Drama, Italian Style
Tabatha Coffee is back, along with her bossy-Aussie perspective on how to run a family business – in three weeks – called Relative Success. Think of The Profit without Tabatha actually sinking her own money into these companies. On her first episode, Tabatha meets with Joe of D’Amore’s Pizza who is stuck between his family who want to keep the business in the family and his investors who want to give him millions and take the pizza company national. This sounds like a no brainer to me, but we’ll see what Tabatha says.
Joe is at a crossroads. On the one hand he and his third wife would like to live out his remaining years on easy street, but his daughters would like to inherit the business, sans investors,. Joe started the company when his second wife got sick and passed away. A distraught Joe called his grandma and was given the family pizza secret recipe to cheer him up. Between his first two wives, Joe has six kids. Wowza!
So here’s the deal, under the possible new agreement with Joe’s investors, they would own half of his three stores, half of the D’Amore’s name, and his kids can keep their stores, but cannot open anymore – in exchange for $6-$8 million. That’s a lot of meatballs! The dilemma is what to do with his daughters who want to build an empire but have nada de meatballs to do so. Tabatha informs him that no matter what decision he chooses, he’s screwed. Thanks Tabatha! Joe’s wife, who’s been with him for 15 years, wants him to take the meatballs and run. And she doesn’t like how Joe gives in to his kids so much. Of course she doesn’t.
Tabatha has been invited to dinner to meet the entire family. She has been forewarned about Caroline and her equally sassy ways. At dinner, Tabatha tells the family she is there to unpack the emotional baggage that comes with a family business. Caroline explains that after she rescued her sister from ruining her location, it started turning a profit. Daughter Christie bristles at this explanation but doesn’t say anything. Caroline says she needs more than one pizza store to maintain the lifestyle they’d like to become accustomed to. Then she has the nerve to tell her father he didn’t get the company where it should be after 30 years – so you suck Dad. By the way, Caroline doesn’t have the money to open a second store.
Tabatha is tired of Caroline and her yapping and thinks it’s going to be a long three weeks with this girl, but doesn’t say this out loud and I’m wondering where the brash Aussie has gone. Has Tabatha mellowed with age? I hope not! Caroline gives a sob story of doing homework every day at the pizza parlor – so therefore she deserves to inherit the company, not these investors who didn’t do their homework at the pizza parlor. Joe’s wife wants the money…for Joe. Tabatha has heard enough and tells the kids to meet her at the third street location, Caroline’s store, tomorrow.
First thing Tabatha notices is that Caroline’s store doesn’t have a cohesive vibe with the other stores. Caroline calls herself the “future of the brand” but doesn’t really explain why. Christie shows up and asks to speak to Tabatha privately. Outside, Christie tells Tabatha that due to a “rough patch in her personal life” she decided to step away (I believe she was kicked out) from the business, but is now ready to jump back in, even though her father doesn’t know this yet. Christie doesn’t elaborate on what specifically a “rough patch” is but I think she had a drinking problem. When Joe hears this, he says he’s not ready to welcome back Christie with open arms. And after Joe asks if his daughter is clean, Christie gets up and tries to walk out. She is told to sit back down by Tabatha who explains that part of the aftermath of fucking up requires proving oneself.
We learn from Joe’s wife that each store is changing grandma’s recipe. The women at the table talk over each other and Tabatha can’t be heard as she tries to interrupt. Finally she gets the women to STFU. It’s time for Tabatha’s action plan. The first part of the plan is she wants to meet with the investor. The second part is the family members must sign a commitment plan to agree with Tabatha’s suggestion
so long as it’s what they want. Tabatha warns Joe she’s the Tasmanian devil – but we don’t really ever see this side of her like we did with Tabatha Takes Over.
Enter Jeremy the investor. His plan is to open more stores, take the brand in a new direction and keep expanding the brand. Jeremy has been eating the D’Amore’s pizza for years and has no desire to change the legacy, so he says. Tabatha asks about the family stores and Jeremy says that part is tricky because he needs their stores to be cohesive with the new brand. Tabatha thinks the kids better get their shit together and fast or her recommendation won’t go their way.
Next up, it’s time for the women to hold a meeting about getting cohesive. They get stuck on whether there should be an apostrophe between the “e” and the “s” in the name and whether the logo should be black and white or black, red and white. Are you freaking kidding me? Tabatha is ready to fire these girls.
Onto meeting with the lawyers. Turns out, Joe doesn’t have an estate plan. The worst thing that can happen is he dies and the government steps in to assign a total stranger to settle the estate. Goodbye 20%. Tabatha tells us she has something up her sleeve and Joe’s not going to like it. So what is it? Joe pre-tapes a video message as if he’s dead and tells his daughter to come together and be on the same page. The tears start falling on this cheap stunt. Caroline thinks it was a low blow, but agrees they need to come together. Joe enters the room and everyone hugs and kisses him, since this was such a close call and all. I hope this is the only time we see this bullshit trickery on Relative Success.
Fast forward to day 13 and the family is making a manual. They also meet with the graphics people to discuss the new logo. Once again the family still can’t agree, but finally settle on the colors red, black, and white – like that was so hard. The art people take the information, nod a lot, and can’t wait to leave the room.
Now it’s time to hear the family pitch and Tabatha’s recommendation in the final family meeting. Caroline introduces the new manual for the future of D’Amore’s which covers exciting things like how to answer the phone and how to make a pizza. The future design is for a new wall of pictures and chalk boards for daily specials. Joe is impressed with the fact that his daughters haven’t killed each other yet. So is Tabatha, and she is now wavering on her opinion of selling out to the investor.
At the end there is an update to tell us that three months after filming, Joe and Jeremy parted ways amicably. Interesting that they used the word amicably, because now I think it involved a fight. Why not say, Joe chose his daughters. Anyway, the D’Amore’s are rebranding and looking for a silent partner – because they have enough stupid opinions of their own.
I don’t think this episode was reflective of Tabatha’s bossy and entertaining ways. Furthermore, I think she gave the wrong advice. I think Joe could do more for his family with $6 to $8 million in his pocket. Having said that, the clips for the rest of the season look like there is more conflict coming our way. Hopefully Tabatha will unleash her awesome Aussie attitude next week.