Speaker, Author, Consultant, Fraud Examiner

Kitchen Nightmares with Chef Ramsay is a favorite show. After initially watching it, I quickly realized there is a lot of business takeaways that business owners can learn from Chef Gordon Ramsay.

If you have never watched the show, failing restaurants invite Gordon Ramsay into their businesses to determine what is wrong and then fix it. If you are someone who runs a business, put it on your watch list and settle in for a binge. It is chock-full of insightful management tips that you will be excited to try out in your own office.

90% of the problems in the business come down to management.

In the show, the majority of all issues in the restaurants stem from the owners and/or management. Common pitfalls are unwillingness to be the decision maker, uneducated on how to run a restaurant, lack of organization, untrained owners, employees or chefs, wanting to do anything else but be at the restaurant, no idea if restaurant has been profitable or not past 3 years or what the overhead has been to operate.

The outcome is bad food, poor service, constant employee turnover, employee theft, lack of clear direction, cutting corners in product and service, and subsequently, no profit.

Location and economy are never to blame.

I have never seen an episode where the location or economy are to blame for the restaurant’s failure. There has always been some glaring management issue demanding attention. Owners have walked out and refused to change, and sadly, the restaurant went out of business. But when they follow Ramsay’s advice, the restaurant’s course is righted or at least the show states.

Most of the time, the needed changes are obvious to the viewers, but for whatever reasons, the owners are dumb struck and blinded.

Ask yourself and your practice these questions to avoid being a Practice Nightmare.

1. Do you get the help you need?

Most of the restaurant owners waited until they had no patrons before calling for help. Why? Sometimes arrogance, sometimes wishful thinking that it would change, and sometimes just not recognizing available resources.

2. Who is the leader of the practice?

There is only one correct answer to this question, and it is the practice owner. Ultimately, the one with the greatest investment stands the most to gain or lose, right?

3. What’s the office attitude?

Negativity does damage to a practice. Employees that perpetuate negativity and constantly stir the pot need to be re-trained or terminated. There is typically an underlying reason for negativity. If you find it stems from something happening in the management style, it is time to address the bigger issue.

4. Has your practice experienced turnover? Why?

It is easier to avoid the internal magnifying glass than confront why turnovers happen. So, the next time you are tempted to skip the exit interview, stop and think of the practice. An exit interview allows the practice to gain a wealth of information from someone who has nothing to lose!

5. Are the reports reviewed and compared between the practice software and QuickBooks?

If not, do it ASAP. Figure out if the revenue amounts match in both software. If they do not, then you know something is not adding up and it is time to call in some help.

6. Do you understand the Profit & Loss report from QuickBooks?

If you do not know the impact of your income and expenses and the percentages of income your various expenses cost, how can you properly create a budget plan for your business? Or how to position your practice to reach its fullest potential? You have to know where you stand to know where you want to go and figure out how to get there.

A business is only as good as its weakest link.

You can sit here, read this article, thoughtfully answer these questions and prepare talking points to bring up with the practice owner, but unfortunately, none of that will make a lick of difference if the owner does not want to listen. When the weakest link in the practice is the owner and their reluctance to change, then you are fighting an uphill battle. However, if the practice owner is forward thinking and some of the questions above strike a chord, then there is still hope!

Here are some suggestions to help you prevent a “Practice Nightmare”:

1. Hire an outside consultant.

Outside consultants provide eyes and ears to see what needs changing. Thankfully, they will not be nearly as abrasive as Chef Ramsay, but hopefully will provide the necessary guidance. Yes, it will cost. Yes, it can be expensive. However, the cost of a consultant is an investment in the success of your practice.

2. Initiate regular team meetings.

A team meeting is a time for the practice to regroup and plan for the day, the week, the month. Use the time together to set goals and talk about opportunities for growth. Think of your employees as internal resources. If you are not seeking the employee’s input, they are being underutilized! Be open to what they have to say and be sure you show your appreciation. Approach-ability goes a long way.

3. Conduct software training.

I seriously recommend a half day of training twice a year, minimum. There are so many changes and added features in the software you may be not utilizing or using incorrectly. I also recommend a half day for the doctor alone.

4. Get QuickBooks help.

Can’t understand your reports? If you do not understand it, get help from a QuickBooks Expert who specializes in practices for business management purposes, not simply for taxes. Healthcare practices use a unique design of QuickBooks, but that is not to say that it is rocket science! It really does not need to be over-complicated. Make your QuickBooks work for you by making it easy to understand.

5. Conduct a Practice Financial Analysis.

If QuickBooks and the practice software do not match, get a Practice Financial Analysis. It is an outside review of a practice’s financial records and software systems to ensure everything is in order and is performed by those who know your business and software.

6. Never Stop Learning.

There are so many opportunities for you to learn about business processes. Be involved in your local study clubs and state organizations. Armed with a variety of topics, these meetings occur with a clear purpose and provide an opportunity to brainstorm with other “like-minded” practices.

If there was a casting call for “Practice Nightmares,” would yours qualify?

Take decisive action today. It is your choice.

Want to join the discussion? Feel free to contribute below!