People like food, and people like restaurants. So it stands to reason that people who make food and run restaurants would be likable, no? No. People who work in restaurants work strange hours and, as a result, often do strange things with coworkers because no one else keeps their schedule. Chefs have gross hands and bags under their eyes.
Essentially, rom-com audiences just want a protagonist that is capable of cooking them a meal, should the character jump off the screen and decide to date them. You’ll want their food, but you won’t want their company.
Offenders: You’ve Got Mail, A Lot Like Love, I Don’t Know How She Does It
While I realize that there are a lot of small business out there, thus making this a deep well from which to draw, they can’t ALL be bookstores or furniture boutiques, right? I mean, SOMEONE has to own a company that distributes toner to medium-sized businesses. SOMEONE owns a U-Haul franchise.
There’s nothing wrong with running your own business (obviously), but too often in these films, it’s used to glamorize the careers of the protagonist or simply as a disposable answer to the question, “What does this person do?”