Gordon Ramsay, leading the troops

Gordon Ramsay has made a name for himself in the kitchen. As a chef and restauranteur, he’s at the height of his craft. His television success only punctuates his culinary career. But he’s not just a chef, he’s a master of re-branding, as we’ve seen on Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares and the original British version on Channel 4.

Gordon’s approach is one that I always seek to emulate. Evaluate, Confront, Propose, Execute. It’s simple and it works, and not just for food. The first thing he does when he arrives at an establishment in need is to meet the owners and talk with them about the state of affairs. He establishes a goal and takes into consideration any serious obstacles. Next he gets served a meal so he can see how much work he actually needs to do. Then he proposes ways to improve the menu, the staff, the decor, etc., and gets everyone working together to put that plan into action. He’s the ultimate consultant because his opinion is generally accepted without question. Yes, there are confrontations here and there, but most people understand that he knows what he’s talking about, even if egos do clash.

The metaphor is pretty transparent; it becomes branding not so much in the soups and sandwiches, but in the fundamental principle that changing the touchpoints can change behaviours. A new simpler menu, rearranging the dining room, updating the signage, and doing some basic promotion not only gets customers through the door, but it changes the hearts and minds of the staff! The brand grows. This is the essence of branding, helping to create human interactions from a collection of previously disjointed individuals and objects.

So while his medium is food, and mine is graphics, there’s still plenty to learn from Gordon. Now if I only I could get away with cursing directly at my clients’ faces and insulting their product with such balls-out openness. All in due time.

For a similar sentiment, check out this blog post highlighting “10 things you can learn from Gordon Ramsay about running a business” from Verne Ho.