Last night was the first episode in Rachel Khoo’s new series The Little Paris Kitchen on BBC2. I really enjoyed the programme (I’m not normally into cookery shows), mainly because of the beautiful shots of Paris, and also because the recipes seemed easy to follow. It also got me thinking of what business lessons could we learn.
1. Rachel used what she had – and didn’t complain about it
Rachel’s apartment in Paris (where the series is filmed) is small. Really small. Her kitchen is 3 sq meters, and her cooker (stove?) looked smaller than a laptop. It’s all she has to create her dishes. She opens her flat as a restaurant for people to dine in. Yet she never complained. There was no “If only I had a larger kitchen”, or “This place is too small to invite people into”. She used what she has, and gets on with it.
In business it’s easy to think “If I had more money I could do this …” or “If I had larger premises / more facilities I could do so much more”. Use what you’ve got and get on with it.
2. Rachel used her limitations to their advantage
As I mentioned earlier, Rachel opens her flat as a restaurant and can only serve two people eating. She doesn’t see this as a problem however (at least I don’t think she does) but uses it to her advantage. By only serving a couple of people at a time, she’s got a reputation that has spread throughout France and the rest of the world.
Most companies try to sell to everyone. Whilst that may suit your business, sometimes it’s better to aim for a niche. And sometimes the niche is so small you might think you’re not noticed. Use it to your advantage. Serving two at a time might mark you out as different than your competitors and give you the edge. You could sell your product for a limited time, or only aim for people in a geographical area, and see where it leads. It could give you the buzz you need.
There are many other business lessons we could learn from Rachel (get to know your suppliers, source locally etc.) but these aren’t limited to the Little Paris Kitchen so haven’t mentioned them here. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the next programme.