Bert Weenink Broccoli soupAs many know, I have a genuine love for GREAT food and an equal passion for Business. Given this, I took some time to watch some cooking reruns from the well-known Gordon Ramsay during this past holiday season.

Yet again, I am amazed at the discoveries made during his initial investigations. Identifying the fundamental problems causing the financial distress of these establishments is not always easy. Yet, somehow, he gets to the root causes for the poor performance of the restauranteurs and business owners.

South Africa has a similar TV Show called “In Die Sop: Restaurant Evolusie” run by Bertus Basson, our very own famous Chef and entrepreneur. Bertus’s restaurants have won numerous Eat Out awards, and in 2019 he was named the S.Pellegrino Chef of the Year.

I have suddenly developed an addition to the Kitchen Nightmare series and “In Die Sop”! Watching Bertus and his team transform restaurants in only 72 hours is impressive. All these episodes essentially feature entrepreneurs in peril. However, amid the disappointing food, slow service, and loss of angry customers, there’s a universal lesson that Bertus and Gordon Ramsay are sharing. Entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders need to pay attention to the underlying advice.

While the issues that these distressed and nightmarish restaurants issues are all unique, these problems can be classified into three common focus areas: time, team, and money.   

A common theme among them sticks out like a sore thumb – overcomplication!

Overcomplication usually starts with a menu listing too many entrees or meal options. At other times, recipes have too many steps and ingredients. The complexity of running these restaurants keeps the team from fulfilling their core mission, which is to create great food and do so efficiently for enough people, thus enabling them to feed the team and the Business with the gross profit they make.

In one of the episodes of Kitchen Nightmares, Ramsay asks an owner/chef to make a broccoli soup. The Chef used 16 ingredients – not only did it take forever to make, the colour was off, and worst of all, the core ingredient (broccoli) could not be tasted at all!

On the other hand, Ramsay’s version was kept simple, composed of only water, broccoli, and salt. It was a lush green, tasted superb, was quick to make, AND inexpensive. As a dish, it ticked three necessary boxes; quality, cost, and speed!

Here is my question: How much of what you do in your Business is an overcomplicated broccoli soup? 

As a business owner, once we have identified the customer’s need, it’s time to make the soup. Many of us are experienced, well-educated, ambitious, and academically curious, and we want to show it. In doing so wind up tossing all of our mental ingredients into every broccoli soup we make. It’s the ultimate trap. 

So what do we do? Yes, we try to reinvent the wheel instead of relying on our systems. We end up feeding fewer customers and, as a result, struggle to feed ourselves. I call this “productive avoidance” as we drift towards the things we want to do versus the things that we need to do.

I believe that there is another downside. When the time comes, and the customer wants us to make our company’s version of a soufflé, we cannot do it because we’ve spent all our energy complicating the most uncomplicated products.

Some business owners and entrepreneurs are dissuaded due to their simplicity. There is great power in executing a plan with focus and efficiency while serving many customers.

Wikipedia describes the concept of keeping things simple as the “Keep It Simple Stupid” principle. It states that most systems work best if kept simple rather than complicated; therefore, simplicity should be essential.

Whether you call it the KISS principle or sound systems, we’re making broccoli soup at the end of the day. Find the need, create a recipe, and keep serving your customers.

I would love to hear your comments and shared experiences.

Coach Bert Weenink


Mobile: 27823206072

Source: Michael Gavino – Gordon Ramsay’s ultimate recipe for Business

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