Why were we not surprised by the Soul Daddy closures?
The America's Next Great Restaurant "prize" went against all these principles. It seemed overly ambitious, if not crazy. I had hoped the investors planned to back the winner with large amounts of capital, necessary to open and sustain an un-tested concept in a new market. Perhaps each investor would "adopt" a location with capital and consulting, for example Steve Ells backs Soul Daddy LA, and Bobby Flay backs Soul Daddy NYC.
But, alas, it appears that was not the case. And now, the real victim in this fiasco is Jamawn Woods. We're pretty sure Steve Ells, Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone and Lorena Garcia have other projects and investments to fall back on.
Throughout the duration of the airing of America's Next Great Restaurant, restaurant industry experts weighed in with concerns about the prize, expressing the difficulties associated with opening three restaurants in three very different markets at the same time.
Eater.com covered the Soul Daddy closures and issued the following statement from the investors:
"The realities of running a restaurant are very difficult, more so with multiple locations in multiple cities. After a careful review of the business model and the performance of the restaurants, we have decided that our best opportunity for Soul Daddy's success is to focus our efforts on establishing a solid footing in one location, building the brand, and developing the operations from there. We have decided to close our restaurants at Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles and the South Street Seaport in New York, effective June 14, and focus on developing the best restaurant we can at the Mall of America restaurant in Bloomington, Minnesota. While it has certainly been a difficult decision, we believe this is the best approach as we work towards ongoing success for Soul Daddy."
Fransmart wishes Jamawn success in keeping his concept alive. We think there is definitely a market for soul-food, especially for a concept with a health-conscious twist. Perhaps the remaining Mall of America location in Minneapolis will serve as a legitimate launching point for the concept. The final verdict is not yet in... Was "America's Next Great Restaurant" just another experiment in exploiting an average citizen with dreams on reality TV? Or, will the show's investors indeed follow through, and commit time and capital to helping Soul Daddy thrive from a new home-base in Minneapolis.
As Founder and CEO of Fransmart, Dan Rowe has turned dozens of emerging restaurant concepts into national and global chains. Mr. Rowe is a franchisee, master franchisee, franchisor, consultant, strategist, and private equity investor. He has published several expert opinion articles and spoken at numerous restaurant and franchise industry conferences. Connect with Dan Rowe on LinkedIn
As Fransmart's Vice President of Marketing, Kristin Martonik directs the global franchise marketing strategy for Fransmart’s portfolio brands. She has led franchise marketing for more than twenty regional, national and global chains. Connect with Kristin Martonik on LinkedIn
As Vice President of Fransmart, Al Rowe matches qualified franchise candidates with innovative franchise opportunities. Mr. Rowe specializes in international franchise development, and has spearheaded the growth of multiple US-based chains in high-growth international markets. Connect with Al Rowe on LinkedIn
As a Senior Director of Development, Paul Tran manages the Fransmart's emerging concepts division and is involved in recruiting franchise operators, raising capital, and territory development. Connect with Paul Tran on LinkedIn
As the Vice President of Operations for Fransmart, Kathy Thombs works closely with new franchise candidates, franchisors and the Fransmart development team to ensure seamless and successful new franchise partnerships. Her areas of expertise include franchise compliance including federal and state franchise regulations, marketing research and strategy, analytics, and customer relationship management systems. Connect with Kathy Thombs on LinkedIn.
As a Senior Director of Development, Ryan Durishin helps food operators build wealth by expanding their portfolio with high growth, emerging restaurant brands. Ryan is also a Master Franchisee for Tossed in the Washington, DC Metro market. Connect with Ryan Durishin on LinkedIn
Mark Treptow is a Director of Franchise Development at Fransmart, and founding shareholder in a privately held QSR concept. Connect with Mark Treptow on LinkedIn