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'Help My Yelp' Host Monti Carlo Shares Her Inspiring Story

Monti Carlo had a dream to become a Food Network host, and it took her nearly two decades to achieve it. Her show Help My Yelp debuted earlier this month and airs on Mondays at 10:00 p.m.

I remember Monti from her days in Atlanta radio, and I became a huge fan and cheerleader of hers when she appeared on the third season of MasterChef in 2012, though I didn't connect my memories of her on radio until after the season ended.

Since her time on MasterChef, I've had the privilege of developing a social media friendship with Monti, and I had the opportunity to talk to her about Help My Yelp and her tremendously uplifting story. Here's our conversation.

Chris Queen: Tell us a little about Help My Yelp.

Monti Carlo: Help My Yelp is my very first show on Food Network! I get the incredible opportunity to visit restaurants with low Yelp ratings across the country. I have two days to assess why they’re scoring poorly, fix the problems and raise their score. A half a star bump on Yelp can increase your customer base by 20% at peak times and a full star bump can raise your profits by almost 10%. In a business of razor-thin margins, that could be the difference between keeping the doors open for another year or shutting it down.

CQ: What distinguishes your show from other “restaurant rescue” shows? What do you do that makes Help My Yelp unique?

MC: Gordon Ramsay and Robert Irvine are two of my heroes and they've practically built the restaurant makeover genre on their backs. Help My Yelp is very different from Kitchen Nightmares and Restaurant Impossible. I’m not walking into a restaurant with a sledgehammer and knocking down walls or giving kitchens head to toe makeovers. I only have 48 hours. I assess the big issues via surveillance footage and Elite Yelper feedback. Yelp Elite are pro diners that have hundreds of reviews under their belt. They tell me where the restaurant is missing the mark in terms of customer service and quality of the food. I then propose solutions and motivate staff to incorporate those changes into service immediately. The restaurants still look and feel the same, they’ve just been tweaked a little. The biggest transformation is the one that the restaurant owners go through. It’s magic when they realize that by being present and proactive you can very quickly increase customer satisfaction and your Yelp rating exponentially.

CQ: What does it mean to you to see your dream of hosting your own show come true?

MC: When I got the call that the series had been greenlit I fell to my knees and did my best not to cry so I wouldn’t freak out the person on the other end of the line. I failed miserably. It’s been my dream to have a show on Food Network since I was in broadcasting school. It’s been 17 years of working towards this moment and I couldn’t be more thankful. I feel like I won the Super Bowl!