"Kitchen Nightmares" and "Bar Rescue" have a lot in common. Both series center around either a failing restaurant or bar that is typically facing issues with money or drama (or, in many cases, both), prompting the owner to call in help. On "Kitchen Nightmares," that help comes from chef Gordon Ramsay, while "Bar Rescue" sees Jon Taffer show up to save the day. But does their assistance make a meaningful difference?
The proverbial "big guns" are each equipped with no-nonsense attitudes and booming voices, which they demonstrate throughout the show. After observing staff and pinpointing some of their biggest problems, the business undergoes a complete makeover and menu revamp that is debuted to customers during a grand re-opening.
At the end of each episode, Ramsay and Taffer walk away from their respective reformed establishments with hope for a bright future ahead –- though it turns out that the futures of the businesses from one of these shows shine brighter than the other. In a 2021 study conducted by Indiana University-Purdue University of Columbus's Office of Student Research, researchers compared the current status of the bars and restaurants featured in the first four seasons of "Kitchen Nightmares" and "Bar Rescue," and found that the success rates from one program is significantly higher than the other, potentially settling the debate of which host's intervention methods are best.
Nearly Half The Restaurants On Kitchen Nightmares Close Within Two Years Of Filming
With more than 50 restaurants around the globe and 16 career Michelin stars, Gordon Ramsay certainly seems like the guy you'd want to have come in to save your failing restaurant. And in some senses, he is. As "Kitchen Nightmares" fans know, at the conclusion of each episode the British chef leaves the eatery he just helped with a flashy new look, a new menu penned by Ramsay himself, and a dining room full of happy customers. However, per IUPUC, all of that quickly disappears for many of the restaurants featured on the show.
According to the researcher's findings, nearly 25% of "Kitchen Nightmares" restaurants close their doors for good within just 12 months of filming. By the two year mark, that number stands at 50%. Ultimately, out of the 84 restaurants featured throughout the program's tenure, only 18 remain open, putting the success rate of "Kitchen Nightmares" at 21%. So what gives?
We know that Ramsay is a talented chef and business operator, but that doesn't necessarily mean the changes he makes during his time with each restaurant stick (see Barefoot Bob's Beach Grill). However, it seems that the real reason so many "Kitchen Nightmares" restaurants fail is that they were simply too far in the hole before Ramsay's arrival.
Bar Rescue Has A Much Higher Success Rate
Having debuted five years after "Kitchen Nightmares," some may consider "Bar Rescue" to be the younger brother to Gordon Ramsay's restaurant reform show. However, that doesn't mean that the Paramount series is living in its older sibling's shadow.
Despite all the similarities between the two programs, "Bar Rescue" outshines "Kitchen Nightmares" tremendously when it comes to success rate. In fact, according to IUPUC's study, only 25% of the bars that received aid from Jon Taffer during the first four seasons of "Bar Rescue" had shut down at the two-year post-filming mark, which certainly pales in comparison to the nearly 50% of "Kitchen Nightmares" eateries that close up shop within that same timeframe. Furthermore, of the 229 total bars featured on "Bar Rescue" from the series start in 2011 to now, 108 are still slinging drinks to customers, making the overall success rate of Taffer's interventions an impressive 47%.
It is unclear why "Bar Rescue" has a higher success rate than "Kitchen Nightmares", but we have a theory. In general, the markup on alcohol is much higher than the markup on food, meaning "Bar Rescue" establishments may have an easier path to becoming debt-free than their "Kitchen Nightmares" counterparts. Those curious if that creates any tension between the series' respective hosts need not worry, as there does not appear to be any beef between Taffer and Ramsay.
Read the original article on Mashed.