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Colleen Graham

Jon Taffer to the (Bar) Rescue

By July 18, 2011

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I had seen the previews for Bar Rescue on Spike TV and was hoping to catch at least one episode despite my minimal summer TV time. As chance would have it, I made it home last night to catch the premiere and it was exactly what I expected.

Bar Rescue is, essentially, Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares for the bar. An expert comes into a struggling establishment, analyzes the business and everyone in it and formulates a plan for a complete makeover before the relaunch a couple of days later. In the case of Bar Rescue it is Jon Taffer (Nightclub & Bar Media Group President) who is that expert and expert he is. Taffer has been doing this exact thing for three decades and understands that even the little things can make the difference in the bar business.

I'm honestly rather sick of reality and improve this and that TV and have not been very fond of some of the other random bar and drinking tour shows that have come and gone recently. So when it came to watching Bar Rescue it was almost like pulling teeth, but I'm glad I sat through it because, though the editing is rather typical of this style of show and there was that required high school-like drama (cocktail waitress freaking out) Taffer had some very valid points for Angels Sports Bar (renamed Racks Bourbon and Billiards) in Corona, California.

For instance, is your bar's ladies room clean and inviting? Taffer points out that women are put off of a bar when the restroom is unkept and unsanitary... True and, as he also points out, without women you are going to lose male customers. Does your cocktail waitress know what a martini glass is? In this episode the waitress' seemed to agree that a margarita glass was indeed a martini glass and one even asked the definition of a cocktail. Are there areas of the bar that could obviously use a little cleaning? Is the layout of your bar using the area to its maximum benefit? Are you keeping the books properly? Do your bartenders make consistent drinks among them?

These are just a few of the valid points I picked up in this first episode (NCB has the breakdown on the website here). I think this series will be an asset to those who want to improve their bar's atmosphere, especially for those who have struggling operations. The advice can spur thoughts in how owners, managers, bartenders, and waitresses work and see their business. Granted, it's only an hour show and the transformations are well edited and high dollar, but there are the little things that can be done with a little effort and money. Much of what Taffer pointed out at Angels were common sense issues and the retraining almost exclusively dealt with good customer service, and that is the key because without the patrons there would be no bars.

Overall, Bar Rescue is a decent show though by the looks of next week's previews the severity of issues will get far more dramatic and plain negligent (like dead mice in the kitchen type of stupid). So, we'll see where that goes and how the rest of the series plays out. Am I going to rush home every Sunday night to watch it, no but I will likely keep up on it online for reference and if I happen to catch an episode, so be it.

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July 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm
(1) Ron says:

Booze it up. Drink some more hard alcohol. Get in your car. Kill some people. That’s the basis of BR. Why not a show called “The Happly Leaf” where the participants sit around a dispensary and smoke marajuana? Same difference. Does SPIKE really need an hour to sell us this sad tale. Sure, SPIKE air is way cheaper than others, but REALLY? Perhaps a small inset screen in the botttom of the screen showing the injury and death count as a result of this show. Besides, who many people own a bar? Exactly how many are helped by this show? Easy answer: Nobody. If you’re going to be an expert on something – why not something good and useful. Happy Hangovers – assuming you’re not in jail or dead.

July 27, 2011 at 8:06 pm
(2) Colleen says:

I’m sorry, but not everyone who drinks hard alcohol drives drunk. I hope that you can realize that everyone who drinks a cocktail is not irresponsible in the manner that you imply. If you had seen the most recent BR episode you would know that Tapper severely reprimanded a server for over serving a patron and the staff made absolute sure that he had a ride home. This consideration of responsibility is at the forefront of the show and in any reputable bartender’s mind.

How many people own a bar? Too many to count and some of the best people I have met in my career. Coincidentally, many of those I know do not drink themselves.

July 28, 2011 at 11:45 am
(3) Chris says:

According to the 2010 census, 4,462, 510 Americans listed themselves working in a full service restaurant with 198, 090 listing bartender as their profession, and 1,718, 970 as servers.

To give to a comparison there are 1,430,895 active personnel in the US Military.

