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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.

Friday 10:00 PM et/pt on Food Network
11 Seasons, 130 Episodes - Currently Airing
Comedy, Family
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Mystery Diners Full Episode Guide

  • Luca, owner of Riemma Kitchen Warehouse, asks Charles for help after his customers find food inside the factory-sealed appliances they just purchased. Mystery diner Jamie goes undercover and discovers a large-scale operation.

  • Mystery Diners uncover a problem in the kitchen of a meal delivery service.

  • Before investing his life savings in a new Russian restaurant, an aspiring restaurateur asks Charles Stiles to investigate the Russian chef he plans to go into business with. Mystery Diners Rob and Eva go undercover and discover an elaborate con.

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