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Mystery Diners is a reality television show that uses hidden cameras and undercover operatives at restaurants and pubs. The objective of Mystery Diners is to scope out potential reasons why the business owners are suffering a financial loss. A restaurant owner contacts the Mystery Diners team to investigate suspicious employees that may be harming the restaurant's business via inferior service, stealing cash or pilfering the company's products.

Mystery Diners begins with a brief interview with the restaurant owner and a quick review of the company's monetary losses. The owner will already have an idea of which staff members are contributing to the demise of the restaurant and those employees will be watched with hidden cameras.

The Mystery Diners investigative team sets up surveillance video in all the main dining and cooking areas of the restaurant. In addition to the stationary cameras, one or two members of the team will pose as a customer or new employee to be trained. The undercover operatives are wired for audio and a tiny camera is mounted to their uniform or eyeglasses. This provides a close-up look for the surveillance camera monitoring team that is set up on or near the restaurant property.

Mystery Diners tackles managerial and subordinate staff problems such as rude behavior towards customers, giving away free food and beverage items to their friends, stealing liquor and hosting private parties in the restaurant after hours.

The business owner watches a full day of surveillance with the Mystery Diners producer and he or she will make a decision as to when the surveillance has collected enough evidence to terminate an employee. The restaurant owner will confront a wayward employee, escort them into the surveillance room and demand an explanation for their unethical or criminal behavior.

In some Mystery Diners episodes, the video evidence may be turned over to local police for prosecution against an employee who has stolen money or goods from the restaurant. The utility of this reality show is to restore order to a chaotic restaurant by rooting out the culprits that have hurt the owner's profits.

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Friday 10:00 PM et/pt on Food Network
7 Seasons, 77 Episodes - Currently Airing
Comedy, Family
10/10
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Mystery Diners Full Episode Guide

  • Isabel and Todd, co-owners of Barrio Star in San Diego, call Charles to mediate when they have a disagreement over which waiter to promote to manager.

  • Sarra, owner of The Compass in Carlsbad, California, asks Charles to investigate her two bartenders.

  • After discovering discrepancies in their chicken and beef supply, the co-owners of Shades Oceanfront Bistro contact Charles Stiles for help. Mystery Diners go undercover and discover one employee's running their own side business.

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