Before the widespread adoption of the internet and effect of globalization, commerce was a predominantly…
The episode of Kitchen Nightmares with the Arizona based restaurant Amy’s Baking Company turned out to be a real nightmare both on and off the screen. While I sat there watching the situation quickly escalate on Social Media, I didn’t laugh. In fact I was shocked to see the audacity of the owners of the apparently good looking restaurant. So much that it prompted me to come back from the little hiatus from TLB.
Looking at the situation I can only say that its a terrible day for Amy and Samy and I hope that they learn from it and successfully understand the urgency of changing their attitude towards running their business. Frankly I don’t know them personally so I can not make judgements based on a TV show but there are a few things that are fairly obvious and calls for attention. Taking the whole incident as a case study, I would like to list out a few things that a Local Brand of business must learn from it.
1. People like Gordon Ramsey are there to help: I didn’t know Amy or Samy before watching the episode but I knew Gordon Ramsey from his excellent TV shows on food. Masterchief and Kitchen Nightmares are proof enough that he is good for his word. His career as a celebrity chef is undisputed and he has no interest in making a joke about himself. People like him are out there to help you and your business. Their intentions are benevolent. If an expert walks in and tells you that you are not doing something right then learn to accept it. Its good for you. Do not instead claw back at them. Remember that they can walk out as easily as they walked in. The moral of the story is that if you are being criticised by someone who knows better, you should take that opportunity to improve yourself. There’s always a scope of improvement.
2. Do not blow your 15 minutes of Fame: A raw pizza dough or a soggy burger don’t make much of a difference. Those could have been overcome with a little help from Gordon. The real damage was done when Amy’s arrogance and denial led to the show being discontinued halfway. Now consider a ‘What if’ scenario. The end results would have been entirely different if the show had taken a different route the second day when Gordon tried to reason with the owners about what had happened the previous day. If Amy had swallowed her pride and just let the shooting proceed the reactions would have been much more positive. By admitting to a few mistakes and showing the willingness to improve, they could have won the people. On the contrary what really happened, opened up a barrage of negative responses on both in the media and the internet. Opportunities like these don’t come everyday. For your local brand it would be a gem of moment to be televised for a international show. At least for the sake of your reputation, please keep your bad attitudes, if any, at bay for those 15 minutes of fame. Remember it will last for 15 minutes but will have far reaching effects, especially on Social Media.
3. Ill-treating your staff will kill your brand: Local brands should understand that they don’t have a luxury of hiring at will. Well firstly because you will not find the right talent so easily. When Gordon asked one of the food runners at the restaurant about her experience and ability to handle the restaurant’s order management System, he was trying to solve a critical HR problem. Whether Samy is competent or not is not the matter of concern. What is more important is to give opportunity to the staff to rise up in the organization. If you do not allow growth or if don’t have a growth plan for your people then they will not enjoy working for you. Plus delegating certain tasks can make your life much better. On the other hand if you ill-treat your staff, they will never forget it. While your staff might not complain on your face, they will spread the word and eventually you will kill your own employer brand image. Above that, you should always behave well with your staff in front of the customer. The customer will never respect your brand if they see you dealing poorly with your own people.
4. Do not underestimate your customer’s ability to lash back: You can be running your business on Mafia money or you may be the bad-est, meanest businessman in town but never underestimate the power of the people. If you are in a habit of regularly upsetting your customers then the word will get around and no amount of power will help your business. A single ‘nobody’ can hurt your brand by taking it to social media. Your bad attitude will only make the matters worse as one negative review will multiply within no time and soon a thousand people will be after your life with little reservation. Treat every customer nicely. There is no reason not to be polite even when you know that the customer is wrong. If you have to refuse a customer for some reason then the best way of doing that is to do it with grace. By maintaining common courtesies you will ensure that you are not lynched by a mob for no reason. Also if you can’t handle your social media then there’s no shame in hiring services of a Social Media expert but do listen to them without letting your ego getting in the way.
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