I must admit I’m a little bit into Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares series on TV and have been watching an episode a night for a while.  Apart from a thoroughly entertaining and confronting show, there are also great business lessons hidden throughout.
As I watch, I make note of the key reasons each business has failed and the techniques that Ramsay introduces to make them work.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are only a few reasons these restaurants are failing.

Kitchen Nightmares

Kitchen Nightmares

Keep it simple

Many of the restaurants were failing because their menus were too big, one even had over 180 items! Ramsay’s first task was to cut this down to less than half.

As well as being difficult to prepare, an overcomplicated and large menu means there is less chance for consistency and quality.

I’ve taken these lessons on board, in my Digital signage business we’ve reduced the number of systems we offer to facilitate production.  In AutoCarLog, I’ve reduced the number of packages to reduce confusion.

Find what the market wants, change, and give it to them

In many cases the restaurant was an extension of the owner or chef’s ego, who refused to change.  And in many cases the restaurant had completely lost touch with what their market wanted – and they wondered why they had no customers!

With Crystal we’re about to launch a very exciting new product which we believe will go crazy, but before we do, we’re going to conduct an extensive market survey.  We want to know if the market really wants it, how best to position it in the market and how best to sell it to the market.  At the end of the day, we’re not selling to our selves, so our opinions don’t really matter!

Set and maintain high standards

It goes without saying that fresh food is one of the cornerstones of the restaurant industry, yet many of the “nightmares” had this as a common problem.

To have high standards in a business, you first have to set them and then you have to maintain and manage them.  I’ve thrown myself in to systemising my business where I document every little process.  This is a very effective method to ensure the high standards we set are consistently reached and maintained.

Now I wonder what I can learn from Iron Chef

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