I watched Gordon Ramsay's Best Restaurants last night on netflix for the first time. I really like GR, and I like the UK version of him even more. I was fascinated by this show because he was pitting two restaurants against each other but he was not just grading food, but service. In addition to the service where his crews were around, he had "secret diners" go to the restaurant and see how they were treated without tv cameras in full view. I thought this was absolutely brilliant because the results were less than stellar. This got me to thinking, I doubt this would ever work in the US because people are so protective of their brand that owners of high end places would refuse to consent to having their restaurant shown in bad light. I can completely sympathise with this because I've had numerous terrible dinner services while the food was very nice.
I think it is a chef and owner's duty to know what's going on in their restaurant and not just have smoke blown up their you know what. GR says that he has secret diners go to his restaurants to make sure everything is in order. I wonder if this happens in the US with not just high end but corporate owned places? Anyway, I wish there were a service or show that would expose this sort of discrepancy and keep restauranteurs on their toes when it comes to treating the customer correctly since apparently 20% tip is the norm these days.