I would love to see the show's producers add another layer to the show by providing a subsection of the applicants with cash and free advertising by appearing on the show but with no advice from Chef Robert. This "control arm" would provide a valuable insight into the application of "stimulus" without any intelligent market direction. I have little doubt that the control group businesses would continue to struggle more often than not.
You may have guessed that I see this show as an allegory to our current economic struggles and the government's attempt to literally paper them over. But let me stop you before you think that I am suggesting a layer of guidance bureaucracy atop the stimulus. Besides the fact that any such bureaucrats are unlikely to have the skills or proper incentives to succeed in such an endeavor, there is already a much better structure in place to provide this market guidance - profit and loss. When a business fails, the Chef Roberts of the world can take the capital that has been producing things people don't want to buy and apply their knowledge and skills to employ the capital in making things people do want to buy. They will not always succeed, but they will certainly produce more wealth on the whole than we will by throwing money at bad ideas.
Most people can’t think, most of the remainder won’t think, the small fraction who do think mostly can’t do it very well. The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately, creatively, and without self-delusion—in the long run these are the only people who count . . -- Robert Heinlein