Avoiding Business Nightmares – what any business can learn from Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay has a lot going for him. He owns restaurants across the world – several with Michelin stars. He also is the frontman of several television programmes both here in the UK and in the US making him one of the most well-known celebrity chefs.

One of our favourite programmes is Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, which makes for some gripping, informative and often hilarious TV.

If you’ve not seen it before, Ramsay comes alongside failing restaurants in an attempt to help them drastically improve their performance in just one week.

Now, Gordon Ramsay may be a famous chef and a highly successful restauranteur, but what does this reality series have to do with other types of business?

Although Ramsay is focused on restaurants and the food industry, many of his principles can actually be applied to businesses in any area.

One of the reasons we actually like Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares is that he takes time to analyse and assess the inner workings of business. It’s not necessarily about food – what is going behind the scenes if often what is most important!

Here are 5 things that any business can learn from Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares:

1. Values are the foundation of your business

The foundation of any business is the values that underpin it. In Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Ramsay always takes time to observe the restaurant – not just to inspect the quality of their food but to see everything.

He wants to know the real reasons why the business is in a bad shape. He wants to see the owner’s passion and whether that has filtered down to the staff. It is Ramsay’s perspective that values are at the centre of the business – if owners or employees don’t know the values of the business then they won’t respect it.

Often the first thing that Ramsay asks people to do is clean the kitchen. Clean out the mess. Value the business.

At DP Accountancy our commitment to help businesses grow mean that we often see businesses when they are stuck in a mess. They’ve lost sight of their values – their reason why, their passion – perhaps they never had clarity on their values to begin with.

Like Ramsay, we want to help our clients re-establish their values as the foundation of their business.

2. Relationships are key: Your life and your team is important

The failing restaurants that Ramsay is attempting to help are usually highly stressful places.

Relationships are central to a successful business. You don’t get anywhere if there is division and tension in your life as the business owner or in the life of your team.

Ramsay understands this. For a reality show about a celebrity chef, these programmes are surprisingly relationship focussed.

What often happens is that owners aren’t maintaining a healthy lifestyle themselves, which then impinges on all relationships around them and filters down into the business.

Before sorting out the end product, divisions between owners are confronted, rifts between team members are repaired and poor and unhealthy lifestyles and habits are addressed. Sometimes employees who aren’t willing to change or embrace the values of your business need to be let go so that the restaurant can move forward as a team.

It can be exactly the same in any business. We’ve supported many businesses who had great ideas and had the ability to create a wonderful end product or service, but were crippled by poor relationships. If you want to be successful, it’s important to have the right team around you.

3. The customer always comes first

It can seem obvious but the customer has to come first.

It’s incredible how many of the restaurants that Ramsay visits do not understand this basic principle.

Upon arrival, practically the first thing that Ramsay does is look how many reservations the restaurant has. It’s usually very few but the owners have rarely asked the customers what they think. Ramsay does just this – finding out the perspectives of locals and what customers think.

This is a great place for any business to begin.

Have you ever taken time to listen to your customers? Do you know what they think about your business? Are they happy with your product or service?

Many restaurants on the programme have rarely listened to feedback they’ve received – don’t be that kind of business! Listen, learn, act and watch your business grow.

4. Simplicity leads to quality

When first visiting struggling restaurants, what Ramsay usually finds is that they have a huge menu with way too many options and a kitchen that is struggling to cope. Sometimes things are advertised that the staff are incapable of producing.

The result is simple… poor quality food and a disappointing experience for customers.

To get restaurants back to working order, Ramsay encourages a simpler menu and helps staff work on making these items absolutely perfect. By simplifying things, the restaurants are able to produce quality, better tasting meals. A simpler menu means that it is easier for customers to receive the same high quality experience every time.

It’s not just restaurants that have this problem – many businesses that we encounter are doing far too much. They are juggling too many things and as a result, the end product or service suffers.

Does this sound familiar? Rather than dilute your output and ruin your reputation trying to do everything under the sun, refine and focus your processes and re-establish what your business is about.

At DP Accounting we’re adept at providing this kind of business advice to our clients. It’s more than just numbers for us – we want to help you simplify your business in order to provide the room for it to grow.

5. Back to basics: know your figures!

It won’t surprise you to know that most of the restaurant owners in the programme are completely unable to communicate their figures to Ramsay. They usually don’t have a clue how much items on the menu are costing or the profit margins involved depending on different meals.

It’s back to basics for these restaurants.

Knowing your figures is a central part of business but many businesses fall short in this area. If you don’t know important figures, such as profit margins, your business does not have a platform to grow.

It’s something that every successful business needs to get to grip with.

At DP Accounting we don’t just give our clients the figures, we actively partner with them to identify ways to increase profit. Our passion is to do the hard financial work so that you can do what you need to. We don’t want to see any business stuck in a place of confusion and unable to grow because they don’t know the basic numbers underpinning their business.

Do you know your profit margin on the products you are selling?

Avoid your own business nightmare!

There you have it – some great business principles from Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares that can be applied to any business.

Perhaps the above has identified areas where you may be falling short in your own business. We are well equipped to help you!

Avoid your own business nightmares – if you need any advice or would like to talk about any of the points identified above, we would love to hear to you. Please get in touch by calling 01246 451133.

This article does not represent the views of Gordon Ramsay or the producers of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.



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