Bad Language, Great Lessons: Foul-Mouthed Turnaround Specialist Shows How to Revive Failing Businesses in One Week

Never before has such foul language proved itself as a major business

By now, I do hope you have heard of Gordon Ramsey, host of “Kitchen
Nightmares” and “Hell’s Kitchen”.

If not, I would highly suggest watching the “Kitchen Nightmares” show
sometime soon.

First, a WARNING: Thin-skinned folks need not tune in.

If you cannot handle foul language and incredibly abrasive
personalities, do not watch Gordon’s show!

He is rude, loud, in-your-face, and LOVES swearing to get his point
across (and everything is a point, so pretty well every sentence
consists of swear words).

I am not going to go too much into Gordon’s past, but, rest assured,
this ex-professional Scottish football player has a list of
credentials that is long, and highly admirable.

He is now working on his 25th restaurant and many of them have
multiple Michelin stars to their name (the most recognized and
influential culinary ratings guide). He has multiple best selling
cookbooks, 4 television shows and a DVD series, to name a few.

The story line behind a kitchen nightmare …

Gordon comes into restaurants that are almost ready to close their
doors, for any one of multiple different reasons. He has 1 week to
turn the business around and make it a success.

He is a no-bull guy and when he starts, there is no stopping him.

Why is this important to you?

Because Gordon’s formula for a 7-day business turnaround is one that
each and every one of us should pay close attention to. If you are
looking to increase your sales, the ideas below will help you see new
ideas you have never thought of before. If you are struggling in
your business or cash flow – go through each step below and
reconstruct your business from the ground up.


Step #1 – Figure out what you are selling now.


Sounds basic – but is it really? When Gordon first steps into
one of the restaurants he is about to makeover, he sits down for a

While he waits for the different dishes he ordered, he watches
carefully for the way the staff works, the way they treat customers,
and the way customers are enjoying (or not) the food.

When the food shows up, he is usually disgusted in what they are
passing off as main course meals.

Also, the restaurants that he steps into are almost always
seriously lacking enough customers to stay in business.


Step #2 – Who is behind this disaster they call a restaurant?


This is where the real truth starts to come out. He interviews
the owners, the servers, the head chef and the kitchen staff.

Usually, he finds one or two of them passionate about the
business, the rest of them are putting in time between paychecks.

Typically the ingredients are sub-par, the menu confusing with
too many options, and the actual food being delivered not worthy of a
roadside burger stand.


Step #3 – Find out what the customers REALLY want


Rarely is it what is being delivered!

The first thing to be done – – ASK THEM.

Find out what is missing on the restaurant scene.

Find out what foods they want the most, or that they have a tough
time finding.

Find out who the regulars are and what they want.

Find out which restaurants are doing best in your area – then go
in there to sample their food and service, always looking for ideas
to improvise upon.

And, very important, if it is a seasonal business or location –
make sure that the restaurant caters to those who live there year
round! Those are the people who keep the restaurant open – catering
to one-time tourists is a sure-fire way to bankruptcy.


Step # 4 – Find the signature dishes


Such a simple concept that so many businesses (in every possible
niche) completely ignore.

What is the one dish that the head chef enjoys making the most?

Usually, Gordon finds out that the chef has an incredible
signature plate that is not on the menu. Why? The owner is usually
the problem. As Gordon says, “owners should never write the menu –
the head chef should be the one to design the menu”.


Step #5 – Simplify the menu and the number of choices


Too many choices leave people confused and lacking in direction.

It also overcomplicates what is required in the kitchen to
deliver what was promised (resulting in inferior quality on all the

The menu is typically cut in less than half and the customers are
usually very happy about the change.

Also, a large portion is NOT a secret to restaurant success.
Smaller portions reduce waste, and keep customers coming back for


Step #6 – Systems ARE the key to success


Once the new menu has been created, putting systems in place to
ensure consistent (and fast) delivery is key.

Being able to double business in a week, without loss in quality
or without increase wait times, is something Gordon does in every
restaurant he walks into.


Step # 7 – Feet on the street marketing


Last, now that everything is in place and the systems have been
tested on a smaller scale, they get busy.

Getting the staff all geared up in uniforms, loaded up with their
new signature dishes, they hit the street and let anyone and everyone
try out the new menu choices.

Usually, an afternoon of that and they have enough curiosity
built up to guarantee their first night’s dinner is packed with
diners and hungry new customers.

The 7-step formula above sounds simple, but it consistently turns failing restaurants around in 1 single week.

The customers love the new choices (the ones they told you to start
making), the staff become much more motivated to deliver consistent
service, and the restaurant very quickly starts to make a profit.

Gordon usually revisits the restaurant after a month or two to see if
they have held together all the new changes.

9 times out of 10 they have held it together, stuck with the changes,
and are enjoying more money than they have experienced in years.

And yes, this does apply to your business to …

* Figure out exactly what you are selling now

* Who is behind your business? What do the customers see? What do
they think?

* Find out what the customers REALLY want

* Find your signature offer

* Simplify the number of choices

* Systems ARE the key to success

* Feet on the street marketing

Last, a few side lessons from Gordon …

It IS about the image you portray

Use only the finest ingredients in areas the customers enjoy most

What is the passion – where did it come from – find a way to
bring it back

Don’t take it personally – take it seriously

It’s about the story you give them to tell others

When you hire a professional to help – try listening to their
advice for a change (not that any customers who hire a copywriter or
marketing consultant would ever ignore the advice of an expert!)

What you hear most on the show: “%^ing HELL!” (which he says every
time he sees something that is destroying the business – about every
32 seconds you will hear him say “%^ing HELL!”

My favorite Gordon quote: “Who needs a wine list when you can get
pissed on desert?”

To your success,

Troy White

This article was originally written for the Small Business Mastery Column, which I write every Friday for the World’s Highest Paid Copywriter, Clayton Makepeace.

Troy White is a top marketing coach, consultant & direct response copywriter based in Calgary, Canada. He has a powerful approach to growing small businesses and entrepreneurial run ventures on a budget. His FREE Cash Flow Surges newsletter shares tons of great strategies at