Whether owned by athlete or actor, writer or rapper, plenty of celebrity-backed and athlete-owned restaurants go on to be, if not hits, at least moderate to decent successes. And there are occasional stars, like Robert De Niro, who, except for the occasional miss (read: the New York outpost of Ago), pretty much seem to have the restaurant business (or good luck) down pat (Locanda Verde, Nobu, and Tribeca Grill). Then there are those big names who are just outright failures at the restaurant game.
Eva Longoria is experiencing the perils of the restaurant business firsthand. Just this week it was reported that restaurant and casino operator Landry's Restaurants Inc. has stepped in to prevent the closure of the Vegas location of Beso, the Latin-inspired steakhouse she opened with Chef Todd English. The restaurant has reportedly been operating in bankruptcy since January, and was forced to close temporarily last month to save money after losing more than $76,000 per month.
Be it hubris, poor business advisors, or just the feeling of omnipotence that comes with the extension of celebrities' 15 minutes, the annals of restaurant lore are littered with celebrity-backed restaurant failures. Turns out there's a little more to creating and owning a successful restaurant than coming up with a catchy name, picking the chef, and telling him or her to put your favorite sandwich on the menu. Go figure.
You'll remember the notorious flops. Nyla, Britney Spears' New York City eatery, is one of the first restaurants mentioned anytime the subject of celebrity-backed restaurant disasters gets raised. No surprise, considering the problems, debts, and issues that accompanied Nyla during Pinky's six-month involvement with it. Others, like Steven Spielberg's Dive!, a submarine concept, are corny fails that, while epically bad, may not as readily come to mind.
So, because schadenfreude isn't really fun unless celebrity and large amounts of misdirected money are involved, here are ten great examples of why famous people who don't know as much as they think they do about food should stay out of the restaurant business.