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'Restaurant' Winner -- Back Up Plan After Culinary Fail

7/1/2011 3:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Despite the fact his THREE restaurants closed within 2 months of opening, "America's Next Great Restaurant" winner Jamawn Woods has a job offer on the table ... from one of his biggest supporters.

0630_Jamawn_Woods_CHRYSLER_EX

Woods is still technically an employee at the Chrysler automobile assembly plant in Michigan -- where he worked as a fork lift operator before trying out for the NBC reality show.

When Woods made the finals, Chrysler presented him with an award for his accomplishment -- and granted him a one-year leave of absence to pursue his dream.

But now that all of Jamawn's "Soul Daddy" restaurants have closed their doors -- a rep for Chrysler says the company intends to hold up their side of the bargain if Woods wants to come back to work ... adding, "He is still a part of our family."

So far, no word from Jamawn.

37 COMMENTS

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16.

Thomas    

I knew from the beginning of this show that Americans will not flock to soul food. They couldn't care less about the down home black culture. It's not racist. It's just the way it is.

Those judges who acted as if they knew everything are incompetent fools. Great judgement there. I think they got caught up in the guy's touching personal story and that swayed their decision.

1121 days ago
17.

Sloane    

fortunate to have a fallback option....
maybe he has a plan B to try to get his own backers to open a smaller restaurant in his home town
however
the show may now own the rights to his Soul Daddy name...you never know--time to check the contracts so he doesn't look as stupid as Jersey Shore's Pauly does

1121 days ago
18.

t    

that is a beautiful thing. i say if he really needs to go back go back...or if he can actually give it a year to pursue other avenues take the year or what of it you have left to try and become the entrepreneur you were trying to become. MUCH SUCCESS.

1121 days ago
19.

Chuck    

Well that's very classy of Chrysler. Unfortunately Jamawn didn't have any say as to where the restaurants opened and how many of them would open. The producers already had the places picked out and this probably would have happened (restaurants closing so quickly) to whoever won. Running a restaurant is much more than just being able to cook and the producers certainly weren't going to provide the extra support, just the space and materials. Hopefully he'll take his job back and be proud that he gave his dream a shot.

1121 days ago
20.

Strunz28    

"Soul Daddy" in the Mall of America? Do any black people live in Minnesota? I think Bobby Flay's group really screwed this guy. If they would have put him in Atlanta, Houston, Birmingham, or New Orleans the guy would have been a smashing success.

1121 days ago
21.

Bound    

I feel sorry for him, but at least he got to try out his dream and still has a job after if failed.

1121 days ago
22.

who dat    

TMZ should send obnoxious mike back to his forklift job to.

1121 days ago
23.

mike    

Why did you open up 3 resturants ? Open up 1 in the Atlanta Lenox Mall. Stay in the south for now if your selling Soul food .

1121 days ago
24.

LINUS914    

Chrysler should offer him a position as Head Chef or Asst. Head Chef in the cafeteria.

1121 days ago
25.

GrandAffairGirl    

The restaurants failed because they were located in VERY bad locations! In LA, the place was at Hollywood & Highland, a tourist trap that no one goes to that is a giant maze. No one succeeds in that place. In Minnesota, the restaurant was in a food court in a mall with over 500 stores and many other restaurants that is in an all-white state! Why did anyone think that Soul Food would be popular there?!?!?!? The locations were no doubt chosen because they paid to be an "advertiser" not because they were selected as the the ideal location for the restaurant. The poor man was set-up to fail by everyone involved in the show. Shame on them!

1121 days ago
26.

Michelle     

He would be another dumbass if he would not take the opportunity, and try to do something on the side. But that is what I would do. #justsaying

1121 days ago
27.

BlueMacaw    

It's good that he has his old job back but Mr. Woods does seem to have a lot of drive and talent so I hope he's able to continue to pursue his dream. At least this experience has given him knowledge of what doesn't work.

I didn't like Chipotle before watching the show. I thought their food tasted bland as compared to Moe's. Now I think even less of it based on Ells performance/opinions on the show and their treatment of Mr. Woods. I doubt I'll ever eat at one again and I'll avoid their new Asian restaurant as well.

1121 days ago
28.

Dee    

Sorry, his dream didn't come true "This Time" but never give up. Think a little smaller and build on it.Three resturants for a newbie was too ambitious, but qudos to Chrysler for giving him his job back. I guess I will now keep my PT Crusier!

1121 days ago
29.

!AM45    

Dang!! That sucks!!! I watched the show and was so glad he won. Such a freaking bummer.

1121 days ago
30.

Areader    

That's unfortunate, however, why did he open 3? Hopefully he will get 1 back up and running!

1121 days ago
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