Stones In The Bucket

Posted on June 26, 2012


I watched my first episode of Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ that I found very interesting, and I think you will to.

In this episode originally aired in 2006, Ramsay is charged with turning around the Sandgate Hotel’s contemporary restaurants which are destined to go under because the restaurant’s head chef, cooks, servers, managers, and hotel owners and not on the same page.

If you read my recent post, “How Hotel Owners And GMs Can Change The Top 10 Reasons Why Hotels UnderperformPart I and Part II, you have an inkling where I am going with this.

Ramsay, wearing his troubleshooter’s hat, makes his way from the front to the back of the house sampling menu items, observing servers in action, talking with the restaurant’s manager and eventually on to the kitchen where he questions the quality of food that was prepared by the head chef.

His assessment is not good (duh) so he parades the restaurant’s staff and the hotel’s owners to the beach in order to participate in an exercise that I call ‘Stones in the Bucket’.

Here’s how it works.

Everyone was given a plastic sand pail and each one of the staff were asked to drop a stone in the pail of who he/she thought was responsible for the problems facing the restaurants.

One by one stones were placed in an individual’s pail and in the end the majority of stones were distributed among the chef’s pail, the restaurant manager’s pail, and the owner’s pail signifying that there was a disconnect that started with ownership and trickled down through those who were ultimately responsible for delivering food and service to their guests.

If you had the opportunity to participate in this type of exercise, would the outcome be similar or would the stones end up in one person’s pail?

Tell me why.

Tom Costello is the CEO and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a performance improvement consulting firm that specializes in the hospitality and travel verticals.  Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+, or contact him by emailRequest a complimentary copy of his new book “Prepare for Liftoff.

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