Gordon Ramsay – Recipe for Marketing Success

I am not a big TV guy, especially not reality TV, but I found a show that I have come to love watching. It is called Kitchen Nightmares, and features Chef Gordon Ramsay. In every episode, he helps a failing restaurant to get back on track, and in my mind the show is really more about Marketing than cooking. In fact, Gordon doesn’t spend much time on recipes and cooking lessons at all. What he does do is give frank, upfront analysis of why the restaurant is failing, and what needs to be done to correct it. Here are some common themes on the show.


As a top tier chef, Gordon demands top quality products. Never frozen, never microwaved. It is amazing how these restaurants try to shortcut basic quality and pull it off as the real thing. Is this unique to restaurants? No. Product quality is paramount to success, at least long term success of any business, and is at the core of marketing. He also preaches honesty. He demands that the proprietor be honest with themselves and likewise with customers. Sound like advice you could apply at your business?

Target Market:

Many of the restaurants on the show make a common mistake – make everything and specialize in nothing. One of the first things Chef Ramsay does to help is research other restaurants in the area to find an unfulfilled need. He then tailors the menu to the market that the restaurant will serve. Not in-depth statistical analysis, but simply being aware of the surrounding world. The result is a restaurant with a clearly defined brand identity.

Focus on the Customer:

From making the menu simple to read, to making the restaurant more aesthetically pleasing, shortening wait times, to improving the presentation of the product, everything revolves around making the customer experience enjoyable. “Is the sign for the restaurant visible from 100 meters up the road?” “Are the ingredients fresh?” “Do people enjoy the experience?” Sure he drops some F bombs in the process, but the guy knows what to do – focus on the customer.

Do Your Best…Everyday!

“Are you committed to making it work?” The message is clear. If you want to make it in the restaurant business – or any business – you have to bring your “A Game” every day. No slackers allowed. No cutting corners. Quite simply, greatness never sleeps. It takes passion and dedication to be the best.

Marketer or not, give the show a look.

Gordon Ramsay Home Page – Fine Dining in London

2 Responses to “Gordon Ramsay – Recipe for Marketing Success”

  1. 1 What Would Ramsay Do? November 16, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    All are great attributes to being sucessful.

  2. 2 Dana Randall November 30, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Dave, I agree with you on this show. Great program. He is an a-hole himself, but he does speak the truth and end the end improves the restaurant. He does spend a great deal researching and finding the speciality that this failing restaurant needs to focus on. Simple marketing techniques. Question, do you think Gordon would have liked Charles from O’Briens who would listed to 700 WLW in the kitchen with his big chaw of Skoal tobacco in his mouth spitting in the gray trash container while cooking people their dinners? Or would he keep the Cheese bar? Seriously, have you ever been to another restaurant that has a cheese bar?

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