Putting Your Restaurant On A Reality Show About Cruddy Eateries Probably Won’t Save It

knGoing on a reality television show likely won’t fix all of your restaurant’s shortcomings, even if a hot-headed chef uses all the profanities in the world. Just ask the owners of half the restaurants to be featured on Gordon Ramsay’s now-defunct Kitchen Nightmares. Here’s a hint, their eateries are now defunct, too.

A new report by Grub Street New York found that nearly 60% of the restaurants that appeared on Kitchen Nightmares are now closed and nearly 30% of those restaurants closed within one year of being featured on television.

In all, Kitchen Nightmares featured 77 restaurants in its seven seasons on the air. Of those, 47 restaurants closed, 23 of them within the first year of their episode airing.

The closure rate really isn’t that bad considering The National Restaurant Association estimates about 30% of restaurants close within the first year of operation and another 30% close in the second year.

And to be fair the restaurants featured on Ramsay’s show were already struggling for a number of reasons. Not to mention a good chunk of the earlier episodes were filmed during the depths of the recession.

In fact, only one restaurant from the first two seasons, which aired between 2007-2009, is still currently in operation.

On the flip side, Ramsay was able to contribute (maybe) to the operation of at least 30 restaurants that still serve customers today.

One of the surviving restaurants happens to be the infamous Amy’s Baking Company of Scottsdale, AZ, which proved to be one of the most memorable establishments featured on the show.

The company, whose episode aired during the sixth season of the show, first gained recognition in 2010 when a paranoid, unhinged rant aimed at a man who posted a one-star review about an undercooked pizza went viral.

Three years later the company was featured on a Kitchen Nightmares episodes in which Ramsay walked away from the makeover – a first for the series. The bakery owners then went on a sensationally terrible media blitz that included canceling press conferences, kicking out reporters and calling for an end to Reddit.

Kitchen Nightmares isn’t the only show that sets out to whip restaurant owners into shape. The Food Network show Restaurant: Impossible, hosted by chef Robert Irvine takes an admittedly less anger-filled approach to turning around restaurants.

According to the Food Network Gossip blog, 54 of the 98 restaurants to be featured on that show are currently open with the same owners, four of the restaurants have been sold but remain open.

But it’s not just your locally owned restaurant that faces challenges, even celebrity-owned establishments have a difficult time making it in this cruel foodie world.

Graham Elliot, Ramsay’s co-host on FOX’s food competition show MasterChef, recently shut down his Greenwich, CT, restaurant after just six months in business.

Over 60 Percent of the Restaurants on ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ Are Now Closed [Grub Street]

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  1. CzarChasm says:

    I’m not surprised, the restaurant business is tough, even if you have a good idea and good management. Every one of these places was in trouble going into the show, some of them had lost millions of dollars already, that’s tough to come back from. Plus some of those managers were clearly incompetent, and shouldn’t be running a frozen banana stand.

    The fact that even some of them have survived shows that most likely his advice was helpful. I would be interested to know from those that lasted, whether or not they thought his advice helped, and if they were still following it.

  2. OrionBFury says:

    One of his most common words of advice is that star power won’t save a place, neither will quality or price or anything else. For a restaurant to survive, all of these things must come together just right. He had opened a place in his hometown, and it sunk. These places are already on their way out, being on these shows is a hail mary. It doesn’t work, no big surprise, but if it does, it’ll be like catching lightning in a bottle.