Gordon Ramsey and Walking Your Competitor’s Businesses

Posted on by in Branding/Differentiation, Business, Creativity/Innovation, Remarkability, Strategy

Have you watched Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares? If you haven’t, you’re missing out on one of the best–and free–small business educational experiences around. You don’t even need to be a foodie to enjoy the show, just a small business owner or senior executive.

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Now, if you haven’t watched the show, the basic story line is that Chef Ramsey walks into a restaurant that’s a "nightmare" and in just one week turns the restaurant around. It’s great TV and the characters are fascinating (although, at times, it does make you wonder if you ever want to walk into a restaurant again :-)

Each week there are certain activities that Gordon engages in and one of my favorites is when he walks the local area and surveys the competition (in this case, restaurants).

You’ll see him say something like this, "Italian, Italian, French, Mexican, Italian, Fusion, Greek, Italian, etc." He’ll then come back to the restaurant in trouble and say, "I now know what you’re going to be. What this community needs is . . . a good old fashioned steak house (or whatever is different than what everyone else is offering).

What’s great about this is that this is great strategy work. Note these three things.

  1. He doesn’t decide on what kind of restaurant they’re going to be based on what kind of restaurant they’ve been.
  2. He makes his decision based on surveying the restaurant’s competitors and then choosing something different than what "everyone else" is doing.
  3. He bases his decision on what the customers of that community might like (not necessarily what the owner’s think).

On one level this seems so simple. Yet, small businesses (and large ones) blow this right and left every day all across our country.

So when was the last time you surveyed your competitors? Even better, used their service or bought their product? And based on what you’ve observed, how will change what you do so that what you do is dramatically different? As Gordon Ramsey knows, you’ve got to occupy that space in customer’s minds that no one else does.

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One Response to “Gordon Ramsey and Walking Your Competitor’s Businesses”

  1. GordonG 11 January 2008 at 1:15 am #

    Just watched it last night – thought it went down great with cheese and red wine!! :-)


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