Restaurant Revisited: Feathers Fly at Ducky’s Family Restaurant

by in Shows, October 30th, 2013

Robert IrvineFacing nearly $230,000 of debt, 33-year-old Ducky’s Family Restaurant in Kokomo, Ind., desperately needed Robert Irvine‘s help if the business was to have any chance at future success. Not long after Robert arrived, he realized that poor-quality canned food was among the largest issues plaguing Ducky’s, as was its drab interior decor akin, which Robert’s designer, Taniya Nayak, deemed “a cafeteria nightmare.” Together with Taniya and the rest of his Restaurant: Impossible team, Robert re-launched Ducky’s after two days of work on a $10,000 budget, and he helped owner Bill Duncan and Bill’s family learn essential skills for managing their family-run eatery. FN Dish caught up with Bill to find out how his business is doing a few months since the show filmed.

“Since the shooting of our episode, we have doubled our weekly sales,” Bill said. “Everyone loves the remodel.”

Ducky’s has brought on additional team members who “are doing a wonderful job,” according to Bill, who added that “Amanda has stepped up to the plate, working longer hours and putting organization to the business in just about every area.”

Once Robert left, Connie and Jason began to oversee “back of house” operations, according to Bill, who added, “This seems to be working very well.” Additionally, the restaurant has established regular meetings with the staff, including “weekly manager meetings and monthly mandatory store meetings that give [Ducky's] grounds for improvement,” Bill said.

Although Ducky’s is now offering thicker-cut french fries, they are still serving the dishes that Robert created, Bill notes. “The biggest surprises are the blackened catfish and the turkey sliders …. The reviews are mostly favorable,” he said, adding that they’re no longer relying on canned or frozen goods.

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Mama Campisi’s Restaurant (October 23)
Aponte’s Pizzeria (August 25)
Benner Street (July 28)
Hurley’s American Grille (July 21)
Kalico Kitchen (July 14)
Angelo’s (June 23)
Pier West Restaurant (June 16)
Pinehurst Country Lodge (June 9)
Bryan’s Smokehouse (May 26)
Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant (May 19)
Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant (May 12)
Smitty’s Restaurant (April 28)
Old World Italian Restaurant (April 21)
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)

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Comments (110)

  1. Mexlinda says:

    Well, well, If you have the opportunity to Robert come with his team and fix the whole restaurant and make your dreams come true why not? I believe that out there are millions of restaurants in the same way with high debts and not customers that all, but I do believe that they know if the bank is going to take the place, just they trying to help them, but they don't promise them to pay their debts.
    If they were waiting for R.I show up and they got it , and they sold it, well good luck for the new owner,probably with the money that they got after pay all their bills the girls can have their own hamburgers carts! LOL

  2. Thank for sharing this blog with all of us. Of course, what a great site and informative posts, I will bookmark this site. keep doing your great job.

  3. hoosierman says:

    Ducky's has closed due to not paying taxes…..duh

  4. Brew says:

    If you all knew the truth, you would quit judging. This family tried their best to keep this place going, if you need to blame anyone, I would be pointing fingers at the govt intities, they forced the sale of this business due to back taxes, Our GOVT is to blame, they seem to ever give folks a hand up, just a hand out!!.This is what is sad. I live in Kokomo, Ducky's was fabulous and my little girl was so excited to eat there especially after the show aired, The owner and the staff couldn't of been any nicer, and the food was hot and good. The owner also gave us samples of Robert Irvines recipes . You all need to be ashamed that are damning this family, they are good people that fell on hard times, The City of Kokomo was hit very hard during the automotive crisis and just about went under . Much needed help came from the govt to help salvage our city, but it seems that the small business owners suffered the most. Very sad. I hope and pray that these people don't get down on their selves. They did try to make this work. It didn't. pure and simple….no fault of their own in my opinion.

    • Jack Meehoff says:

      thank you for shedding fact to all of these clowns on here who are ignorant and presumptuous.

      • Purpeagle says:

        As a small business, as with ANY business, the owner is responsible for witholding tax and FICA from their employees paychecks and depositing that witholding with the employers matching share with the US Treasury. It is a matter of trust between the employee and the employer. If an employer is witholding taxes and spending their employees money on things other than taxes, it is just damn wrong, That being said, one of the major pitfalls of small business is not properly paying and reporting their employment taxes. Once you fall behind, it is very hard to catch up. But remember the employee entrusts that their employer is properly depositing their money for taxes. I know it's difficult to understand, especially with this toxic anti-government atmosphere being drummed up by a certain cable network and conservative hate radio, however it is not the Government, it is the LAW. Remember we live in a civilized country where we can't pick and choose which laws we obey and which laws we choose to ignore. Better communicatiobn between the IRS and small business owners should exist, especially when someone dives into a business uninformed. The SBA, lenders, etc shud educate a small businessman. Hopefully the family is doing well.

    • Pegy says:

      I live in Kokomo and there are a lot of small businesses in this town and I make a point to frequent them if they are good. I can think of 2 excellent family owned restaurants that I eat at where I know the kitchen is clean and the food is good. Cleanliness in an eating establishment is the most important thing to me and it is not hard to do, if you care.

  5. Scott says:

    Do all of these restaurants fail after Irvine's whirlwind 2 day fixes and his unpermitted building modifications? It's clear that the management issues require more than a few tear jerking comments and slaps on the rump to fix. That the kitchen staff needs time to be trained and a new menu developed. That can't be done in a day or two. And that the work done in the restaurant requires permits and inspections that must take more than 48 hours. (And we never see the dozens of untrained locals pitching in to get that work done. It must be fine work with so many untrained but enthusiastic people.)

    This show is all about bandaids and formulaic kumbaya mumbo jumbo. In the end things go downhill and the restaurants fail.

    Irvien is looking for failing restaurants so that he can strut his b.s. And then the restaurants fail anyway.

    What a pathetic show.

  6. @goofy173 says:

    Ducky's did close. The IRS would not wait for their money and the government was the one that closed it. Remember that the chef comes into already failing restaurants. How many of you could go into a failing business and more than 50% of the time keep it operating?

  7. Elia says:

    I know this is superficial, but Amanda was really hot. That piercing was super sexy.

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