Small Business Marketing Blog

April 13, 2010

Business Lessons from Kitchen Nightmares

Filed under: Business — Robin Witt @ 7:44 am
Tags: ,

The TV show Kitchen Nightmares provides tips for businesses to be successful. My husband sucked me into watching the reality TV show, Kitchen Nightmares featuring chef Gordon Ramsay.  Ramsay goes to a different struggling restaurant each week to help them get their culinary groove back (and hopefully some customers, too.) Although each restaurant has different chefs, menus, and locations, there is a surprising similarity to the bad business practices contributing to their current state.  Even though the show is about restaurants, I think there are important universal lessons for businesses of all types to consider. See what you think:

Don’t skip the basics. When people come to a restaurant they expect the kitchen to be clean and the food to be fresh. This is a basic requirement. Still, every week Ramsay finds filth in the kitchen, frozen food masquerading as fresh, and an overworked microwave. Is there any area in your business where you need to improve on meeting the basic expectations of your customers?

More is not usually better. Most of the restaurants Ramsay deals with are trying to provide too many choices. Difficult to pull off from a tactical standpoint, the restaurants end up trying to do a lot of things, but none of them well. Ramsay’s solution is always to trim the menu and feature a few signature dishes that the restaurant can be known for. Is your business trying to be everything to everyone? What do you need to trim from your menu? What is your specialty you can be known for?

Relationships matter. Communication is another missing ingredient in these failing restaurants. When business owners do not listen to feedback from customers and employees it creates tension throughout the entire restaurant. It takes everyone working together to make a successful business. Are the relationships in your business helping or hindering?  

Make sure that have all of the ingredients for success in place at your business.  Pitfalls that can get in the way of this include: not having the basics covered, offering too many choices, and not working together. Make sure you pay attention to these critical factors to avoid your own nightmare.

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