How long does it take the average restaurant to start making money? How long before the average restaurant tries its hand at branching out into other cities? How long before a restaurant can truly be gauged as a failure or success? For Soul Daddy – brainchild of Jamawn Woods and a committee of judges, and the winner of reality TV competition America’s Next Great Restaurant – investors only gave it eight weeks before calling it a loss and throwing in the towel. Two weeks ago, we reported on the closing of Soul Daddy’s New York City and Los Angeles locations, exactly six weeks after opening on May 3. Today, we report on the final shutdown of Soul Daddy at Minnesota’s Mall of America.
Soul Daddy released this official statement in regards to its closing: “After careful consideration and a thorough review of its performance, we have decided to close Soul Daddy at the Mall of America. This was a difficult decision for us, as we wanted to see Soul Daddy succeed, but the restaurant simply was not performing as we had hoped. We'd like to thank all of the customers who tried our restaurants and the people who worked hard to try to make the restaurants succeed.”
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When the first two restaurants closed, the party line was that Soul Daddy was currently spread too thin, and was going to focus efforts on making just the one location at Mall of America the best that it could be. Is two additional weeks enough time to make that happen? Doubtful, but everything from locations (soul food in LA, NYC, and Minnesota – why no southern Soul Daddy locations, too logical?) to the concept that pushed Woods away from his true soul food roots and down a contradictory and much-maligned “healthy soul food” path paints this project as doomed from the start. Let this be a lesson to anyone considering the reality TV path to success – it may be a roller-coaster fast track, but the price isn’t always worth the ride.