How much do reality shows really help? Beyond the publicity, how far does that coveted cash prize really go toward launching the business of your dreams? While some savvy entrepreneurs are able to turn that time in the spotlight into a booming career (Project Runway’s Christian Siriano comes to mind), others may need a little more help than a panel of celebrity hosts can give. Jamawn Woods’ restaurant Soul Daddy seems to be on the fast track to becoming another reality show casualty – the soul food joint launched only a month ago, immediately after being named the winner of America’s Next Great Restaurant, but already it is closing the doors on two of its three locations.
“The realities of running a restaurant are very difficult, more so with multiple locations in multiple cities,” reads an official statement from Soul Daddy’s PR company. “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. 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.”
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At least a solid, agreed-upon cash prize is yours to keep no matter what. With America’s Next Great Restaurant, the prize was three restaurants and the investment of industry celebs like Curtis Stone and Bobby Flay. While the closings are no doubt due in part to middling reviews in towns where you have to be great to make an impression, immediate shutdown rather than menu tweaks and investment of more time makes us wonder how much backing Jamawn Woods and Soul Daddy really received. Hopefully it is able to find success at Mall of America where it couldn’t on the streets of LA and New York.