Skip to content
Subscriber Only

The Restaurant-Failure Myth

Research shows that some popular perceptions about the rate of failure in the restaurant industry are just not true

"Do you know me?" asked Rocco DiSpirito in a 2003 TV spot for American Express. "I'm a chef who already runs two restaurants in New York. Now I'm opening a third on national television in a time when nine out of 10 restaurants fail in the first year."

Like many viewers, H.G. Parsa did know DiSpirito from his NBC reality show The Restaurant. The nine-out-of-10 figure was familiar, too. As an associate professor in Ohio State University's Hospitality Management program, Parsa had heard it many times before. But based on his 13 years of restaurant-industry experience, he still didn't buy it.