The restaurant business is a notably fickle friend - the kind of industry that starts as a passion and sounds like a fun job but eventually can turn to turmoil. According to a 2003 study from Ohio State University, 26 percent of restaurants will close their doors during their first year, and over 60 percent will be defunct after three years. So, who would want to invest in such a venture? Enter the new CNBC show Restaurant Startup and famous restaurateurs Joe Bastianich and Tim Love, which premieres tonight (July 8) at 10 p.m.
Blending together the typical restaurant reality show format with real-life investment deals, Restaurant Startup is half old Food Network show 24 Hour Restaurant, half fellow CNBC program Shark Tank.
The premise is simple: two teams of three pitch their restaurant ideas to Bastianich and Love and after much debate and intense questioning, the two chefs pick one team to move on to round two. Then, the team of three has 36 hours and $7500 to refine their restaurant idea from décor to a logo to a new menu item or two for a pop-up restaurant. Along with a new business plan, the hopeful businesspeople then re-pitch their idea to Bastianich and Love, who will then decide to invest in the restaurant together or separately.
And the stakes are real... the money is coming right from Bastianch's and Love's bank accounts. By the end of season one, the duo had invested over seven figures, according to a recent conference call interview. So don't just call this another Restaurant Impossible.
"At the end of the day a restaurant is very much a hard-driving business where a restaurateur has to be able to do a little bit of everything. You have to be jack of all trades and I think the show brings that to life," said Bastianich. "And I think it's certainly different than any other food show on TV, even ones that I do because it is very much a business show and about us investing real dollars."
The process of opening a new restaurant is in full force in the premiere episode, where three men from Seattle attempt to bring an Asian food congee to the United States via their squid-themed eatery Kraken Congee. The trio nearly breaks under the pressure of attempting to open a new restaurant, with their family, money and passion on the line, just for a bit of money and a chance to breakthrough into the culinary world... because this is real life.
"I mean it's not - this is not a - it's so unstaged that it's like frustrating for everybody else because Joe and I are like, wait a minute, I don't want to get out of this deal yet. I want to see if I still may want some of this," said Love.
"It's really compelling and I hope that it comes across that way, you know, in the edits and stuff because, you know, when you're investing $150,000, $300,000, $500,000 in something it's no joke and, you know, not only we're making somebody's dream come true but I could also crush my own dream like handing off the wrong money."
That doesn't mean Restaurant Startup is all business and numbers - that would not make for compelling television, something that Bastianich and Love are aware of. So, in typical reality show fashion, a few wrenches are thrown into the process, such as surprise cooking challenges and that intense 36-hour time crunch.
"We put a time limit on there because you got to realize we are producing a TV show so we got to give them some sort of challenges," said Love. "And it also shows Joe and I what they're capable of doing -- how they handle pressure, can they make things happen. I mean that's a big deal for me when I'm looking at whether or not I want to put some money into their concept. I need to be sure these guys are capable of handling things under pressure. And so the show allows us to really push them to their limits and then it helps us make the decision of whether or not it's a viable investment for us."
Plus, the show is a lesson in the food world.
There's congee, a type of Asian rice porridge that can be complimented with meat and vegetables, but that's not all the culinary duo learns about. There are also reportedly s'mores and "savory waffle cones" in upcoming episodes, two foods that aren't typically high class, but who knows what the next culinary trend could be?
That's what Bastianich and Love hope to discover starting tonight on CNBC at 10 p.m.. For more information on Restaurant Startup, visit the show's website here.© 2019 Mstars News, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.