The Season 4 premiere episode of The Profit focuses on Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour Restaurants. Brooklyn-born entrepreneur Bob Farrell opened the first Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in 1963 in Portland, Oregon. The 1890s-themed parlour quickly expanded – within five years, there were six locations. A great self-promotor, Bob Farrell built the World’s Largest Sundae for the Guinness Book of World Records in 1974 (1,551 pounds). When he had 55 franchises, he sold the business to the Marriott Corporation in 1972. But over the years, by 1990, nearly all of the Farrell’s had closed. In 2008, with the advisement of Bob Farrell, two business partners, Michael Fleming and Paul Kramer, tried to revive the restaurant chain. (Farrell died in August 2015).
When Marcus Lemonis arrives to assess the situation, with the camera rolling, he says CEO Michael Fleming “is incapable of doing his job,” and is “blaming everyone else.” The business is in debt $1.9 million and without cash. Just this month, in August 2016, two of the remaining Farrell’s restaurants (in Rancho Cucamonga and Sacramento) abruptly closed. The Press Enterprise reports that “the brand is halting expansion to focus on a major makeover that includes changing its ice cream recipe, enhancing the food and revamping the in-store candy shops.” Closings aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Lemonis brings his big ideas to revamp the brand. The Profit airs Tuesdays at 10pm on CNBC.