Bravo Tries For Hot Knife Through Clutter

Odds of succeeding in the restaurant business are about on par with developing a TV hit. Competition is massive. Divining consumer taste is hardly scientific. And, word of mouth is probably the most effective marketing vehicle, but that’s pretty hard to generate.

Bravo has figured out how to navigate the TV road many times over. So, why wouldn’t it give the brick-and-mortar culinary business a go?

Pop-up shops have become a well-used marketing tactic. Bravo is prepping a pop-up restaurant to whet consumer appetites – hope the food is better than the cliché – for the 10th season of “Top Chef.”

Everything about this is clever, save the name of the establishment. “Top Chef Kitchen”? With some of the top creative minds around, that’s the best the network can do?

Then again, simplicity has done Bravo well. “Real Housewives of Orange County” has begat “Real Housewives of …” – enter city with over-the-top, narcissistic women. (If nothing else, Bravo has proven they can even be found in Yakima.)

With media coverage like this, “Top Chef Kitchen” has a decent shot of serving as a hot knife through clutter. Clutter being the mass of marketing networks put forward to plug their shows, an arena that keeps growing with more and more cable originals.

“Top Chef Kitchen” opens in New York’s Tribeca area Oct. 16 for a limited run. It isn’t cheap -- $95 for a four-course prix fixe – so why not keep it going as a tourist attraction if it proves profitable?

Each week, former “Top Chef” contestants will create the menu and greet dinners. Reservations can be made via opentable.com. There’s also a “Chef’s Table” with an eight-course menu and “the chance to be up close and personal with the chef’testants.”

No word on whether advertisers get that for free.

Tags: television
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