Beautiful Restaurant Desired
January 3, 2009 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Restaurant in need of design rehab majorly. We're talking teal and light wood here, people. I think we've got a great angle for any of those rehab shows out there...

The business is established in our community (i.e. we don't need a Ramsey in here telling us how to run the show that's been running successfully for 10 years-ish). Owner is well-known figure who has won awards for community service and is heavily involved in sustainable agriculture and that sort of thing.

Thought maybe the hive might could offer up some suggestions as to whose attention this might be brought? I'm out of the TV loop myself, but I'm pretty sure these shows exist and that our story provides a decent angle.

Thanks in advance all, as usual!
posted by sarelicar to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
I don't have any advice for you on how to land one of these shows. However, you might want to do some research into how often people on these shows are actually happy with the result. It seems like, from reading articles by people who have been on HGTV, etc, shows, that the magic of television makes things seem better than they are.
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:25 PM on January 3, 2009

I was going to say what RustyBrooks said. Some of the redesign stuff I've seen on those shows is awfully superficial stuff, and restaurant decor needs to take a lot of abuse.

If he's worked extensively with the you have a university with a robust architectural/design program? Sounds like it could make a neat thesis project for graduate students, from initial proposal development, bidding process, budget, final design, etc. It wouldn't be free, but professional restaurant design firms are really, really expensive.

Several examples come to mind if he wants to do a little research as to how this sort of partnership can work. Savannah College of Art and Design has their historic preservation students rehab buildings, friends of mine in the Museum Exhibition, Planning and Design program at the University of the Arts have designed and installed exhibits, PennPraxis is engaged in Philly city planning...I can think of a lot more Philly-specific projects, large and small, because that's where I am, but I'm sure others know of other university/community/business partnerships.
posted by desuetude at 1:56 PM on January 3, 2009

If a restaurant makeover show is casting in your area, they will often post on Craigslist, in the "film/tv/video jobs" section. If you don't find restaurant makeover shows there, you might find other reality show casting calls. Follow those links or reply asking if the producer has any links to a design show. Often a production company might have more than one show on the go, or a producer might have friends on other shows, so you might get a lead that way.

However, I'll agree with those above that many businesses being made over aren't happy with the results. There is a popular and comfortable cafe in my neighbourhood that was made over for TV a few years back. They had a great reddish-coloured exposed brick wall, and their only request was "please don't paint the brick wall". The designers, of course, promptly painted the wall (hell, I've seen idiotic TV designers paint antique pianos (!) counter to the owners' requests), and they put in new counters that were too narrow to sit at, and new tall counter-stools that were so tall your knees couldn't fit under the new counters if you tried to sit there, and a bunch of other dumb stuff that the owners had to pay quite a bit to fix. In short, they wrecked the restaurant with crappy planning and work that looked nice on TV but was uncomfortable and impractical in person. The restaurant is still open, and the food & friendliness are still pretty great, but the room is noticeably less charming now than it used to be.

Those shows are on pretty tight production schedules and they have to make big-impact changes quickly- so often things are just not done with the kind of care and forethought they require because the TV cameras need to roll on time and won't catch the details anyway. You end up with shoddy workmanship and non-durable results that look awesome in wide-angle beauty shots and then fall apart when the customers show up.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:17 PM on January 3, 2009

Similar to desuetude's suggestion, if there aren't architecture/design students eager to redesign your restaurant, might there be a local business or two you could partner with for a reduced price makeover? I'm sure nearby contractors/interior designers/architects are hurting for business these days, so maybe they'd be flexible about bartering with another local business (you). You get the awesome makeover, they get to advertise their work to your 10 years' worth of customers. I'm sure this would cost more than the TV show makeover, but based on the above comments, you might end up with much better results.

Or, alternatively, is there a local TV station that does occasional home/business makeover shows? I could swear that I've seen that sort of thing once or twice as something like a special on the local morning TV talkshow, and that route might be safer than an HGTV-type show, since they'd probably use local professionals rather than having on-staff designers.

(When I say local, I mean "near your geographic location" not that you're a bad person if you go to Home Depot rather than Mom and Pop Independently Owned Depot. I love Home Depot.)
posted by Meg_Murry at 3:34 PM on January 3, 2009

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