Two spots in my small town of Richmond Hill (just north of Toronto) have been "done" by Restaurant Makeover in the last year. One is now out of business, while the other, according to a waitress, is doing about the half the business it was doing before.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that maybe the recession has something to do with it, but every time I watch the show, it seems to me that the designer and chef come in and want to change the resto's raison d'etre. There's always a push to move them upscale, remove certain products from the menu and replace them with more expensive, less familiar dishes, change the atmosphere completely etc.
Where is their market research to support these changes? How do they divine that an area filled with mom 'n pops and small stores can support a menu that's 50% higher in price? I work in marketing, and I know how difficult it is to answer these questions. I think it's the height of hubris to march in without any solid data on the area, make sweeping changes in seven days, and then take a hike.
Is there any data on how many places actually survive a year after their "makeover", let alone prosper?