Last week, Gordon Ramsay wrapped up his Kitchen Nightmares
transformation of Anna Vincenzo's, an Italian "pizza and" joint in east Boca Raton. As we reported, the celeb chef stopped in on Thursday afternoon
to treat a crowd to a pizza contest starring athletes and commentators
from local sports teams, and returned later that evening to relaunch
the restaurant's redesigned menu and layout. I mentioned then that my main problem with Ramsay's
Americanized program is it's light on food and restaurant information,
but layers on the salty drama like a diner with shot taste buds. But the goal is noble at least: doesn't Ramsay just want to help these restaurants and the people behind them succeed?
Probably. But he's not really doing a great job of it. Numerous reports around the web indicated that over half of the restaurants Ramsay has overhauled for the program have either sold or closed up shop, some within days of him leaving the scene. Now, the Telegraph UK is reporting that Ramsay's own restaurant empire may be in dire straits. With profits crashing and a number of its restaurants having been shuttered in the past year, Gordon Ramsay Holdings - which operates over 27 restaurants around the globe - is in regrouping mode. Adding to the nightmare, the company is reportedly having trouble paying its creditors and suppliers.
Ramsay is already in the defensive, talking about strategicly restructuring (read: closing) some of his international restaurants and injecting five million pounds of his own money into the firm. But critics suggest that Ramsay's hands-off approach is hurting his business. Instead of focusing on his own brands, the chef's international deals and extensive time spent filming television shows like Kitchen Nightmares has stretched him thin.
I'm sure the first bit of advice Ramsay had for the owners of Anna Vincenzo's wasn't, "Find someone semi-competent to run your business for you, then just stop in every few months to see how things are doing." Clean Plate Charlie wonders if celebrity chefs who churn out
restaurants as if they were just another luke-warm plate flung out of
the kitchen will ever learn that, without them actually in the restaurant, it's not really their restaurant.