by Ryan Anderes
Reality shows have dominated our cable TV ratings for some time now. I personally never thought that they would last, but boy was I wrong.
Shortly after the success of other reality TV shows, it wasn't long before there was a reality show about almost every industry there is... from home repair and wild life hunting to cupcakes and the Kardashians. The trend eventually seeped into the restaurant industry as well.
I remember specifically the start of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. I never did watch the show just because I'm not much of a reality TV believer. In my opinion, there is no such thing because most assuredly, there is a script that accompanies every episode. So, how real can it be?
Here at the Uptown, many of our staff including Ray and Chef Chris all said they watched an episode or two before quickly tuning out, declaring the show very, very, very unrealistic. Here we are 10 years later, and I just caught wind of an article that said 61% of the restaurants that Gordan Ramsay saved are now closed.
There are two ways you can look at this statistic. The first is that if a restaurant does need someone to come in and "save" them, they are probably beyond repair anyway. So by that rationale, a 39% save rate isn't that bad and you could call Gordon Ramsay and the show an amazing success story.
The second thought plays into my opinion that reality TV is anything but real. Throw a highly successful, worldly-talented chef into the name and premise of a reality TV show, and boom - you have ratings that support a 10+ year run. But on the other side of the television... back here in the real world (not to be confused with an MTV "reality" show of the same name), the failure rate still remains 61%.
I believe the moral here is that there may be some good things that come out of a show like this. But for the most part, it is highly unrealistic. Once a restaurant - or any business for that matter - gets to the point of needing to be rescued, the problems most likely run rampant. The saving grace of a celebrity is often too little, too late.
Usually the business has faltered from ownership on top to the lowest paid employee on the bottom. It takes everyone pulling on the same chain to survive in this economy. And when you start over, you need to start over with the right people in place or - as the show has proved - you won't be long for success.
After all, chef Gordon can't be around 100% of the time. A successful business owner has to be. And those who aren't 100% invested in a turn-around just might find themselves on the wrong end of the 61%. View the listing here.