Restaurant Revisited: Father’s Second Chance at Old World Italian Restaurant

by in Shows, April 21st, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: Impossible“Old, old, old, old” were the first words Robert Irvine said after arriving at the drab, outdated Old World Italian Restaurant in Murrells Inlet, S.C., a 16-year-old eatery owned by George Hayek Sr. and Teresa Hayek. This husband-and-wife duo started the business with their son, George Hayek Jr., after the latter had graduated from culinary school. In the last five years, they’ve noticed a steep decline in customers, which ultimately has resulted in losses of nearly $1,000 per day and the complete elimination of their retirement savings. With just two days to work and a budget of only $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team tackled fresh, modern updates to Old World Italian’s old-fashioned decor, its bland menu and unstructured management in an effort to give the Hayek family a second chance at success. FN Dish checked in with George Sr. a few months after the transformation to find out how his business is doing today.

“I am happy to report that the makeover has been a smashing success,” he tells FN Dish. “Our sales are up 35 percent since the show has left.”

They’ve since hired a manager to run front-of-house operations, and “George Jr. has taken the reins in the back of the house,” George Sr. explains. The kitchen is now far more effective at handling a high-volume of orders in a little time, he adds, noting that “Kitchen times have been cut by half, and the food looks great coming out of the kitchen. Doing 135 plates an evening used to be taxing, but now, with a much more efficient kitchen, 135 plates is done smoothly.”

All aspects of the renovation have been well-received by much of Old World Italian’s clientele, as George explains that “9 out of 10 [customers] have said that our food, service and atmosphere have greatly improved.”

The employees are also pleased with changes at the restaurant, said George Sr., noting that “the staff feels like there is clear direction and accountability.” They’ve taken steps to ensure that “people are now welcomed with a smile at the door, served with a smile and are given a warm ‘thank you’ for spending their hard-earned money” in the restaurant.

George Sr. tells FN Dish that he and his wife “are enjoying their semi-retirement and can breathe again.” To Robert and the entire Restaurant: Impossible team, he says thank you “for injecting life and vigor back into our operation.”

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Joe Willy’s Seafood House (April 14)
Sweet Tea’s Restaurant & Catering (March 24)
Soup to Nuts Diner (March 17)
Caseyville Cafe (March 13)
Maniaci’s Italian Restaurant (March 10)
Dinner Bell Restaurant (February 27)
Nanny Goat’s Cafe & Feed Bin (February 20)
Sapori D’Italia (January 23)
Windseeker Restaurant (January 16)
Whiskey Creek Steakhouse (January 2)
Rising Sun Bistro (December 19)
Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri (December 9)
Bronk’s Bar and Grill (December 5)
Rohrer’s Tavern (November 28)
Poco’s on the Boulevard (November 21)
Oleander Bar and Grill (October 17)
Valley Inn (October 10)
Whistle Stop (October 3)
The Maple Tree Cafe (September 26)
Michele’s (September 19)
Paliani’s Restaurant (September 12)
Frankie’s (September 5)
Gusanoz (August 29)

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Comments (108)

  1. FNGossip says:

    The restaurant definitely needed a makeover for the interior. For more info and reviews, click my name.

  2. jazzmannca says:

    Very happy for this family and wish them the best!

  3. FoodieATH says:

    Great makeover! Happy for them.

  4. DeAnna says:

    I am very happy for this family. I liked the make over and hope all goes well for them.

  5. geese says:

    Had dinner there in March. The wedding soup was incredible. Everyone really enjoyed their meals. We'll definitely return next time we're in town.
    Best of luck

  6. reine says:

    This was a great make-over. Loved the fireplace wall. I think a wine bar would have been a nice touch. I was amazed at how easily the father gave up the running of the business. i would have thought that would have been a hard-sell, especially after seeing his defensiveness with the first volley.

  7. SCResident says:

    Super happy that they were able to receive help, and that everything worked out so well for them. Rooting them on all the way!

  8. Terri and Don says:

    Saw the show tonight, I am so happy that is seems to have been an excellent adventure to a positive result for the family. They are great people!

  9. Sharon Smith says:

    Glad to see the Hayek family doing better then they were. I worked there for a short time and enjoyed it very much…coodles to George Jr. and staff and please, please George and Theresa enjoy that semi-retirement! :)

    • Tom says:

      Very nice comment, Sharon. I just need to ask about "coodles"! I've never seen such a word. By any chance did you mean "kudos"?

  10. lbjd says:

    The show was great and so were your responses. We will now being revisiting for makeover food and venue. Good luck !!

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