Food TV

America’s Next Great Restaurant: How to Impress Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay
Bobby Flay Photo: Patrick McMullan

Bobby Flay is hunkered down in West Philly today, supervising the opening of his fifth Bobby’s Burger Palace, which debuts tomorrow. We had a chance to sit down with the chef/restaurateur/cookbook author/Parade columnist/TV star to hear about his new Philly spot - more on that later this afternoon. In the meantime, we also talked about his upcoming NBC show, America’s Next Great Restaurant, where “would-be restaurateurs will vie for the opportunity to see their idea turned into reality with a new restaurant chain,” to find out what kind of chain restaurant ideas it would take to impress the judges. Read on, aspiring franchisers, to see what you need to do to get Flay’s attention.

Have you started working on America’s Next Great Restaurant?
No, they’re still casting, going around the country and talking to people about their concepts.

So you invest in the winner’s concept?
We’re investing in it and then the winner’s going to get three restaurants in three separate cities. The idea, I think, is probably more along the lines of something like my Bobby’s Burger Palace or Chipotle or something like that. A good food concept that you can roll out. It’s not going to be like Bar Americain.

How would you recommend that contestants try and impress you?
First of all, I’m really curious as to what people can come up with. The auditions started in Rockefeller Center - I launched them on the Today show and then I walked over to Rockefeller Center where they were lined up and I started talking to people. People really think about this. The one thing about a restaurant - everybody at some point in their life has said to themselves, “You know what would be a really good idea for a restaurant?” And here’s their opportunity.

So, to answer your question, how could they impress me? First of all, they have to be organized, they have to have a concise concept and idea. And I think it needs to be something that people understand, but that hasn’t been done before. That’s a difficult task, I think. I think we’re going to see a lot of technology ideas within restaurants. I think the younger set is going to definitely gravitate towards that. I’m sure we’ll see lots of burger ideas.

Is that the angle someone should take with you? You have your own Burger Palace, after all.
Yeah, I think that’s fine. We’re not the first or last burger place to open. But if it’s a burger concept that makes sense, I think, sure, why not?

Just curious, when do you sleep?
Never. Sleep is overrated. I’ll sleep when I retire.

Previously: Bobby Flay Will Pick ‘America’s Next Great Restaurant’ [GSNY]

America’s Next Great Restaurant: How to Impress Bobby Flay