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I’ve recently had a lot of extra time on my hands and find myself browsing “On Demand” television more than usual. It’s a slick idea and allows the viewer to find some shows that would be previously glazed over. I’ve been on a reality food television kick lately…yes, I watch both food television AND reality television…I’m man enough to admit it. Combining food television and reality television yields an interesting combination.
Jersey Shore and The Real World have it easy because the people on these shows are supposed to be dramatic. They are young, cocky and always drunk. Reality food television is a different story. No one wants to see a middle aged house wife cat fight with….well, another middle aged house wife. All joking aside, I’ve recently heard some disturbing things about a specific reality food show and the carnage it leaves behind.
Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares: Bars and restaurants have the highest rate of failure in the small business game…and Chef Ramsey’s here to help! For those of you who haven’t seen this show, Gordon visits failing restaurants in hopes of turning business around for the better. He overhauls the menu, gives the restaurant a make over, tosses in a few new appliances and helps create a buzz. Ramsey creates a buzz simply by showing up for the show and will pack each restaurant while he is there. I think it’s a little unfair because most of the restaurants aren’t used to being completely booked for lunch/dinner. Take a packed house and add a brand new menu with a few lazy/horrible cooks and you have the shows namesake…a kitchen nightmare.
It’s an inspirational/heart warming show on the surface. I got a little curious though…because after an occasional episode we are given an update about the restaurant how it has been doing since Chef Ramsey left. “Occasionally” is the keyword because there aren’t many of those updates. This is when I started searching these restaurants on Yelp and every one I’ve looked up has closed. Chef Ramsey is only at each restaurant for a week so it is no wonder the majority of these places can’t keep up the momentum. A week is just not long enough to break the bad habits of a bad restaurant.
It is safe to say that all of these restaurants are in serious debt…or else A) they wouldn’t be on the show or B) they wouldn’t be serving microwaved, week old steak. When Chef Ramsey conducts his famous menu overhaul, he focuses on fresh, locally sourced produce and meat. This is great in concept because that is what I would like to eat. But it is expensive and those types of products probably aren’t offered through cheaper food vendors. So once Ramsey leaves and the products he purchased run out, how are these restaurants supposed to afford to continue? I’m not a great “restaurant management mind” but I am going to assume the large discount food vendors (sysco?) offer credit. Which I doubt can be said for mom and pop farmers at a farm market offering farm fresh veggies and grass fed beef.
Once Ramsey leaves, these places are worse off because they were given a false sense of hope. They would have probably been better off closing down in the first place. Two Kitchen Nightmare restaurant owners have committed suicide! All because of debt and the fact that Kitchen Nightmares didn’t work. That is why I think the show should end. These restaurant owners are already depressed and in debt. They think that this show is going to magically save them but it’s pretty sad when it doesn’t work and Gordon Ramsey blows out of town never to return.