Food Network chef says show helps local economies1

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COLUMBIA - A Food Network chef said he has seen failing businesses help the local economy after his show comes to town.

Restaurant: Impossible host Robert Irvine said Food Network's presence in small towns helps communities significantly. The show is in Columbia from Sunday to Monday to help renovate McLanks restaurant.

"You've got restaurants on the verge of failing and then after we've been here, if they follow the rules and the things that we put in place, they can make millions," said Irvine. "We know that because we have track records of that."  

He said the show is more about the community coming together to help.

"The volunteers in Columbia have been amazing. The local communities rallied around to help somebody they don't even know," said Irvine.

Deborah Walston lives close by the McLanks restaurant and heard Food Network is in town. She said Irvine does miracles with restaurants.

"The whole thing is about friendliness and being with your customers," said Walston. "If you get that repertoire with your customers, then you're going to have the business." 

The show works to improve small restaurants around the country in two days with a $10,000 budget. The show has thousands of applicants and producers pick restaurants that fit the criteria. The show has fixed up 187 restaurants over 13 seasons.

"Let's face it. America was built on small business and we are reviving small business one restaurant at a time." said Irvine.

KOMU 8 was not allowed to speak with workers of the restaurant, but Irvine said that the family could lose their house because of its failure.

"The family is torn apart. I'm here to fix both the family and the restaurant itself, and give the community a new choice," said Irvine.

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