Caren Ware's Blog

August 1, 2011

Gordon Ramsey and “Timing Nightmares”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 7:28 pm

I was introduced to Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares”. Finding them on a BBC channel and Netflixs, I churned through episode after episode of restaurants gone bad . They had nothing to do with the kind of business I owned; and yet they did. The owners were clueless as to why their business was failing. The answers seemed to be always the same. “I am at a loss to figure out why. I am not sure. It worked so well for so many years, but now…”. Gordon Ramsey would be called in to investigate and evaluate. In his no-nonsense ,blatant demeanor he would stir up obviousness the owners were too overwhelmed, worn down, and stuck in their ways to see. The episodes that struck me were the family owned husband and wife businesses and how the deteriorating health of the business eroded the respect and closeness of even tight knit families. You could witness in the eyes and actions of the owners the loss of confidence, paralyzing fear over mounting debt, scours and blame, and sprouting bitterness. Most these businesses had lost their way through poor operational systems, managers being paid and called managers that had no true ideal how to make a business actually make money , and were begun on a plunge of zealous over-investment with no business plan. The program would reveal how most owners had stuck their head in the sand while their backsides were ridiculously and vulnerably open to prey. Most of the owners had ostriched. Me included!

I put blogging aside although fun people were being found and places and food still to be explored. I needed to pull my head out of the sand and take a reality look around . Just as Ramsey’s program would generate conviction, change, redirection, and a fresh and successful restart; I, too, could benefit from some no-nonsense, blatant unscrambling of my own business .

First stop. Visit other events timed by competing timing companies and evaluate prospective timing systems. What caught my eye? Not the slick register yourself computer stations, or the chip check TVs that popped up all your registered information just shy of if you liked long walks on the beach, or the find you friend on the course and face book and twitter it at the results tent. These came at the zealous over –investment price purchased without contemplating if this event industry and its directors would or could offer contracts that would repay the oohhs and aughs just offered to the participant crowd. What caught my eye was that fear of mounting debt, weariness from travel and lack of sleep, and sour scour I saw on the restaurant business owners faces. But here they were in the eyes’ of couples in my industry. They clearly loved each other and could not believe they were being sucked down a drain of blame and dislike. A recently established timing couple shared with me their mounting struggles that I already knew. The hand handling of the CHIP, whether disposable of retrievable, was costly and time consuming. The cost of either forced us to do most of the assembly ourselves, in our homes, all over our coffee tables and lofts. To even come close to paying back the hardware costs purchased through equity, retirement funds, family loans, and over 18 percent credit card debts timing contracts were piled on an already demanding event calendar . No contract was overlooked and travel to places that made you less than break-even was jammed in just for cash flow. Almost all the timing scenarios I went to view had this look. Mine must have looked no different. We bought a system with equity in our home and plopped it down in our beloved mountain house living room when the industry demanded it. But no software matched it. We then paid a young man a larger portion than I would pay if my kids had gone to private colleges to develop a system and software. It took years. Instead of training my other operators, he developed himself and deemed himself as the great and only Chip timer. To be a healthy business I intended my business to be an airlines, not a plane with only one pilot that knew how to fly it. My phone stopped ringing as much. I traced that not all my website emails were being forwarded directly to me. Something dramatic had to happen. I had to get back to being what PRIME TIME was originally about. It was too late to get a home back. I could not afford this kind of manager. I could no longer afford to run my business like this…personally or financially.

I moved the business to a business center with a drive in warehouse. I established a creative and inviting office space that spoke more about me than timing events. And I did an immediate downsize. I began “pilot’ school and cross trained everyone on board with PRIME TIME. A watered garden grows and I watched spirits, inventiveness, positivity, and production soar. We are using this summer to freshen our look and are energized as we are prepped to provide the experienced staff and ‘people’ centered service we are known for. It’s a valued need that will always be sought after amidst ever changing software and hardware. My staff and I are proud to offer PRIME TIME, a ‘fleet’ of trained and professional timers that love and know their sport. Thank you, Gordon Ramsey. Thank you dedicated PRIME TIME staff.

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