Food & Drink

Most Restaurants 'Saved' By Gordon Ramsay's 'Kitchen Nightmares' Are Now Closed

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 02:  Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay looks on as he prepares the food for the opening party in his maze Restaurant at the new One&Only Cape Town resort on April 2, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa. Today is the Grand Opening of Sol Kerzner's first hotel in his home country since 1992. The 130 room property is One&Only's first Urban resort and sits in the fashionable Waterfront district. Celebrities from all over the world including Mariah Carey, Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Thandie Newton, Marisa Tomei will attend the event. Gordon Ramsay will be launching his first restaurant in Africa at the resort, Maze and Robert De Niro will be opening Nobu. Nelson Mandela will be attending an intimate luncheon at Maze on Friday to celebrate his long-standing relationship with Mr. Kerzner.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 02: Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay looks on as he prepares the food for the opening party in his maze Restaurant at the new One&Only Cape Town resort on April 2, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa. Today is the Grand Opening of Sol Kerzner's first hotel in his home country since 1992. The 130 room property is One&Only's first Urban resort and sits in the fashionable Waterfront district. Celebrities from all over the world including Mariah Carey, Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Thandie Newton, Marisa Tomei will attend the event. Gordon Ramsay will be launching his first restaurant in Africa at the resort, Maze and Robert De Niro will be opening Nobu. Nelson Mandela will be attending an intimate luncheon at Maze on Friday to celebrate his long-standing relationship with Mr. Kerzner. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Most episodes of reality shows about rescuing troubled businesses -- "Kitchen Nightmares," "Bar Rescue," "Tabatha Takes Over" -- follow a story arc as reassuringly predictable as those in "Law & Order." In the first act, the ornery expert comes into the business and finds a plethora of problems. In the second act, the expert tries to convince the business owner to change, but outside advice is resisted. And in the third act, the business owner finally sees the error of their ways, follows the host's advice and finds tremendous success.

But what happens after the cameras stop rolling? In the case of Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares," at least, the restaurants often fail.

We know this because the straightforwardly named "Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares Blog" tracks the success and failure of restaurants after they appear on the show. The blog's careful research reveals that a whopping 61 percent of all the restaurants that have ever been "saved" by Gordon Ramsay are now closed.

Unsurprisingly, the failure rate is highest for restaurants that were featured on the show longest ago; all but two of the restaurants on the first two seasons of the American "Kitchen Nightmares" are now closed. And just six of the 21 restaurants featured on the British version, which ended in 2009, remain open. Of those six survivors, just three are still owned by the same people who owned them when Ramsay stormed through their kitchens.

The restaurant business is notoriously tough, so we shouldn't be too surprised that some place that was open and struggling back in 2004, when the U.K. "Kitchen Nightmares" premiered, has since shuttered. But it does take some of the magic out of shows like this. Then again, perhaps we should have stopped believing in that type of magic long ago.

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