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A celebrity chef goes global : the business of eating

journal contribution
posted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by Marc Jones
Purpose – This paper examines the internationalization strategy of Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd (GRH) from its base in London. While a substantial body of research on the strategic prerequisites for successful internationalization already exists, little attention has been given within this literature to the international growth of small, informally organized and entrepreneurially-driven firms. The discussion also identifies the challenges facing GRH as it strives to continue its international expansion.

Design/methodology/approach –
The paper utilizes various published sources from the general press, business press and trade journals to examine the international expansion of GRH on the back of the personal brand the charismatic Gordon Ramsay has achieved in culinary and media circles. The growth of the GRH organization is interpreted through a theoretical framework of strategic capabilities and relationships.

Findings –
The analysis illustrates how critical resources and capabilities, branded reputation, and strategic relationships established in GRH's home market have been leveraged effectively overseas. The most fundamental challenge facing GRH going forward is balancing the opportunities and pressures for growth against the need to maintain the highest levels of quality in existing establishments. This “balancing act” has to unfold within an empire in which the entrepreneur-emperor (Ramsay) has less and less time to devote to any particular activity or establishment.

Originality/value –
The case illustrates the importance of developing and leveraging strategic capabilities and relationships in support of successful international expansion. Some of the unique challenges associated with the internationalization of small, informally organized and entrepreneurially-driven (and branded) firms are addressed in terms of both problems and solutions.



Journal of business strategy






14 - 23


Emerald Group Publishing


Bingley, England






Reproduced with the specific permission of the copyright owner.

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited