In 2005 the UK’s most outspoken chef & entrepreneur Gordon Ramsey was a speaker at Customer Management 2005, London. We made then summary of some of his quotes that are really valid also today – eight years later.
- – leaders do not create followers – they create more leaders
- – create an organization with buzz. You need to involve your customers as players here – it is the customers who create the ambience.
- – wow all your customers, not only the best ones
- – listen your customers
- – you are the customer’s champion, challenge complacent practices in your sector
- – do not let success go to your head and you do not take customers for granted
- – use the best ingredients (that includes people!)
- – all business is show business – companies from all sectors are learning how to let customer in and join the “prosumption”experience – instead of being treated as just consumers.
“If there’s a buzz in our industry about a new restaurant opening anywhere in the world, there will be a booking made for a table for six within 48 hours of the restaurant opening. Those six will be my staff – three waiters from front of house and three kitchen staff. They’ll be there to learn and to report back. That’s how we keep up with competitor innovation and stay abreast of what’s going on.”
“I was interviewed on the Letterman Show in the States. He said to me ‘While you’re over here, who’s doing the cooking back at your restaurants?’ I said ‘The same people who do it when I am there.’ “We have ten restaurants around the world. I don’t cook in all of them. It’s about inspiring and developing people to aim for perfection for customers then letting them get on and deliver. The better they become, the easier my job is.” “David Letterman was wearing a very nice suit. I leant forward and asked him who made it. He flashed the Armani label and said it cost around $1,000. ‘And did Georgio do the stitching?’ I asked him.”“If I seem abrasive it’s because I have to engrain in every member of staff that we are not more important than the customer. I am demanding perfection on behalf of the customer. Part of getting that message across is we insist that staff put themselves in the position of the customer.
“I had a talented young chef who insisted on making impressive little towers out of his dishes – you know the way chefs make your food into an architectural statement. I asked him to keep them flat and simple on the plate. He was very reluctant to. “One lunch time I noticed him constructing a lamb cutlet tower of Pisa-type thing on a plate, ready to send out to the customer. I came up to him and said ’Put on an apron that doesn’t have food stains on it and follow your food into the restaurant to see what happens.’ He wouldn’t. I, er, insisted. “So he creeps out as quietly as possible, not wanting to head out of his territory, and follows the food to the customer who had ordered the lamb. The customer immediately dismantles the tower so they can eat it. The young chef is crestfallen. But he gets it. The customer is there to enjoy the flavors, not marvel at an art form. From then on he always lays the lamb out flat on the plate. Because it’s about the customer, not about your precious work of art.”
“How do you develop the social skills of a chef, putting them in touch with the customers like that on a regular basis? At Claridges, that’s one of the reasons we set up the Chef’s Table, at the edge of the kitchen, so chefs can connect with customers.“
“We had young chefs working there who had never previously met their customer. Now they were forced to. They had to spend two minutes meeting a table of people and explaining to them what they would be doing to their dishes. Then, two hours later, they had to revisit the table and ask the customers what they thought of the experience.”
“Not only is this immensely powerful for the customer experience and for putting the chef right there with the customer, it also makes financial sense: each chef’s table turns over about three-quarters of a million pounds a year in what was the pot wash area.”