Things I Learned From “Kitchen Nightmares”

Kitchen Nightmares
Kitchen Nightmares

Gordon Ramsey, the super duper chef and Fox network star, has a show called, “Kitchen Nightmares.” I watched an episode last night. Its about what you’d expect from a Fox reality show – a slow motion train wreck from which your eyes cannot be pried away.

Nevertheless, I watched it.

It featured a pizzeria owner who had a failing and tragically flawed restaurant which was entirely supported by his wife’s income. The owner prided himself on his stubbornness and his ability to do anything he set his mind to. He had dreams of turning his establishment’s business model into a global franchise.

He kept running this restaurant for two and a half years. Some might admire his persistence. I think he probably would have learned a lot more about building a successful business by failing spectacularly, rather than throwing time and money at a losing proposition. As best as I can tell, successful people take risks. Throwing good money after a bad proposition just doesn’t seem risky or brave.

My thought: When your business doesn’t make money, its just a hobby. An expensive and time consuming hobby. A friend once referred to this as “feeding the beast,” when your business turns from a money making proposition to something that will eat your savings, free time, mortgage, second mortgage, and marriage. (Thanks anonymous!)

This may seem contradictory to my prior post where I quoted, “do what you love and the money will follow.” Now, I may be a victim of Fox’s incredible ability to edit footage, but that guy didn’t seem to love what he was doing. He seemed to love the idea of what he was doing – playing at being a chef and restaurateur. The reality of his situation seemed to be escaping him.

I’m rather lucky with this little hobby/business of mine. There is no beast to feed. I have no office, no staff, no programmers, no graphic design team, and no ad department.1 Of course, I did have a significant upfront time investment. But, I said I didn’t want to talk about that. :)

Perhaps that trite phrase is better stated as, “do what you love and the money won’t matter.”

Look at me waxing all philosophic!

  1. Reminds me of the song “Turning Japanese” by “The Vapors.” []

Workers' Compensation Defense Attorney Certified Specialist Workers Compensation Law California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization Managing Attorney of Purinton, Jimenez, Labo & Wu, LLP

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