Kitchen Nightmare!! A guest post by Liz Pratt owner of http://workwithLiz.com. Liz Pratt went from being a struggling Single Mom to business owner and lost it all!! She found out that the only way to learn that the real secret to success was not what most people are taught.
I was stuck in bed for weeks, my pregnancy had me off my feet while I made it through my first trimester. Would you be able to run you business without you?
I learned so much from this experience: I need to delegate, recreate systems (ones that I thought were in place running smoothly. Not!) What a lesson! This New Year I am going to be Cook’n Up some good things. I am going to show you how to work even less and make even more.
While stuck in bed, I started watching TV. You may already know how much I hate the TV (I even made my family go an entire month without cable just to show them they could live without it. They did live…but missed the news, history, science and weather…so I let them turn it back on). As I flipped through the TV channels, I realized there is nothing good to watch. The TV is full of reality shows and talk shows where we get to see people behave immaturely while they fight and insult others. Then, I had the option of the makeover shows, where I could watch the before and after the transformation.
I realized how many people are looking for a “makeover”. Instantly, I knew that we all want to transform parts of our life, and our business. This is why these shows are so successful. We are looking for the quick and easy solution to the problems we are facing. The Makeover Madness is a way for us to see this happen in under an hour. We can take ideas from this and apply them to our lives.
Some of these makeover shows really got my attention. It was the business shows. I actually got hooked by Restaurant Impossible. Then one day there was a marathon of Kitchen Nightmares with Chef Gordon Ramsey. I worked in the food business for many years and love to see business owners who find success after many years of struggle. I can relate and my heart was pulled, I actually was crying much of the time while watching.
My family was so angry with me. They have never seen me watch TV like this before. They wanted my attention, but I stayed glued to see the next transformation. After just a few episodes, I could see a common thread in every one of these restaurants – lousy food, dirty kitchen, bad staff, poor customer service, and no management. Then this all led to no customers, declining cash flow, more debt, and piles of bills. These businesses were going under!! I was even yelling at the owners right along with Chef Ramsey. How could they not see what was happening?
At the end of the marathon, it was like a brick hit me in the head. This is the same thing happening in most of the people I meet everyday. They cannot figure out why the customers are not calling and banging down the doors for what they have to offer. They cannot see the errors they are making; they just know they are not making enough money. Does this sound like you?? or someone you know?? This is one reason I started coaching others, I can usually see many of the leaks in a business with just about 30 minutes in conversation. Some of the lessons I learned from Chef Ramsey, I am sure can help you TODAY!!
Do you have lousy food? He showed that these restaurants are serving frozen food, under or over-cooked with no fresh flavors. Many have not updated the menu in years. Does this sound like you? When was the last time you updated your offer? Are you using the words your customers are asking for? Is your product fresh, or does it look like everyone else in your industry? I saw business owners who thought they were unique and special, but when they looked at the situation, it was the same as the rest of the neighborhood. Are you making that fatal error? How do you stand out in the crowd? You cannot sell the same product as everyone else. Even if you are a consultant for a company, you must immediately create your own packages.
No customers? Chef Ramsey would go out into the community. He invited the Mayor, the fire department, and food critics to opening night. He wanted to find the key influential people who could tell others about the transformation. He knew that customers came from other’s word-of-mouth and excitement, not from coupons, signs, postcards or attending networking events. In fact, in one show he burned the giant signs and discount promotions. The owners would cry many times when he tried to change the patterns. Are you holding onto things that are not working? Insisting that you are right, even when you are not getting the results?
Dirty Kitchen? I turned away when he showed rotten food, bugs, mice and other disgusting things. He started each business with a good cleaning. He did this not only to actually clean the place, but as a way for the staff and management to show it is starting over with everything now clean and fresh. Do you need to clean up your business? Step 1, he put a daily system in place. In fact, he showed in his personal restaurant, the fridge and kitchen got cleaned 2 times a day. The cleaning system was so detailed, that it created habits, and a good feeling for everyone who entered the building. What a wake-up call to every business owner!! Do you keep track daily of your customers, finances, clean out emails, and make everything fresh and new? What is your daily system to update and organize? He stressed that organization is the backbone of every business. There is no cash flow, and no growth without the basic business system of finances, cleaning and more! I started my daily routine at that moment.
Bad staff? Poor customer service? Are you delegating, or trying to do it all yourself? He showed how hiring help, the right help, could make all the difference. Your customer service is affected by you trying to do it all or trying to save money by letting others do it cheaply. Do you have your WordPress site up yet? Do you post daily on social media? Do you make daily calls? It is time to pay to get some of these things done. You may be risking your business by trying to be the Super Owner!! You cannot do everything right. Time to look at your talents and your weaknesses. Do what you do best, and delegate the rest. The one skill he showed that every owner needed was business management. Then there needed to be an investigation of every penny, and a watch-over of all the systems. By improving systems, they could work less, and make much, much more. You can do the same!
I can go on with what I learned from the Kitchen Nightmares. The timing was just right!! I was stuck in bed and forced to watch TV all day…ha ha!! I was letting my systems fail in my business because I became too dependent on running everything myself. Without me doing the daily work, things would fall apart. I already made this decision for the New Year before watching, but Gordon Ramsey helped show me what could happen if I do not get the systems in place.