Business Lessons in the Most Unexpected Places

20110729-kitchen-nightmaresHave you heard of the show Kitchen Nightmares with Chef Gordon Ramsay? Every time I watch this show, I get some really good business advice that I can usually adapt to other businesses.

Every show introduces a new failing restaurant with new problems and Chef Ramsay is there to fix it. It starts with a brief introduction of the restaurant, but the show really starts when Ramsay first comes into the establishment and orders some menu items so that he can assess the food. He picks through the food addressing its presentation and then tastes it, even tasting some of the most questionable items and shares his thoughts with the camera.

Once he finishes trying the food, he then takes a tour of the restaurant pointing out any problems he sees. After this, he sticks around for dinner service only watching to see how the restaurant normally works and taking note of the feedback received from the patrons. At the end of the night he debriefs the owners and staff discussing all of the problems he saw. He then departs to formulate a strategy with how to turn the restaurant around within a week.

This is where it gets really interesting and many more lessons can be had with the way he handles owner/employee situations, restaurant/food presentation, customer service, and business offerings. He mostly spends the week getting the restaurant cleaned, establishing good practices for food handling, training the chefs on new menu items, and training the rest of the staff on the new menu and service efficiencies. The restaurant usually gets a face-lift too and ends with a re-opening where area patrons can come and give feedback on the revamp. However, during this weeklong process of restaurant improvement, more personality conflict issues typically come out with the owners and/or the staff.

It is expected to have change resistant issues come out when you are essentially going through business process reengineering practices, but these issues compound on top of core issues that Ramsay is able to bring to the top and address. It gets really exciting to see how he handles these issues. He typically has to use tough love to get through to some of the most stubborn people and almost gets them to a point of total meltdown or to where they start stonewalling. Then he starts to reel them back in with empathy. This gets them to the point of acceptance because they know that deep down; Ramsay is just trying to help them succeed.

This process excites me because he really helps these businesses to be able to prosper, and the results are instantly measurable. He walks away knowing that he gave another restaurant the tools to thrive and the owners and staff are extremely grateful for everything he has done. It’s hard to really express this gratitude in words, but imagine you were poor and somebody just gave you a million dollars out of the kindness of their heart.

Check out the show when you get a chance and you’ll see what I mean.  Thank you for reading my post and remember to “Stop Doing the Mundane, and Start Getting Wierd!”


(Image Credit)


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