Fans of Gordon Ramsay’s reality series Kitchen Nightmares know the formula: a restaurant that once experienced a heyday where the customers lined up in droves is now at a crisis moment. The tables are empty, the staff are fighting, owners are in debt, and there is usually a side order of family drama — and rotting food in the basement. Ramsay shows up to provide a much-needed intervention. By the end of the episode, the relationships are mended, and the restaurant has experienced a complete overhaul: new menu, ambiance, and, sometimes, a new chef.
Now, as Ramsay announced that Nightmares is coming to an end, it seems the formula worked less than the majority of the time. Grub Street reports that 60 percent of the restaurants that appeared on Nightmares are now closed. Looking at the 77 restaurants featured in the U.S. version of the show over its entire run, Grub discovered that only 30 are still open. By that criteria, Nightmares had a success rate of 38.86 percent.
In Ramsay’s website message that announced the end of the U.K. and American versions of the show, Ramsay admitted the show’s shortcomings as a cure-all for a restaurant in trouble when he gave an overview of its history, stating he’d been “meeting and trying to help, or in some cases failing to help, some of the most weird and wonderful people.”
Whatever the reason for stopping production on Kitchen Nightmares, according to the Globe and Mail, ratings were not the problem. The show pulled in impressive numbers in both the U.K. and America. However, as the Globe notes, Fox has four other Gordon Ramsay series on the schedule: Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, MasterChef Junior and Hotel Hell. The network may simply want a fresh face on its prime time schedule. There was also recent speculation, according the Mirror in the U.K., that Ramsay plans to leave Channel 4 in Britain upon his contract expiry and sign with a competing network.
Ramsay was chided by U.K. presenter Jonathan Ross, who pleaded with Ramsay to not stop production of Nightmares, using an expletive-laced tweet. Ramsay tweeted back, encouraging Ross to take it over and do his own series: “You make them! Wossy’s Teppanyaki nightmares!”
Ramsay’s official announcement stated that the U.S. version of Nightmares just finished airing its last season, its seventh. According to Grub Street, the restaurant featured in its finale episode, Bella Luna in Easton, Pennsylvania, closed three-and-a-half months after filming concluded.
[Gordon Ramsay/Kitchen Nightmares Image: Fox]