Here's one person's opinion: Rocco may be America's sweetheart and a master chef, but doesn't know a thing about managing restaurants. Else, how can you have such a busy restaurant at a posh location running huge losses? The answer in one word is "overspending." There are plenty of examples of overspending at Rocco's: (1) $1.80 per business card (should cost a few cents), (2) flying in a chef from Italy, (3) benefits and 401K for parttime employees, etc. Take it one more step, and this may start looking like a $5000 shower curtain (Dennis Kozlowski, ex Tyco CEO, now in jail for securities fraud), million dollar birthday bash for wife (ex Adelphia CEO, also in jail), lavish bachelor parties (former Enron). Lack of cost controls is the simple reason why many US businesses are uncompetitive in the world economy, forced to fudge up numbers to meet investor expectations, and run otherwise good businesses to dirt.
The previews made Jeffrey Chudoroy look like a villian, but after the first episode, I have a new found respect for this guy. He is doing just what any businessman should do: (1) detect problems before it is too late, (2) audit the numbers to identify the root of the problem, and (3) take remedial steps with minimal disruption. Six months into the restaurant, Jeffrey is seeing a $600,000 loss on a $4 million investment in six months (30% annualized loss), examined the numbers, and trying to right the problem areas without scaring out the employees.
Rocco may sulk in his office and call his lawyer, but this is a mess he created, and neither he nor his lawyer has the ability to fix the mess. Not only is he unaware of the magnitude of the problems, he is spending his time in book signings rather than with his customers (many of whom apparantly come to Rocco's to meet him). Business is a cold hard world. There is always a seperation between ownership and management, but if the management can't perform, they are replaced by the owners. Seems like that's the way it is headed here.
Any other points of view most welcome!