7 Marketing Lessons from Kitchen Nightmares That Every Business Can Learn From

I recently started watching Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey. If you haven’t seen the show, chef Ramsey is brought in to help struggling restaurants… he finds the problems and re-launches the restaurants. As I’ve watched him reposition a number of restaurants, I realized that there are a number of lessons in marketing that can be applied to speakers, events or any marketing in general.

1. Good Enough Isn’t. Don’t Sacrifice Quality

If you start making compromises on quality before you know it you’ll be mediocre. Never sacrifice the quality of what you do. Good enough doesn’t cut it. Everything should be amazing. If you start to let quality slip it can be a slippery slope. Aim for perfection every time. I also heard this message at a women entrepreneurship conference a few months ago where Debbi Fields (founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies) talked about the importance of every single cookie being perfect. Always be Amazing.

2. Know Your Market and Industry

Many restaurant owners don’t strategically think about their competition and how they fit in. In one episode they found that when the restaurant opened there were only 4 other restaurants in the neighborhood and today there are over 20. In another episode a “fine dining” restaurant was serving complicated food that the working class neighborhood couldn’t afford and actually didn’t even like. Know your audience, the market and your industry. This is important for businesses and speakers too – who else does what you do? What is the competition?  What is there actually demand for?

3. Find a Niche

One of the most important things that Ramsey shows the owners is how to find a niche (after they explore the market and the industry). Many restaurants want to be all things to all people and have overly complex menues. The key to success is to simplify the menu with a niche. No business can do or be good at everything – choose a niche and own it.

4. Be Known for Something – Have a Specialty

One of the big things that Ramsey does it create a memorable specialty. For example one Italian restaurant becomes known for “the Best Meatballs” and another for their “made in house fresh mozzarella”. They key is to find a specialty – something that you are known for and people will remember and talk about. How do you build that into your business? What is your speciality? what are you known for?

5. Simple Always Wins

Many chefs try to create bizarre new dishes that are just strange. Many menues have tons of options that just confuse people. The key is to be simple. People don’t need 100 options – they need 10 good ones. Keep your message and your offering as simple as possible.

6. Presentation Matters

It isn’t just about how the food tastes, it is about how it is presented. A great product with bad presentation won’t cut it. Regardless of your business think about the presentation of every aspect of your business – your online presentation, your storefront, what you wear, your business cards. Presentation matters every step of the way.

7. Put Care and Passion into Everything You Do

Show some passion. Take care into what you do. If you don’t have passion you can’t motivate others. I saw a speaker once who was was poised, polished, knowledgable and had a good message. The problem was that he had no passion. He wasn’t fired up. Passionate cooks pay attention to the details and put care into the creation and presentation of everything.

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