Case Study: My Restaurant Rocks

Harry Gamsu, the VP of non-scripted at Red Arrow International, talks to TV Formats about the various versions of My Restaurant Rocks.

Restaurants compete to be crowned the best in their local area in the factual-entertainment series My Restaurant Rocks. The establishments are judged on everything from the quality of their food to the overall dining experience, and each eatery takes a turn hosting their competitors with a three-course meal.

The show came to life as an original format created by German production company Good Times Fernsehproduktions and premiered on ProSiebenSat.1 channel kabel eins in August 2013. It quickly became a hit in access prime time. There are now more than 630 episodes of the original German version, and it regularly scores ratings well above the channel average.

Red Arrow International, which holds the distribution rights for the format, has “grown My Restaurant Rocks into a recognized brand with successful ***Image***long-running versions in key European territories,” says Harry Gamsu, the company’s VP of non-scripted.

Following the German premiere, Red Arrow International sold the format to France’s TF1, “which moved incredibly quickly via their in-house production team to deliver a short-run commission,” Gamsu explains. “Initially just five episodes, the series was an immediate hit and extended to a longer 30-episode commitment and now forms a key part of the channel’s daytime offering. Since then, four more seasons have aired on TF1, bringing the total number of episodes to more than 200.”

With its track record established in two major European markets, the commissions began to roll in. This includes in Italy, where it was ordered by Sky Italia, and in Spain, where there are three different regional versions in production: for Telemadrid, TV3 (Televisió de Catalunya) and ETB2.

“The key to this format’s success is its simplicity,” says Gamsu. “In addition, all the ingredients of the show are kept consistent regardless of the country it plays in, so we follow the same set episode arc each time. We are introduced to the local region and the restaurateurs who will battle it out, with each eatery taking turns to host their competitors, serving them a three-course dinner of first-class food. The challenge is to present not only the most magnificent meal, but the perfect package along with it.”

The core structure of the format is “incredibly flexible,” he adds, “with the type of restaurants reviewed and regions visited naturally changing, and there are even both host-less and hosted versions of the show. So, it’s very much a local traveling format grounded in the culture and food of the country, and that’s the root of its success.”

Gamsu believes that the format is universally appealing because “viewers can immediately relate to reviewing restaurants—we all do it. On top of this, if broadcasters are looking for quick-turnaround, high-volume programming in access prime, then this format delivers every time.

My Restaurant Rocks’ uniqueness is its ability to feel incredibly local and relevant while also being simple and easily adaptable. It delivers reality, competition, cooking and travel in one effective brand without feeling over-complicated or difficult to produce.”

As the format is just four years old, the focus now is on growing its reach. “Long-running, high-volume, access-prime spots don’t appear that often in schedules, but given the success of My Restaurant Rocks in every territory it’s launched, we are confident of further new commissions,” says Gamsu.