The Positive Warning Restaurant Owners Receive Before Appearing On Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives

For those who aren't familiar with the much-lauded "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," it is a TV show on Food Network following host Guy Fieri as he visits some iconic, well, diners, drive-ins and dive bars. He takes guests behind the scenes at some pretty innovative local spots for a look at how their signature dishes come to be, then chats with customers who order these dishes, and sometimes serving and dining with them too.

According to an article in The Twin Cities Business that came out in 2015, restaurants don't get paid for appearing on "Triple D" (the show's nickname), at least not in cash. Nor do they have to pay to be featured on the show — there's no inauthentic promotion here, just a focus on places that actually dish out food with great flavor. And while Guy Fieri may not love every single dish, if they're featured on the show, they're at least good enough to him and with his seal of approval comes a forewarning to businesses of at least one very important outcome that a feature on the show might cause.

Let's start with the serious

Although Guy Fieri likes to have fun, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" does not play around with its rules. Participating restaurants have strict guidelines to follow when the mayor of Flavortown comes to their town. According to Cheatsheet, the restaurants have to be willing to forfeit ingredients for the sake of fame as the show doesn't cover their ingredients or reimburse them after Fieri appears and tries their dishes. Plus, they lose about 3-4 days of business when they shut down for production, and this is on very short notice, according to Delish, who mentioned that one restaurant owner Andrea Wakefield wasn't told the producers were coming until about one week beforehand.

The site notes there are also a slew of rules the participating restaurants have to follow. These can range from heavy vetting by producers to letting Guy have the final say on which dish to feature, so establishments can't be married to the idea of one dish over others. And even after all this prep, its completely plausible, as Delish mentions, for the production team to pull out at the last minute, even deciding not to go with a certain place as late as the moment producers arrive.

On a lighter note

Serving Guy Fieri may result in a huge business increase. That's right, it gets so crazy at these spaces after Fieri and his "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" crew visit that they actually have to warn establishments of the incredible uptick in customers. Thrillist interviewed the owners of some of the featured spots from previous seasons and Emily Biederman, the owner of Steuben's in Denver, Colorado, noted that "When you get the call that they are going through with it, they warn you: This will change your business forever. And yeah. It did. It really did."

Another establishment owner, Griffin Bufkin of Southern Soul Barbeque, said that after he filmed there Guy Fieri "told us to be ready for a 200% increase in business," and "that's what happened. And it really hasn't stopped ever since." Some experienced an even greater spike: Josh Thoma of Minneapolis-based restaurant Smack Shack saw a 500% increase in sales after appearing on the show. "They told us to get ready. I was like, 'I got it.' I did not get it," he told The Twin Cities Business.

Some successful restaurants include...

One of the restaurants getting some buzz is O So Good, a Richmond, CA restaurant that was featured in the Richmond Standard after making it onto Fieri's show. If their pictures are any indication, the place seems packed, famous for dishes like "Jerk Chicken, Cajun Seafood Pasta and Chef Challenger." Another success story is a grouping of five restaurants in Fargo-Moorhead (a sixth was filmed but not yet aired). These restaurants include Sol Ave. Kitchen, Pounds, Blackbird Woodfire, Passage to India, and Nichole's Fine Pastry & Café (via In Forum).

All of the chefs, employees, and owners who had a visit from Flavortown raved about the success they saw after Fieri praised their dishes, with some noting that "I've heard of people so busy they had to close their doors because of Guy's visit." Thankfully, that didn't seem the case with these places. These episodes aired at a time the COVID-19 pandemic had hit the restaurant industry hard, and the Fargo-Moorhead restaurants told In Forum the spike in business was much needed.

So for those who want to submit their restaurant but are unsure about going on the show, just know, as long as you're staffed up for the post-show sales bump, it will very likely be worth it!