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What does a Paris cafe have to do with art marketing?

ACE blog 1/2/2010
Happy New Year!

I watched a recent episode of “Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares”.  If you have ever watched this show, you will know that chef Gordon Ramsey’s job is to come in to failing restaurants and figure out what can be done to make them be successful. He evaluates, shake things up, re-groups and gets the restaurant back on its feet and in the black.  But to stay in the black and make a profit is the continuing job of the owner or manager.

In this episode, a young woman had a vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Paris and she was losing money daily. A lot of money. She loved the idea of having her own restaurant in Paris-the WOW factor.  She had a hard working best friend waiting the tables, an apparently useless chef and a father who had financed the whole thing.  But in watching this, I knew within minutes that this young woman was going to fail no matter what Ramsey did.  It became obvious as the show progressed that she did not want to do what was going to be required. Work hard. Ramsey replaced the chef, changed the menu and the crowds came in. The woman’s father was delighted but cautious-he knew his daughter’s attitude had to change.

For many of us, seeing the crowds line up, the money come in and having a new chef with everything under control and a father footing the bills would be all that would be needed to be a roaring success. But after Ramsey left, the momentum slipped away and the owner was back to where she was beforehand.  When Ramsey returned just several weeks later to check her progress, she had decided to quit, leaving her father holding the debts and her new chef (who was terrific) winding up working for Ramsey. And that’s how the show ended, the woman striding off the set in a huff and leaving her father and Ramsey to just shake their heads.

What went wrong here?  Lack of money? Hard work? Stress? No. What went wrong was  her attitude. To reach a goal you have to know what that goal is. And to attain it, you have to be prepared to work hard. If you do not know what you want, how can you achieve it?

There’s a great lesson in this story. Although it seems to have nothing to do with art, it has everything to do with an art career.

Do you have what it takes?

1 comment to What does a Paris cafe have to do with art marketing?

  • ace

    A couple of points from this story:
    She had nothing invested in the restaurant. Nothing to lose.

    I did not see the entire episode, just a scene here and there, but the second lesson I take from this would be: being a restaurant owner and running a restaurant are two different animals. Walking amongst the tables, greeting customers, chatting with friends, picking up tabs might be what a “restaurant owner” does in the movies, on tv or in the mind of the casual observer, however anyone who has worked in a restaurant knows this is far from the truth. It is hard, never ending work.

    As artists we have to come to grips with the fact that making a living as an artist has nothing in common with “living the artist’s life” as portrayed in books, movies etc. It is hard never ending work, only since you are doing what you love and using you talent and skills, it is not work at all.