Could You Fix Your Failing Business With Just $10,000? On 'Restaurant Impossible,' top chef Robert Irvine swoops into town with a $10,000 materials budget and remakes failing restaurants. Here's why sometimes, even this splash of TV publicity and a quick fix-up isn't enough.

By Carol Tice

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Could You Fix Your Failing Business With Just 10000

On the Food Network's reality show Restaurant Impossible, top chef Robert Irvine blows into town and spends two days and just $10,000 in materials to revamp restaurants that are on their last gasp.

On a recent episode, Irvine and his crew worked on Valley View restaurant in rural Pennsylvania. The 28-year-old establishment was decrepit, sporting moldering ceiling panels and peeling Formica. Nearly everything served was frozen and nearly inedible. The crew transformed the place into a light, cheery eatery with a menu of fresh, delicious food.

It seemed like a miraculous turnaround for a failing business. The owner, grandma Ann Kilgore, had sacrificed her entire retirement savings -- $1.25 million -- to keep the restaurant afloat over the past five years. But an update on the show's site revealed how the story ended sadly.

At first, things seemed to go well in the months after the show taped. Valley View installed Kilgore's granddaughter, Kelly Wilson, as the general manager and hired a new chef.

But on March 8, Kilgore pulled the plug, and the restaurant closed. Fans reacted with nearly 800 heated comments on the show site, some accusing Kilgore of using the show as a way to clean up the business for a quick sale.

But there may be a sad truth here: when you've already sunk $1 million or more into a failing business, you may not have any more resources left. And $10,000 in new paint and upholstery may not be enough to save it. It seems like that's what happened here.

I think these shows are great for entrepreneurs to watch, because viewers get a chance to see turnaround experts' ideas for refreshing a business. But for the businesses featured on the shows, the outcome is more uncertain.

Do you think a TV show can turn around a failing business? Leave a comment and let us know.

Carol Tice

Owner of Make a Living Writing

Longtime Seattle business writer Carol Tice has written for Entrepreneur, Forbes, Delta Sky and many more. She writes the award-winning Make a Living Writing blog. Her new ebook for Oberlo is Crowdfunding for Entrepreneurs.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Science & Technology

Save Nearly $400 on This 13-Course Excel, VBA, and Data Science Bundle

Pick up this e-learning bundle for $35, this week only.

Growing a Business

How to Regain Your Passion for Your Business — And How to Keep It Alive

Is your passion fading? Here's how to create a business model centered around keeping your passion alive and well.

Science & Technology

4 Reasons Why Your Customer Service Is About to Get a Whole Lot Better in 2024

As the technology powering AI customer support jumps to the next level, the quality of service will greatly improve.

Management

The 4 Pros and Cons of Being a Part-Time CEO

The idea of a part-time CEO is gaining traction. But before you make the switch, here are some pros and cons to consider.

Business News

Want to Start a Billion-Dollar Business? Look to These Two Industries, Which Have the Most Unicorn Growth

During a tough fundraising year overall last year, the value of cybersecurity and AI unicorns saw double-digit growth.

Business News

'I Want a Free Month': Thousands of Customers Furious at AT&T After Widespread Outages

The carrier has not yet disclosed the root cause of the issue.