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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gordon Ramsey: the Chef of Harsh Reality

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The wife watches that Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares show where he goes into restaurants and turns around the service, the menu to make them successful.

First just let me say that as you may realize, the marketing is more important than any of these things, (although you gotta have good service and good food).

Of course they don’t know that, Joe public doesn’t know that, so for the show a full crowd suddenly appears, and they’re packed. But I’ll say one thing: He sure brings harsh reality to these restaurant owner. He’ll critique the food and the service, and he will not hold back with his advice.

And these places are of course chosen because they are no good. So there’s always plenty of changes to be made. Not just with the menus either, the people are just as important, and he seems able to get to the heart of problems the staff have with each other, and with themselves.

This week’s episode, the owner was very resistive to the criticism, because he had a fear of failure, “I don’t wanna lose what I already have”. (Never mind that he’s losing money every week, and he doesn’t wanna lose that…?)

Another regular thing he does is simplify the menu. You don’t need 57 different dishes, just a small number, maybe 5 main courses. This helps speed everything up, and makes the chef’s life easier too. One other thing: he tried to train the staff in the presentation of the new menu, a quick, compelling pitch while the customer is ready to order. And that’s important, especially being able to upsell, that is, get the higher-priced order.

At first this was a ‘background show’, I don’t watch a lot of TV anyway, but now I’m really learning how to blow apart the old systems that don’t work, get over the painful bits and get real results for my clients.

Of course I do that with your marketing, not your cooking.

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