Gordon Ramsay is always laser-focused on his next business venture. But when does he find the time?
The chef and restauranteur is involved in 60 restaurants around the world and has seven Michelin stars. He’s also featured in a handful of popular Fox shows, including “Hell’s Kitchen,” which is currently airing, “MasterChef,” “MasterChef Junior,” and “Next Level Chef.”
Season 8 of “Kitchen Nightmares” is also airing now, after an eight-year hiatus.
And on Thursday, Ramsay’s newest restaurant venture, Ramsay’s Kitchen, opens in Oklahoma City.
Chef/host Gordon Ramsay cooks during an episode of MasterChef (Getty Images)
But even though the U.K. native has become an international star, he says the key to success is actually about staying much closer to home. Opening a restaurant is a lot like opening any kind of business, he says. It takes a lot of work.
Here, Ramsay tells Entrepreneur his three tips for growing a business.
1. Perfect your business locally
“Stay local,” Ramsay told Entrepreneur when asked for his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs at an event for HexClad Cookware in New York City. “I spent the last four weeks here in New York, the local neighborhood restaurants were phenomenal. Tap into what’s happening regionally, and then become the best locally.”
Ramsay says to get it right at home first, and then growing will be easier.
“Stop worrying about overseas and global phenomena and become the best in your vicinity. Everything else will fall into place after that,” he said.
2. Social media has disrupted soft openings
Holding a “soft opening” has become a thing of the past because of social media, he says. It can mess with customer expectations, creating a new set of challenges for business owners.
“I’ve always welcomed the intrusion that is social media. So the problem is, when we do open a restaurant, it’s full from day one because we’ve got that amazing buildup,” Ramsay said. “The hardest thing is the consistency because there are no gentle startups now. And because we have a reputation and sort of the band-aid off, we need to get it right. We’re under scrutiny from day one.”
Still, scrutiny can lead to feedback, which is important in making any business successful, he says.
3. Try a pop-up instead of a soft launch
By launching as a temporary “pop-up,” entrepreneurs and business owners will be able to see potential problems and inefficiencies at a smaller scale before it’s too late. It also gets around any reputational issues on social media by making it easier to quickly pivot to a new location, concept, or name.
“Set up a mini version of what you want your business to become, and do almost a pop-up of what you want to do,” Ramsay said. “Whether it’s a new location, an art gallery, whether it’s a restaurant, run it for 48 hours only, and set up a small, limited time, limited version of what you’d like to become. It’s a great way of testing.”