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#10 Entrepreneurial Lessons From Movie 'Burnt' It shows how Adam tried to restart his career in London, rebuild his reputation and achieved his third Michelin star.

By Harsh Pamnani

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The movie, "Burnt' covers the comeback journey of Adam Jones, a talented chef who spent 10 years cooking in Paris and became head chef of Jean Luc's restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Paris. He achieved two Michelin stars, fame and success and then fell from grace as a result of his arrogance. His arrogance not only impacted his own career, but also caused closure of the restaurant and affected careers of a number of his friends.This movie shows how Adam tried to restart his career in London, rebuild his reputation and achieved his third Michelin star – the highest possible rating from the French restaurant guide. This movie covers many important entrepreneurial lessons, a few of them are as follows.

Avoid Arrogance Of Success

Passion could bring success, success could bring pride, pride could bring arrogance and arrogance could emotionally hurt others. During his first success journey in Paris, being passionate about his work, Adam worked 20 hours a day, 6 days a week, and loved every minute of his work. He enjoyed the heat and pressure of kitchen and felt his belongingness there. He wanted and achieved glory at a young age and didn't know how to hold on to it. He tried to control everything. His drug usage, manic drive for perfection and arrogance caused his downfall. Adam's downfall shows that both achieving success and sustaining the same are two important aspects of passionate people's career journey.

Plan Your Comeback

In this highly competitive world, it is tough to achieve, tougher to sustain and toughest to regain lost reputation. When someone is unknown, his failures might not be noticeable, but when someone is popular, his failures are publicly noticeable. Adam planned his comeback by restarting his career in London after three years. He persisted and convinced his friend Tony to run his hotel's kitchen as the head chef.

Understand Your Competition

Knowing best competitors and their offerings can help in strategizing your own offerings that could stand out. Adam visited Recce's, a cutting edge restaurant ran by Recce, with whom he had rivalry. Recce was one of Europe's most experiential and beloved chefs, whose restaurant had earned him three Michelin stars.

Admit And Correct Your Mistakes Quickly

The journey of improvement starts when we recognize, admit and work hard upon our mistakes. During Adam's second start in London, when the restaurant opened, it wasn't perfect as per standards defined by Adam and he closed it early. He became furious at his team, apologized to his customers and went to a talk show to generate interest in the restaurant.

Cultivate Culture Of Perfection

Pursuit of perfection helps us give attention to every small item and always keep us out of our comfort zone. It pushes us to achieve the best. Adam was a very talented chef and his friend Tony was known for one of the most memorable dining experiences in London. In kitchen, Adam pushed his team for perfection in everything they do — from thickness of potato slices to cooking time of various food items, to presentation of final dishes and so on. Tony and Adam prepared their team to earn Michelin stars for their restaurant. Adam emphasized on perfection by telling his team, "Everything from now on must be perfect. Not good, not excellent…perfect."

To Be Extraordinary, Give Your Best In Ordinary

Customers experience a brand, but many things go behind creating a memorable brand experience. The movie shows that both Adam and Tony, and their team members took every ordinary looking task seriously and made overall restaurant experience extraordinary. It shows that for a great dining experience, the team cleaned every glass, ironed table covers, treated their guests well. In kitchen, team carefully selected ingredients, prepared and presented every dish beautifully, cleaned kitchen diligently.

Earn Trust Of Influencers

Every industry has influencers whose word of mouth can make or break credibility of an organization or an individual. Simone Forth was one of the most powerful restaurant critics in London. Adam convinced her to dine at Tony's hotel and created an opportunity to prepare food for her. Simone's review of Adam's food helped Adam in joining Tony's hotel as the head chef. The movie shows that Tony was aware about various influential restaurant critics, their visits at his hotel and how to give them special attention.

Accept The Challenge Of Changing Yourself

Changes in market dynamics, customer choices, competition, culture require people to change themselves so that they could perform as per market expectations. Adam restarted his career after a few years' gap. His team member Helene felt that his cooking style was out of date. She felt what worked in Paris a few years ago might not work in London as tastes would have changed. Adam learned a few new things from Helene and shared his experience and skills with his team. To stay sober, he also attended sessions with psychiatrist Dr. Rosshilde.

Give And Earn Respect Of Your Team

It is important to give respect to team members, even if they are juniors and less experienced. They feel valued when they get respect from accomplished leaders. Due to food preparation mistakes by his team, Adam used to get arrogant on his team members. But, later, he tried being clam, guided and appreciated his team, and started joining team for meals. His team members collaborated and dedicated themselves for the best outcome.

Keep Experimenting

Every innovation requires experimentation. By using selective learnings from various opportunities and by experimenting with various combinations, sometimes innovators come up with likable and useful offerings. This movie shows Adam's knowledge of various cooking ingredients, cooking temperatures and dishes that he would have gained through his experiments. It also shows experimentation on new ways of cooking and, at the end, Adam's rival Recce said he admired Adam as a better chef and appreciated latter's work because it pushed him to keep experimenting.

This movie acts as a case study to showcase that if a leader wants, he can rebuild his lost reputation by creating opportunities for second chance.

(Views expressed are author's personal and don't necessarily represent any company's opinions.)

Harsh Pamnani

Marketer & Author

Harsh is passionate about marketing, and has authored articles in various business publications such as Advertising Age, Business Insider, Business World, Economic Times, Entrepreneur, Firstpost, InformationWeek and Retail. He is an alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur.
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