NBC’s recent reality series, America’s Next Great Restaurant, wasn’t a success in the ratings and was cancelled after one season. Fortunately, the TV series lasted long enough to to see a winner crowned on May 1st.
Jamawn Woods, the owner of a small Detroit catering business, won with his concept for a healthy soul food restaurant called Soul Daddy. As the prize from the show, Woods’ eatery opened for business in three locations — Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis (in the Mall of America). Some of the investment money for the restaurants supposedly came from the show’s judges — Chipotle founder Steve Ells, and chefs Lorena Garcia, Curtis Stone, and Bobby Flay.
Now, it looks like two of the locations haven’t lasted any longer than the seven episode series. Both the New York and Los Angeles branches of Soul Daddy have already closed, after just six weeks in business.
According to a statement from the restaurants’ public relations group, “The realities of running a restaurant are very difficult, more so with multiple locations in multiple cities. After a careful review of the business model and the performance of the restaurants, we have decided that our best opportunity for Soul Daddy’s success is to focus our efforts on establishing a solid footing in one location, building the brand, and developing the operations from there.”
The statement continues, “We have decided to close our restaurants at Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles and the South Street Seaport in New York, effective June 14, and focus on developing the best restaurant we can at the Mall of America restaurant in Bloomington, Minnesota. While it has certainly been a difficult decision, we believe this is the best approach as we work towards ongoing success for Soul Daddy.”
What do you think? Is Soul Daddy a good idea for a restaurant? A better idea than the reality show? Would you eat there?