04 Apr

Gordon Ramsay’s Marketing Nightmare

Gordon RamsayNot sure if you watch Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmare, (or if it is broadcast in your part of the world) but I’m a little hooked.  There is plenty not to like about the show, in particular his tendency to humiliate people to get a point across. What there is to like is that every episode is a marketing and branding case study.

Every episode starts with an audit – he assesses the look of the place as he walks in and sits down, reviews the menu and has a meal in the place. He reviews the service and the management.

Nine times out of ten the mistakes are the same.

The quality of food is often poor; no care, no passion. There is no positioning; the menu is confused or bland. The service delivery is chaotic. But one thing stands out: they see the world through their own rather than their customers’ eyes. They live in a vacuum.

The next thing he does is walk the local streets. He checks out the competition, looking for a niche, chats to people in the street to find out what the restaurants’ brand reputation is. He talks to local suppliers and generally gets a feel for the specific environment he is in.

So he looks at the restaurant through the eyes of the customers.  Brand: “The company seen through the eyes of the customer”. Mostly, he comes back with an idea of how to position the restaurant; a signature dish or direction  for the menu that will uniquely position the restaurant. Because he knows his environment he positions away from competitors and ensures that the positioning is relevant to the target market: If he is on the coast it’s about fresh fish, if it is in the heart of the US it is about steak.

He does a local launch promotion with only one purpose; generate word of mouth. He doesn’t start promoting before the house is (more or less) in order though. Now I’ve never eaten in Gordon’s restaurant and although it makes great television, I don’t like his style. But he truly understands marketing and branding.