Why was Kitchen Nightmares cancelled?

Kitchen Nightmares was cancelled when Gordon Ramsay decided to pull the plug on the series after continued backlash over the ineffectiveness of the show.

Kitchen Nightmares was the second original Gordon Ramsay fronted and produced culinary reality-show format series that premiered on the FOX Network. The focus of the show was struggling restaurateurs instead of aspiring chefs.

However, the series ended abruptly during its seventh season, despite the favourable numbers the show drew in for the channel.

The decision to cancel the show was made by Gordon Ramsay as a result of continued and increasing criticism that the series had failed in the objective of its premise, and focused, instead, on inciting drama and conflict.

What was Kitchen Nightmares?

Kitchen Nightmares first premiered in September 2007 on the FOX Network. The reality-format show deviated from the cooking competition show format that made Gordon Ramsay a household name, Hell’s Kitchen, which focused on aspiring chefs.

The premise of Kitchen Nightmares is, “Gordon Ramsay visits struggling restaurants across America and spends one week trying to help them become successful.”

While the show failed dismally at its premise, it seemed that the focus was more on drama than actually turning around the failing restaurants. For many, though, the show did make for good television before it was canned during its seventh season.

Why was Kitchen Nightmares cancelled?

Technically, Kitchen Nightmares was not so much cancelled as put to an end by the producers and frontman of the show, Gordon Ramsay.

The decision made by Ramsay was reactionary as a result of the continued backlash over the intention and objective of the show. As highlighted before, the premise was to help turn around failing restaurants.

But the viewing experience turned out to be more focused on the internal conflicts in the various restaurants. Ranging from intra-family conflicts that resulted in the business failing, to interpersonal conflicts between the restaurateurs and their staff.

These factors coupled with the low success rate of restaurants that are still operational today, were the downfalls of the restaurants. By the end of the 10-episode season, Ramsay had seemingly had enough.

What is Kitchen Nightmares‘ success rate?

Kitchen Nightmares is estimated to have profiled about 77 restaurants during its eight-year run, between 2007 and 2014.

However, from the estimated 77 restaurants that the show profiled, the number of surviving restaurants is dismal, with only 16 of those restaurants still operational today.  This means that the show had a success rate of 22 percent when looking at how many restaurants have closed.

The low success rate is part of the ridicule that Gordon Ramsay faced, especially since the season with the highest success rate was season six, with a 38 percent success rate

Other contributors to the end of Kitchen Nightmares

While the aforementioned might have been the biggest reasons for Kitchen Nightmares ending, another contributor to the end of the show were the restaurateurs profiled on the show.

Like John Chapman, owner of Chappy’s Restaurant, who, in 2013, accused Ramsay and the show of ruining his business.

Furthermore, Ramsay and his team faced legal action in 2014, when Norwalk restaurant owner sued the team for damages done to his restaurant, including a damaged ceiling that was never fixed. He received an estimated $1 233 in compensation.

Additionally, Ramsay was seen as the only fiery personality onscreen, which was part of the contention viewers saw between himself and the restaurant owners and staffers.

Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares’ regret

In 2021, Gordon Ramsay reportedly asserted that he regretted ending Kitchen Nightmares on a whim, explaining, “I got fed up with Kitchen Nightmares because I was getting s**t. So I woke up one morning and I thought, ‘F*** it, I’m done.’”

Now understanding that he could not fix deeply embedded habits in a week, Ramsay did express his regret on ending the show.

But the chances of the show returning seem slim, as Ramsay has started working on other shows like the latest to premiere, Next Level Chef, and he reportedly has other shows in the pipeline.

Final thoughts

Kitchen Nightmares arguably failed at its premise to help failing restaurants turn around their businesses.  This resulted in Gordon Ramsay and his production team receiving criticism from reporters and the public.

But it also resulted in some of the profiled restaurant owners going public about their regret of being on the show for various reasons. Some restaurant owners even went as far as suing Ramsay and his team.

The growing backlash at the time had, seemingly, finally gotten to Ramsay, as he woke up one day and decided to end the show.