Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Traits of a "Kitchen Nightmare"

NPR today did a spot on Gordon Ramsay's show "Kitchen Nightmares." I would recommend this show on Fox to anyone who is interested in culture change. The concept is that successful chef Gordon Ramsay is asked to come to a struggling restaurant and act as a sort of consultant -- find out why it is in trouble and provide the owner with the know-how and juice to turn it around, all the while showcasing Ramsay's charisma, profanity, and ego. But the show works. I've seen a few of the episodes, and it seems that all of the struggling restaurants have these three things in common:

bad leadership/ownership

bad food

filthy kitchen

I suppose service could be listed as well, but often after the above three are taken care of, the service seems to improve. It's almost as if the staff is waiting to see if leadership really cares enough to improve the food and clean the place up. Oh, and after a few months, Gordon returns, and the places have inevitably gone back to chaos. Which shows how tough changing a culture (even in a small restaurant) really is.

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