Willy Wonka was an accomplished candyman, to be sure. He has a great product that virtually sells itself; he's a master of publicity; and he was a branding expert before that became a cottage industry.
But Willy Wonka was also a horrible businessman, running his enterprise based on his own whims, quirks and awkward public appearances -- basically, the Mark Zuckerberg of sweets -- instead of on sound financial principles. The proof is in the Pixy Stix...
1. His R&D department is a financial black hole
Let's see, there's Wonkavision, the Wonkamobile, the Wonkawash, and the Great Glass Wonkavator. Why is he wasting money and resources on these extravagances? You're in the candy business, you don't need an R&D program that rivals the U.S. military's. Quit overextending.
2. Health code violations
Walls meant to be licked, an open-air river of chocolate, the Wonkawash (again), that one candy cauldron that Wonka threw an old boot into... Any one of these offenses would lead to an F rating, let alone the whole bunch.
3. Child endangerment
No kid is safe when Wonka's around. Outside of the factory, he's peddling things like exploding candy and inciting riots for his golden tickets; inside, it's a veritable death trap. For god's sake, he takes a kid onto an untested hyper-elevator on which the prospect of getting filleted by giant shards of glass is very real. No insurance attorney would've allowed such carelessness.
4. The Everlasting Gobstopper
This treat would be the death knell of Big Candy. A treat that never breaks down would put him and all other candymakers right out of business, because customers would never have come back to buy more. You've gotta keep the customer hooked. The cigarette industry may be evil, but they've got this part down.
5. His success is the result of massive population displacement
Wonka claims he "saved" the Oompa Loompas from their native Loompaland. Yes, "saved" them from the Whangdoodles by putting them into his glorified labor camp where "nobody goes in and nobody comes out." Willy Wonka, the benevolent imperialist.
6. Corporate subterfuge
He hired a man to pretend to be his rival, Slugworth, in order to entrap potential heirs to the company. The Federal Trade Commission might have a slight problem with that.
7. Shoddy business instincts
First Wonka does that corporate entrapment nonsense, then he holds a series of morality plays to select his successor. This is stupid. He should select someone based on business acumen or candy industry experience.
But then, he doesn't even end up selecting Charlie based on his morals. Charlie failed like the rest of them, on account of the fizzy lifting drink incident -- but oh, he returned the Gobstopper, so he gets the business anyway?! Wonka can't even stick to his guns.
8. Lax security
We're talking both corporate security and actual security. Not only does he let a motley crew of little kids and their parents in on prototypes and trade secrets (such as the waterfall to churn chocolate), but literally anyone could get past that front gate.
9. Factory farm conditions
It's just ethically repugnant to see those beautiful, giant geese cooped up in tiny, dangling cages. That may have flown in the '70s, but it's unacceptable in today's eco-conscious market. A guaranteed PR disaster if some intrepid filmmaker does a Netflix documentary about it.
10. That acid-fever boat ride
If Willy Wonka is the Mark Zuckerberg of candy, then this is his Oculus Rift purchase. There are several questionable factors regarding this boat ride, but the main one is this: If the chocolate factory never had any visitors, then WHY is there a boat ride?
We don't know what's more outlandish, the idea that Wonka made it specifically for this contest or that he made it for his own recreational use. Either way, a massive boondoggle.
11. He randomly breaks into song
A CEO can't be erratic -- the shareholders will revolt -- and singing in public for no reason doesn't signal rock-solid predictability. You know that guy behind you at Starbucks who's singing "Fancy," or that troupe that just busted into an a cappella rendition of "Uptown Girl" on the subway? You wouldn't let them run a giant corporation, would you?