Political Technology Gordon Ramsay

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay on why he’s launching a mobile game


By Jessica Goodfellow, Media Reporter

June 29, 2016 | 8 min read

Gordon Ramsay has launched an app, Ramsay Dash, in an attempt to further his brand empire and tap into digital audiences.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay on why he’s launching a mobile game.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay on why he’s launching a mobile game.

Players have their own avatar and compete against others in a race to build their culinary restaurants that mirror the celebrity’s chef’s own from around the world. They can trade ingredients with one another to create the best dishes and earn ‘Wichelin’ stars, all under the watchful eye of Ramsay. The chef will mentor players throughout the game, offering sound bites based on what the player is doing.

The game is running in 150 countries on Apple and Google devices and is backed by a quirky video the chef hopes will prove a viral hit. Ramsay will also push the app via his restaurant’s across the US, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The app has been created by Glu, the developers behind apps for Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Kendall and Kylie Jenner among others. Ramsay Dash follows the same template as those before it, relying on in-app purchases to support its free-to-play model.

It’s a model that seems to doing well for Glu, which reported $249.9m total revenue for 2015, an 11 per cent increase on the previous year with a huge part of its revenue generated by just one game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Little wonder then why Ramsay is the latest celebrity to lend his brand to the developers.

However, he is quick to point out that the app isn’t just a senseless attempt to squeeze more money from his profile. When quizzed by The Drum about the app’s business model, Ramsay explained that the revenue, like those other games before it, would come from the in-app purchases players make.

“I think like any app it is what you add on to make that restaurant [in the game] glamorous depending on how much you spend. It is interesting watching the data having been in development for just over two years,” said Ramsay.

The Drum caught up with the celebrity chef to hear more about his initial steps into the mobile space.

Can you talk me through the business model behind it? How do you plan to make money?

When you look at restaurants [in the game] first of all you start off with a humble approach, with two staff in the kitchen, two staff in the dining room. And then you start buying a little more experience in the ingredients once you master the basics. So I think like any app it is what you add on to make that restaurant glamorous depending on how much you spend. It is interesting watching the data [for the app] having been in development for just over two years.

We have been watching the excitement from downloading and spending money on additional luxuries to make [an in-game] restaurant more prolific before [the player] goes out and competes with other chefs globally. That is where it is going to add up. But I would like to get back to the excitement of what it is going to be like downloading this thing for free and playing restaurateur for the day and having a bit of fun.

By launching a new mobile game are you looking to reach a new audience?

I look at my iPhone, I look at [my daughter] Matilda’s and I have half a dozen apps where she has 30 to 40 apps and it is extraordinary what some of them like the Starbucks one can do now. It is the world we live in, I am always a big advocate for that social media intrusion in restaurants even though so many chefs get pissed off when customers start taking pictures of their food. It’s the customers prerogative; they are fucking paying for it so we can’t get precious that they are loading their blogs and social media content with pictures of their dinner. If they have paid £200 for this exquisite dinner then they can take a picture of their food, what the hell.

There have been other cases of celebrities launching apps that didn’t pull off because they did not have a strong enough digital presence to start off with, what makes you think this one will work?

Ask me that question this time in two weeks and I will be able to answer it better. I think the social media environment is huge, we are up to about 13.5/14 thousand crossover across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. That social media effect is huge but the content and the excitement behind breaking ground with something new is way more important if you want to catch on. I don’t want to discuss other people’s negativity in terms of why it didn’t work for them. I have just been focusing with the team over the last 8 months on how do we get this right, what are we doing that is groundbreaking. You will see every week and every month there will be new editions to this app that will keep customers, players and fans on their toes with new exciting things that we are going to be drip-feeding. The pre-scripted exclusive downloads have gone crazy, we have had a great reception there. The indications are right.

How are you going to cut through?

We’ve got a very funny viral campaign that’s going to launch alongside the app.

The reach with [my] restaurants globally [will also help]. We’re running some exciting competitions and working closely with Caesar’s in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong. So we have some really exciting fun ideas to bring this app closer to a broad band of customers in the restaurants.

Then there’s support from Glu. We had an exciting opportunity with another company prior to them, which we passed on because the timing wasn’t right and I didn’t feel comfortable with the team. When Glu came along and wanted to make this one of the best apps in the market we then sat with Apple and Google and had great thinktank sessions. We went to see [Apple and Google] in San Francisco; met the most amazing app team in terms of identifying what was working in the market and what wasn’t. From a chef’s point of view it is highly inspiring when you go to the headquarters of Apple when you think of the history of that place and how they look after the creative team. It was a huge area of development and it was important to listen to what was working and what wasn’t working and how they could get behind this in a groundbreaking way.

If this goes well would you be looking at give his name to more activities on mobile and digital?

One thing at a time for me, I’m a bit of a control freak so things need to be right. I look at Tilly our youngest (14) and Jack my 16-year old son. Jack has done around 50 posts on Instagram and has got 110,000 follows. I know prolific chefs in the world that are 25 years in this industry that have only got 10,000. It has been part catch-up in terms of where we are. I will go live on Facebook and we will reach five million people within 60 minutes of going live. Would I do this again? If I get this right who knows. That whole digital side for me is really exciting, I love that freshness and excitement attached to it. I wish I could go live more, we are talking currently to Fox about a really exciting new live show next year. Will I do more of this? Yes, definitely without a doubt, I just want to lift it up to another level again because I am not one for sitting still. Ask me that question again in six months time.

Political Technology Gordon Ramsay

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