What do Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares have in common with estate agents?

Gordon Ramsey meme being nice to a little girl and mocking an adult

Gordon Ramsey has over 3 million followers on TikTok (tell me again it’s just for kids…🤨) Love him or hate him, he’s a hugely successful chef and businessman. 

He’s had his share of failures, of course, like having to close his restaurant in his hometown, Glasgow. 

He said: “I failed before in business when I opened a restaurant in my hometown thinking I was the dog’s bollocks and it made me the person I am today, having both success and failure.” 

Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares was ground-breaking TV when it started, back in 2004. It even made it in America and was followed by Hotel Hell. The Hotel Inspector, Bar Rescue, and Mary Portas’ Queen of Shops all follow a similar format.  

If you’re not familiar with the process, Gordon visits restaurants, or hotels, that aren’t doing very well. He has a meal, which is always “the worst meal he’s ever had”.  

The awful lunch or dinner is merely the presenting symptom of a deeper, malevolent cause.  

There are moments of tension as Ramsey gets to know the owner(s) and uncovers the problems behind the bad food. He speaks to the staff about what’s happening in the establishment. He often brings previous customers back so the owners receive a sharp wake-up call. 

Ramsey usually uncovers the following: 

  • Untrained team members 
  • Shocking management and poor communication 
  • Terrible food – frozen, badly prepared, not fresh nor local 
  • Badly designed signage and menus 
  • Terrible décor. 

With his help, the team gets motivated and provided with training in the basic skills they need. It also means they know what ‘Good’ looks like.  

The owners pull their socks up and start behaving like managers, not brats. The honesty with which Ramsey delivers his advice means there’s nowhere for them to hide any further.  

Ramsey’s team also do a makeover of the restaurant or a room in the hotel. They often provide a fabulous piece of technology, like a payment & ordering system. The signage gets changed and the menus modernised. 

I get to see a massive cross-section of the UK property industry. I might be: 

  • Mystery shopping estate agents 
  • Delivering training to untrained or jaded team members 
  • Helping identify gaps in the marketing strategy 
  • And improving businesses’ social media.  

With Gordon Ramsey as my inspiration, I try to have a holistic view of the businesses I support. My free social media audits often end up as a quick website check too, which then leads onto a multitude of other topics. (If you need one just message me here.)

Also like Mr Ramsey, I don’t shy away from the difficult conversations. I’d rather explain to owners the problems as I see them, than fail to discuss things. I try to do that within the Heart-Led style that Ramsey himself uses with children and young people.

The difficulties can often be resolvable things that involve a mindset shift more than anything. 

The Pyramid of Success starts with well-being as the foundation for the rest of the business. This is where those mindset shifts make or break a business and a team. 

The processes are the next layer of the Pyramid. It’s here that you create easy routes for you and the whole team to follow. With manuals, these living documents ensure that everyone knows what ‘Good’ looks like and helps everything go as smoothly as possible. 

The peak of the Pyramid is your digital marketing. This spills over into boards, flyers, letters, all the elements that form your brand. 

What is missing from my Pyramid at present is the office makeover. 

For some, you may think this isn’t relevant. If you’re working from your home office and don’t have clients visit, it’s easy to overlook. 

However, it’s the space you spend the most time in. Make it count. 

If you have a team, think about the impact on recruitment and retention of a stunning, up-to-date place that everyone admires and is proud of be part of. Compare that to the dated, property-covered windows of old.

Think of the impact it has on the clients, and potential clients, who see the space too. Does it impress them and instill confidence in them that you’re on the ball and brilliant?

Check out the newly opened third office (congratulations!) of Wilson Defraine. Beautifully presented, modern, trendy, classy. So many positive adjectives to use.  

Wilson Defraine's new office

Previously, someone had heard that blue makes people trust you and just ran with it. 

An office with deep blue walls and carpet

Imagine working in that – you’d feel like you were underwater! It’s so oppressive. 

In summary, Kitchen Nightmares can teach us a more about how to improve our estate agency businesses that might first meet the eye. 

  1. Get the mindset right. 
  2. Get the training right. 
  3. Get the branding right. 

That’s my Pyramid of Success and, at its root, it’s Gordon Ramsey’s format too.  

I’m absolutely gagging for Elle Wood’s Estate Agent Nightmares’ to be picked up by Channel 4.  

Thank you to Jools Defraine for permission to use the photos.