Your Operation: What Would Ramsay Say?

Enjoying the fruits of retirement here in Canada, I am watching a show on the Beeb (that is, the BBC, not Justin Bieber) called “Kitchen Nightmares,” in which a failing restaurant calls in a famous British (more specifically, Scottish) chef to review, diagnose, and treat its dying business.

There are a bunch of these types of shows. Gordon Ramsay is not alone, although he may have been the first of his ilk. Bar Rescue, Ink Rescue, and a whole raft of others follow the same procedure.

What does food have to do with parking? Actually, not a whole heck of a lot on first consideration. But a consultant is a consultant, regardless of the discipline. In that regard, parking and food are intrinsically related.

This is like boy meets girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, etc. On T.V., invariably, Chef Ramsay quickly diagnoses the problems of the failing restaurant. Even when the owners don’t know or refuse to recognize the problems they have created, Ramsay immediately sees their issues and creates a path to success. Like the Dog Whisperer, the chef/consultant tries to fix the owners, not the dogs. The twist, which occurs with every restaurant, is that the owners begin to blame Ramsay for their problems.

O.K., you’ve waited for it. Now the parking analogy applies. How often have you blamed a parking consultant for problems your parking operation is facing, or flat-out rejected suggestions because the consultant “just doesn’t understand”? Did you try to define the issues prior to engaging the consultant? Is your assessment of institutional issues accurate? Have you provided the consultant with all of the information pertinent to the issues? Are you fighting the implementation of your recommendations of your consultant? Are you hearing comments like, “We’ve always done it that way” from your staff?

When you call in a consultant or ask for a peer review, you need to realize that the expert may not see the situation the way that you do. He or she may–and probably will–recommend some changes to the way you’re doing business.

Food for thought.

About Doug Holmes, CAPP

Doug Holmes, CAPP, is interim director, Transportation, Penn State – Retired. He serves on the IPI Advisory Council, is Co-Chair of the Professional Certification/CAPP Committee, and a member of the Professional Development Task Force.

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