Gordon Ramsay’s Slip from Grace

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Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that Gordon Ramsay is anything short of pure entrepreneurial genius. The world watched as the occasionally foul-mouthed, in-your-face, crudely comical and undeniably talented man rose to stardom at a rapid-fire pace and now we sit in bewilderment as Ramsay reaches for sturdy ground. What happened to the man we all believed was unstoppable?

In the words of Gordon Ramsay Holdings CEO, also Ramsay’s father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, “We weren’t unlucky. We were clumsy.”

In a recent Bloomberg article, Ramsay’s inspiring ascent to household name and untimely and subsequent financial troubles in 2009 are chronicled and Hutcheson implies that the tables that turned so quickly on the Ramsay empire was a straight-forward case of growing too fast and not having a solid plan to go along with the expansion.

Last year, Ramsay generated an impressive $9 million from his U.S. talent fees, nearly $5 million from product endorsements, $50 million from cookware and appliances named after him, and more than $3 million from his British television shows. So what happened in between all of that money and “the company declaring bankruptcy, firing hundreds of people, and closing all but its best performing restaurants?”

The growth of the company was too rapid to keep up with and there just quite simply doesn’t appear to have been enough planning to complement the growth. According to the Bloomberg article, the company’s employee count sky-rocketed from 45 to 1,250 in just ten years, and Hutcheson “freely admits that he and Ramsay didn’t take local behavior into account while planning new restaurants, erroneously assuming, for example, that New Yorkers would be apt to drink heartily at lunch.”

After deciding to close his restaurant in Prague and “ceding the control of give others to a private equity firm in exchange for a consulting fee, Ramsay’s back in the black.” But Ramsay and his empire won’t be making the same mistake twice—changes have already been made. The report notes that “in London, his bistro Foxtrot Oscar has closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Stuart Gillies, his head chef at Boxwood Cafe in The Berkeley, has saved 1,500 pounds a month by no longer ordering flowers, and he now uses cheaper cuts of meat, such as beef shoulder, that he says require more skill to prepare.”

Here’s hoping one of the world’s most entertaining and talented men finds his footing not only in the kitchen but in all of his business endeavors.


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