Looking for a movie that best captures the realities of a restaurant owner’s life? Anyone who has worked in a restaurant knows that it’s filled with excitement, drama, and comedy — the perfect recipe for a great movie. From fictional comedies to documentaries and everything in between such as food related podcasts, here are our top five favourite films for restaurant owners.
1. Jiro Dreams Of Sushi
“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is an entertaining, inspiring, and informative documentary that will become a fast favourite for any chef or restaurateur looking for some wisdom. This film tells the story of Jiro, the master sushi chef who has dedicated his working life to establishing his restaurant business. From building relationships with vendors, enhancing culinary skills, and being open to learning from everyone, this film showcases Jiro’s process and captures the many useful lessons most restaurateurs are familiar with.
This tasty flick focuses on the entrepreneurial journey of the chef, Carl Casper, who quits his job at a well-known restaurant and decides to start his own business. This 2015 comedy-drama film stars Jon Favreau (who also directed and produced), Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and Dustin Hoffman. Along the way, Carl faces many challenges and struggles, but pays more attention to his hardships as a learning opportunity to grow personally and professionally. This is a must-watch movie for any entrepreneur who wants to own a restaurant or feels stuck doing something they don’t love.
If you haven’t watched Ratatouille yet, you’re in for a treat. Ratatouille is a light-hearted animated movie that follows a rat named Remy, who dreams of becoming a chef. It’s also about the authenticity and passion of working in a restaurant — and the stress that comes with making your work stand out. Everyone who’s worked in a busy kitchen knows that Chef Gusteau’s motto, “Anyone can cook”, is pure fantasy. But if you’re thinking about starting your own business, Ratatouille provides an idealist version of restaurant life. Ultimately, the film features hard work, good humour, and, of course, great food.
Looking for a good laugh? Waiting… is based on director Rob McKittrick’s real-life experiences working as a waiter. The film stars Justin Long as Dean, a waiter/college dropout, and his experiences with his co-workers at the Applebee’s-inspired Shenanigans. This movie highlights the most challenging and rewarding moments, while showcasing the ins and outs of working in a restaurant.
5. Big Night
Set in 1950s New Jersey, Big Night is a comedy-drama about two brothers who own an Italian restaurant. Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub play Italian brothers, who are struggling to keep up with their competition while on the verge of bankruptcy. In a frantic effort to save their restaurant, the brothers put on one big night — spending all the money they have left on food and inviting guests to join them for an unforgettable feast. This movie is a story about food and family, reflecting the competitive environment of the restaurant world, and how difficult it can be for small business owners to stand out in the industry.
Have a favourite that’s not on our list? We’d love to hear it in the comments below.