Really it came down to that and as soon as I realized it, it was easy to determine who won.
We have Indian places too BUT they are all northern Indian cuisine with curry featured very heavily on the menu. Not a single one of them serves what Spice Coast was proposing. While I would have invested in Soul Daddy, I would have eaten at Spice Coast. Personal taste doesn't always add up to where one is willing to put their money. Soul Daddy guy had more drive and passion.
There was this place down home in Louisiana that was a little hole-in-the-wall, it served soul food and even though it was in a bad part of town and you had to worry about whether your car would still be there when you were done eating, the place was always packed. When it burned down after a storm, we all mourned it's loss.
I think that while southern cooking is unhealthy, that the fact that places like Hardees and Bo Jangles/Popeyes that aren't exactly known for having healthy food are so successful that it will do fine.
Checked out some of the reviews for the three locations on Yelp, and while I don't hold Yelp reviews in the highest regard there is something to be said for what the average Joe has to say about these places, especially since that is who will be eating there.
The California location got the best reviews. Perhaps because the "Soul Daddy" himself was at this location. The food, for the most part, well liked at this location. Seemed to be an overall agreement that it lived up to what people thought it would be. Only one reviewer was underwhelmed.
The NY location had the most complaints. Food that dried out under the heat lamps. Portion size was a huge complaint, as was price. Service was up and down depending upon the time you were there.
The Mall of America location suffered from heat lamp complaints as well. Service was appreciated, $2 parking at the mall was not (though that is not the fault of the restaurant).
At all three restaurants the cornbread waffle seemed to be a hit, as were the cheese grits. The biscuits as well. A common complaint seemed to be the oversized wheat bun on the pulled pork sandwiches. Plates seem to average $10 and up for what is described as a small plate of food. The wild rice salad seemed to be well recieved. The ribs, when not under the lamp too long, were described as tender, but again a very small portion.
Seems like perhaps 3 restaurants were to much to handle for a first timer out the gate. The one where he was there to oversee operations seemed to get great reviews, the others, just meh.
It was only day one. Hopefully he will be able to work out the tweeks. Common things to work on, according to the reviews, is to watch how long the food sits under the lamps, portion size, people want fried chicken and waffles on the menu. They like healthy options, but they don't really want the food police around. They want some more traditional soul food out there as well.
I know the area that the NY location is in pretty well. Tons of competition for the food dollar around there. some of those places offer quite a bit of food for under $10, including the beloved fried chicken that they are seeking. He needs to listen to what the customers say and address their concerns if he wants to be around for a while.
Sounds like those 2 locations need a better manager.
I would have thought that the "investors" would have more of a hand in it, guess it's just another show where once the competition is over then the winner is tossed out with the rubbish.
I don't blame the Soul Daddy guy, he is inexperienced, I blame the "investors" who should have been there to advise and help him when it came to setting up the three places and managing them.