Colin visits Winmalee in the Blue Mountains to find Araucaria restaurant owners Anthony and Lauren drowning in debt in tonight’s Kitchen Nightmares Australia.
A new restaurant should be thriving, but Colin arrives and can’t even find the place. When he eventually locates the restaurant – at the back of Winmalee Tavern behind a shopping centre carpark – he is greeted with a suburban hotel bistro complete with Keno and a pokies room.
Araucaria’s customers aren’t interested in Anthony’s fancy food offerings, instead wanting classic pub food. “It looks like they are trying to sell diamond rings in a dollar shop,” Colin confides.
Anthony and Lauren are so far in the red that they’re looking at bankruptcy, with Anthony attempting one last throw of the dice – selling his car – to keep the dream alive. However the $8,000 they receive isn’t going to touch the surface, as Lauren reveals the heartbreaking reality of being $140,000 in debt. “Anthony hasn’t taken a wage since they opened, and worked seven days a week for 130 days,” Colin realises.
Lauren’s worries extend beyond the budget, confessing: “I thought he was going to have a massive stroke one night. He wasn’t reading dockets properly and went into hospital. He was there for six days and they found an abscess and a blood clot in his arm.”
Anthony is very competent in the kitchen, but his dream of creating sophisticated high-class meals has meant the classic pub grub that punters are after is being overlooked. Colin abruptly states: “The guy can cook, but I don’t know why we’ve got a $40 main in a joint like this.”
Colin’s suggestions of switching to less extravagant and costly menu items to save the restaurant money was met with push back from Anthony, but he eventually caved when he saw it pass the pub test with flying colours, as the local punters couldn’t ignore the value for money Colin was offering.
With a refresh of the pub classics on the menu, as well as the décor of the restaurant, Anthony and Lauren were ready to relaunch their pub. Customers lined up in droves to the relaunch thanks to a new website and some word-of-mouth publicity.
Despite the raging success of the relaunch, the financial and emotional strain of running Araucaria became too much and Anthony and Lauren, who have since shut the doors on their restaurant.