totally. I love to eat but I'm not a foodie. I want food that tastes good and is not all gussied up with frou frou ingredients-like pine nuts or cilantro or whatever.
    Another problem with the re-do of Bumbinos is I want peace,quiet and PRIVACY when I eat. I don't want to sit at a long row table where there is someone I don't know sitting 2 inches from me and rubbing my elbow. For me it's not comfortable-maybe it works for a bunch of drunk college kids. There were only 3 private booths in Bumbino's.Everything else was communal dining. Not for me. Not now,not ever.

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  5. No surprise but, Kitchen Casino was just been basically cancelled, with the four remaining new episodes airing Sundays at 11PM and Cutthroat Kitchen reruns taking over Mondays at 9PM. After four episodes, based on ratings by Futon Critic, TVByTheNumbers and SonOfTheBronx, Casino averaged 677,000 viewers/0.3 demo, way less than Rachael VS Guy (1.25 million viewers/0.8 demo) and Worst Cooks (1.4 million/0.9 demo).

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  6. I agree. I hate communal dining, and the seem to think its such a great idea and incorporate it into every remodel. I would rather wait for a booth or go somewhere else, rather than sit next to someone I don't know.

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  7. Tables that are next to each other is not "communal dining." The tables are separated. That's your own table.

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  8. Did they hit up local culinary schools to find temp kitchen employees? Seemed like they never had much staff before.

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  9. What a shame. just watched it tonight DVR and was thinking on lunch there tomorrow. well prolly not now. I wanted to try the Chicken Parm. Roberts Style

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  10. You're still sitting 3 inches from someone you didn't plan to have dinner with. You hear everything they say. They hear everything you say.We can all see the tiny seperation between tables.

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  11. It's still not communal dining. Communal dining generally refers to big tables that seat multiple parties. I'm not sure where you expect to find restaurants where every party gets their own private booth or tables spread out. Maybe outside of big cities where rent isn't so high that they can afford extra space?

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  12. Carrie, very well written and I totally agree.

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  13. Biff, I totally respect your food preferences, however, what Robert Irvine did on this episode was not "fancy nouveaux" nor "foodie"? He did a very simple chicken parm. I think he was very restrained and respected the simplicity of this place and level of the cooks involved.

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  14. Blue, "gussied up" ingredients like cilantro? I totally respect your posting, but cilantro is sold at Walmart? It's pretty mainstream?
    Every person has a "comfort zone", restaurants are always challenged with making your stay comfortable while maximizing the revenue per square foot. Often times places will use a banquet with a series of smaller tables, this allows flex space suing a combination of tables to combine for the party size. These do not necessarily constitute communal dining.

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  15. Hmans, having a variety of seating options is ideal. It appeared from the remodel that they incorporated counter, table and booth seating into a fairly small square footage?

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  16. The show brings in sous chefs to train and prep Irvine's menus and they bring in volunteers to prep and turn out.

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  17. Meghan, absolutely spot on!

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  18. Edward W BradshawMay 9, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Did I note correctly that he used a soffritto and potato to the marinara?

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  19. The name is just stupid.....best to not name restaurants after some dumb kid nickname. Give it a name that people don't mind saying.

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  20. Fock the Ducks.

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  21. So sorry Ur all so negative. Also very sorry for this family! I may be wrong, but, didn`t the father say he was $150,000. behind in taxes? Looks like they WERE slamming payments to the IRS - as now just $20,000. owed. Some Fed workers can truly be heartless - they could have WORKED W/THEM!!! LOVE the show - so Wish it was not ending.

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  22. No, he said he owed over 200k in total, never said the amount in taxes. Seems to me you're looking for something to fit your own anti-government narrative.

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  23. It's under 50%...

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  24. Some of these places really do look much better after a remodel though. That by itself could be enough to get new customers that will come back compared to a place that is cleanish but run down after years without money being put in for improvements.

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  25. Good. Ducky's was stupid. Too many family members. They said they'd fire the only person who knew how to cook, then five minutes later were chasing her thru the parking lot, crying and begging her to stay.

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