Saturday, June 14, 2014

Restaurant Reality TV Shows-the real reality?

The reality of  the restaurant business is that it is not an easy business to be in.  While food and restaurants have become more "sexy" in recent years with the celeberty factor adding to the interest, it still remains a high risk venture in business terms.

That risk, along with passionate chefs, owners and staff make for great TV.   Its no wonder that reality television has had an easy time creating show concepts over the past decade or so.

The newest crop of shows are a combination of the success of entrepreneurial shows such as Shark Tank, and Bar Rescue.

The two main competing shows are Hungry Investors and Restaurant Startup.  

Hungry Investors on SPIKE stars Bar Rescue's John Taffer, Tiffany Derry and our home grown favorite chef, John Besh.  Restaurant Startup stars people you have not heard of, but has the backing of the financial infotainment giant, CNBC.

So are these shows really showing the reality of the restaurant business?  Can TV really show the pain, work and stress it takes to run a successful restaurant?  Not to mention the money: the money it takes to survive and the loss of money when things don't go as planned.

All we see are the emotions of the people in the show. Which is compelling, but, the "real reality" is that when a restaurant does not make it, a lot of people suffer.   Staff, cooks, waiters, bus boys, suppliers, lenders, and landlords.  Sadly, lawyers may make some money, but a lot of people loose. 
Even the restaurants who do manage to make it can struggle causing strained relationships and stress, which IS the reality of the restaurant business.

And even the shows themselves don't always make it.  Remember NBC's Restaurant, featuring Rocco's restaurant and America's Next Great Restaurant. Both were canceled.

But shows like this are important and serve a purpose. Demonstrating the inner workings of a business is important and educational.  They are also inspiring and they contribute to the entrepreneurial spirit that our country was founded on.  I only wish they came with a warning lable.

***The author of this article should be given credit for staying away from using food, cooking and restaurant cliche's and puns. They were very difficult NOT to use.   I could have sprinkled every sentence to give it an extra kick, but in the end it would have been half-baked and lacking in flavor.

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