27th Mar2020

‘Restaurants on the Edge’ Review (Netflix)

by Rhys Payne

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As a man who loves food and has an interest in business, I was very intrigued to see the new Netflix original series Restaurants on the Edge – a show that’s about struggling restaurants all across the world and how a group of experts point of all the things the owners are doing wrong and try to fix these at-risk establishments. (think Bar Rescue and/or Restaurant Impossible).

The opening of this weird show was strangely tense and mysterious which really didn’t fit the overall vibe of the show. Restaurants on the Edge is generally very upbeat and energetic but the introduction had a sharp focus of world foods – with highly dramatic music playing in the background which gave off very mysterious and tense vibes. Vibes I felt weren’t particularly appropriate for the nature of this show. In the first few episodes, I was extremely excited to see that Restaurants on the Edge not only improved the restaurants but also showcased the countries/places they were situated in. It really helped to show the viewers the importance of community and the effect it can have on any business. As well as this, it also serves as an advert or promotion of places that some people may not be aware of, which can only benefit tourism and improve the local economy of the places included in the show. It loved this at first but after a while, the show became more about the places rather than the restaurants which is frustrating as the show is titled Restaurants on the Edge not something like “places you should visit”. It should focus on the restaurants and the owners with a mention on the places they are located in rather than the other way around.

Restaurants on the Edge also showcased some new concepts that are often not shown on mainstream television. In the first episode, they display some glassblowers developing some decorations for the struggling establishment the episode was about. In another episode the restaurant owners take part in a food photography workshop, where the viewers were able to learn new skills and tricks they can try at home which is fantastic to watch. Most interestingly, in my opinion, was the show brought in a Feng shui expert who looked at what the restaurant currently looked like and how the energy of the room can be improved.

Each episode of Restaurants on the Edge follows a similar structure – they go into an existing restaurant and point out what the obvious mistakes are and have an opportunity to talk to the owners etc. They then explore the local area for ideas and decorations to improve the place they originally visited. They then meet back up to give an overview of what they have been up to and then start the improvements of the places they need to improve. In my opinion, the overview meeting isn’t necessary as the viewers have watched the experts as they travel around and see what they have got up to so they don’t need to hear about them talk about it too. This section was useless for me and the time in the episode could be better used to focus back on the restaurant profiled in the show.

On the other hand, an extremely important section of this process is where an expert sits down and talks to the owners about why they think the restaurant is struggling. This includes negative feedback and reviews online being read out which was fantastic to see. Any aspiring restaurant owners watching need to be prepared for negative feedback and the audience need to be aware that it’s not always easy running a restaurant which is something many shows do not include. Equally, it is also nice to see some of the renovations going wrong. In one episode there is panic as the paint has not dried for the deadline and the storm is also causing a lot of issue for the building process.

Overall, Restaurants on the Edge a fun show that serves as an advert for the restaurants but also is fun to watch. I do believe that it lost itself towards the end of the series but did showcase many, many interesting things that are often not shown on mainstream TV which is great.

*** 3/5

Restaurants on the Edge is available on Netflix now.

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