Diner by the Sea (215 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, 954-491-0642) is already a destination well-known to Floridians, but it will soon be a household name to millions of people once the restaurant is featured on television in Europe. The restaurant was recently selected to be a part of the Swiss reality television series “Jobtausch” (Job Exchange), which over 30% of the German-speaking Swiss population watches weekly on the Swiss Radio and Television network (SRF).
“Jobtausch,” produced by Constantin Productions, contacted owner Billy Sand directly and proposed that two waitresses from his diner swap places with two resort workers in Switzerland. Both groups would be filmed and would be seen interacting with locals and learning about the service industries in a foreign country.
I got a chance to talk to the owner, Billy Sand, briefly about how his restaurant was selected for this honor.
How did you get noticed in Switzerland?
A lot of our customers come from Germany and come from Switzerland. In addition to serving breakfasts seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., we also serve German cuisine Thursday through Friday from 5 to 9 p.m.
The producers of the show phoned our business after they searched us up on the Internet. When you Google us, we’re one of the top four diners in Fort Lauderdale. What I didn’t know until later was that there were 70 other businesses that applied to be on the TV show. I didn’t even apply to be on the show; they had called me four days in a row. I thought it was a sales pitch at first, and I never return sales calls. Finally, one of my girls said to me, “Billy, you need to call them, it’s for real!”
So I called the producer back and he told me what the whole show was about. The following morning, he came in with a camera crew and interviewed me and the two girls I selected to go to Switzerland, and after he wrapped that up, he said, “You’ll hear from me in three weeks to a month.”
I didn’t think we were going to get it, because we didn’t even apply. They scouted us. Then they narrowed their list to 30 restaurants, then the top three, and then I heard that they wanted us.
I’m sad to hear it won’t air on US television. When will people in South Florida get to see the final product?
I was just talking to the director of the production yesterday, and she said that they’ve already spent $120,000 here and in Switzerland, and by the time they get all the editing done, it will go on TV in Switzerland in the fall, and we’ll be allowed to have a tape of that, and we’ll be having a Waitress Swap TV release party sometime this fall.
For more information about Diner by the Sea, visit dinerbytheseainc.com.