March madness is rapidly approaching in the basketball world, but it has already descended upon the restaurant world. That was my attempt to use the cliché before we have all grown incredibly sick of it in approximately two weeks. This week we saw a number of signs that March is off to an incredibly weird start in the restaurant world. Owners are being arrested, spokesmen are dying, and the most frightening story ever posted on the series has occurred. All these stories and more occurred this week and lie ahead in this week’s weird restaurant stories.
Last week, I reported on the “Baby Gaga” ice cream produced but a London parlor using breast milk. As predicted, this did not last long. Authorities intervened this week and seized the parlor’s supply. (London)
When three of the models who played The Marlboro Man got lung cancer it should have sent a clear message to companies about selecting a spokesperson. Apparently, The Heart Attack Grill did not get the memo. This week, their 575 pound spokesperson died. They say no publicity is bad publicity. In this case, they are wrong. (Phoenix, AZ)
In Washington, a restaurant learned the drawback of a great location. The local Claim Jumpers was so conveniently located that a fleeing criminal found it a great place to end a high speed pursuit. After leading a 100 mph chase including police cars and helicopters, the suspect ended up in a bathroom stall. Incredible adventures that ended in a bathroom stall are a good portion of the reason I stopped drinking. (Renton, WA)
A prep cook came in early one morning to start his tasks for the day. Instead he started a fire when he got trapped in the freezer. That is where the firefighters found him. My restaurant nightmares just got far more frightening. (El Cerrito, CA)
Employees are not the only people in the restaurant causing havoc this week. Actually, owners have been causing more than their share of weirdness. This pizza shop owner was having a hard time keeping up with the competition. So he decided to unleash some mice in competitor’s restaurants. Some Police Officers eating in the dining room noticed the suspicious package and caught him. Note that white mice might not be the most authentic way to pull off this trick. (Upper Darby, PA)
This was still less offensive than another owner who was fined a quarter of a million dollars for failing to pay his employees according to the law. If an owner cannot make a restaurant profitable, failing to follow the law is not a viable option. (Decatur, IL)
Neither is opening up a modern day speakeasy. While the concept is being successfully imitated across the country, those places are trying to create the feel while following the law. This restaurant was the real deal with afterhours alcohol sales and overlooking drug use. Apparently, the police frown on such things. (Goldsboro, NC)
Those owners could have learned a lesson from “Big Daddy.” He was recently sentenced to 33 years for selling drugs out of his restaurant. I’m not sure exactly how that gets put on the P&L. Reporting it above the line seems to land you behind bars. (Virginia Beach, VA)
Drugs are not the only thing a restaurant owner can sell to land them in jail. One restaurant owner had a slightly different idea. It was not an original idea. She was practicing the world’s oldest profession on the side as “Classy Cissy.” While her website is down, a quick google image search makes her very easy to find. The age and appearance difference makes it apparent that the FTC does not regulate online prostitution ads. (Shelby, NC)
While not all owners had a good week, one deserves a hat tip from restaurant workers everywhere. When the Wisconsin Restaurant Association refused to end its support of Governor Walker, Brewer Stoufer decided to do something about it. The owner of Roman Candle Pizza resigned from the group until the WRA takes a stand for the workers of Wisconsin. This blog applauds his action and hopes that others follow his lead. (Madison, WI)
That wraps it up for this week. The madness is just gearing up. March is going to be a very exciting month at this rate on this site and throughout The Hospitality Formula Network. Next week, more weird restaurant stories. In the meantime check out some past weeks. What else are you going to do between Charlie Sheen interviews?