It's no secret that I'm quite addicted to food television. I like competitions [Iron Chef, Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, Around the World in 80 Plates (this one could have been better), Next Food Network Star, Next Iron Chef, Throwdown]. I like narrative stories (Fat Chef). I like makeovers & takeovers (more on that in a minute). I like travel shows (Diners, Drive-ins & Dives; Man vs. Food; Heat Seekers). It's pretty nuts. The thing that keeps my addiction in check is that I can't watch any of them on an empty stomach or I will eat us out of house and home.
Shockingly, though this addiction started with cooking shows (Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Tyler's Ultimate, Boy Meets Grill, Barefoot Contessa), I don't actually watch many of them anymore. I don't have the patience to sit through the half hour when I could just get the recipe and make it myself. They share good tips on the show that you won't get with the recipe but ehhh... it hasn't been worth it to me lately.
So my latest obsession is "3 Days to Open." I've come to the conclusion that every consecutive Bobby Flay endeavor will only serve to make me like him more. How awesome is he!?!? Very! The premise of this show is a struggling restaurant is opening in three days but is a complete and utter mess. He comes in to tell them all of the things they're doing that will lead to certain failure, then show them how to fix them. Pretty awesome. You can see how generous he is. These restaurants have many many things in common. Some of these things are so basic that the fact that they've missed them makes you think these people have probably never cooked for someone before, let alone eaten in a restaurant. It's so baffling that Mrs. Count (tumbleweed over there...) and I had a lengthy twitter conversation about how it would go if we had 3 Days to Open. It started with a basic, nay, obvious (?) statement and devolved from there. LOL
Mrs. C: Let me get this straight, your restaurant opens in 3 days and you haven't tested the menu yet? What exactly have you been doing?
Logic will get you NOWHERE! IF they have a menu, sometimes they don't have recipes or don't know how to cook, or have a chef, or...
Mrs. C: I think I'll open a nacho stand. In the mall. Next Friday. I'll start planning tomorrow.
Jameil: Okay... but don't research which mall until Tuesday. Forget to arrange care for [your one-year-old son] Judah, too.
These people always forget or completely ignore some basic details. Procrastination is awesome!
Mrs. C: And I'll get my parents to empty their retirement to fund my dreams! This is such a great plan!
Jameil: LOL! Don't forget to make your sister do all the work for free, without thanks.
There is a heavy reliance on other people. Of COURSE you need help from your family/friends but they are often asking way, WAY too much. There's also always at least one person working at the restaurant
(usually for free) who has no idea what his/her role is. These poor
people wander around wringing their hands and worrying over your poor
planning. Select this person as the one you treat the worst. They can
take it. After all, you're probably related! Family has to love you even
when you show your entire backside, don't they? At the very least, you
have carnal knowledge of the other person and that can usually get you
pretty far in any business, yes? Yes? Someone say yes. It must be true because I've seen it on tv!
Jameil: Before I sanction this, I need to make sure you're not working with anyone with any restaurant experience. Not so much as McD's.
Mrs. C: Not at all. My 10-year-old niece wants to be a chef. Can I get her to help me after school?
They never have restaurant experience and sometimes "hire" (remember to use this word loosely!) a bunch of other people who don't have restaurant experience.
Jameil: Yes! Make sure you mention this as part of your business plan!
Mrs. C: Business plan? I don't know what you mean.
Jameil: It's that napkin you wrote your restaurant ideas down on last night.
Mrs. C: Oh, I had to use that to wipe Judah's hands. I think I remember most of it anyway.
Jameil: No big deal. No one reads them anyway. Especially with your parents' money!
Unlike housing, it must still be really easy to get business loans. There is often little evidence that anyone has ever even heard of a business plan, let alone had to create one.
You would think knowing this formula, the show would be less interesting. IT NEVER IS. I have loved every episode for the crazy of the "restauranteurs" and the awesome of Bobby. And can you believe it? I still want most of them to succeed.