So there are quite a few who could be helped by someone like Taffer. Every business has consultants that go in and help maximize effiency and profits while streamlining operational costs. That’s what Taffer does for a living. Someone has grabbed onto this and started filming it.

But you have to realize one thing here, reality TV is not Reality, The producers of shows like this look for the most outragous situations to draw an audience, get ratings, and make money. period. This is the far end of the Bell Curve, not the norm.

Think about it…..Dog the Bounty Hunter going all over the country catchcing notiorious criminals, yet no one is ever surprized by the massive film crew following him….

I, like Colleen and Helen, sense some anger in your words and draw the same conclusion that you have been affected negatively by alcohol. I also must say there is nothing intrisically wrong wih alcohol or the folks that use it. There is a problem when it gets abused. Sometimes its good people who made a bad decision , and sometimes its becasue they suffer from a very serious disease called addiction. I like you have been personally affected by alcoholism and alcohol abuse which I will not discuss openly here.

I hope you will find a way to relase your anger, and find a less negative insight.

July 31, 2011 at 10:26 am
(4) Bill says:

If someone does not like the show: turn it off. I am able to look at the bigger picture. If someone is able to help a failing business, why not? The economy has suffered enough. Oh, before I go any further, I have had about a a dozen drinks so far this year. I do not drink and drive or become so drunk that I am a danger to society. If this line of thinking catches on, Chef Ramsey’s program was not be tolerated. And bye the way, we do have an obesity problem in the United States.

August 1, 2011 at 12:41 am
(5) celtcath says:

If his advice works, a business is saved as well as jobs. In this economic environment, that is a plus.

August 1, 2011 at 9:24 am
(6) Bob says:

Ok Ron i see your just another self appointing judge and jury of society who think everyone who drinks is a irresponible idiot..

July 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm
(7) Helen says:

I’m not a big fan of reality TV either, but this sounds like a great idea for inspiring bar owners. Sometimes it’s amazing when you go out and there’s something really amiss – the inadequate restrooms are a typical one. But a thoughtful environment and good service can make for a really enjoyable evening out.

As for the previous comments about ‘booze it up’ – I’m sorry, Ron, if you or a loved one has been negatively affected by alcohol abuse, but just because some people are irresponsible doesn’t mean we all are. I enjoy a regular drink but I don’t drink and drive, drink in moderation, and my children have never seen me drunk.

July 27, 2011 at 8:40 pm
(8) Colleen says:

Thanks, Helen. Well said.

July 28, 2011 at 7:33 am
(9) Ivan 'Doc' Holiday says:

To help Angels solve its motorcycle issue, Taffer brought in security expert Anthony Dilio. His 11 years of experience working at private security at Western Elite Security, as well as club and bar security at Boulevard3, Apple Lounge, The Happy Ending Bar and Restaurant and Sunset Trocadero Lounge, all in Los Angeles, helped refocus staff so they could maintain a fun, calm atmosphere.
OK..first Taffer stated in the show that their was a motorcycle gang problem in the club. INCORRECT! Not one biker was flying colors. So he hired this Dildo guy to takecare of the security issues. Well I googled this guy and found ZERO..which leads me to the conclusion this guy is nobody in the nightclub and bar security industry. Security screwups in the show at Angel’s bar
1) Security was never addressed during the staff meeting
2) A waitress is out of control and screaming about her money and not one security person came to handle it or assist the owner or manager.
3) The security are dressed unprofessionally.
4) The security had no security radio’s or flashlights.
5) The staff all get nice new shirts and security are still wearing their ‘intimidating’ skin tight BLACK T-Shirts!
If this security guy or Jon Taffer knew anything about nightclub and bar security, they would of addressed these issues. Bottomline is Bouncers can make or break a club. Next time you need a ‘REAL EXPERT’ in nightclub & bar security …google me.

July 28, 2011 at 10:03 am
(10) Colleen says:

Thanks ‘Doc’. I was curious about how that went down but I’m not familiar myself with bar security to have commented on that aspect. The biker stereotype bothered me as well. What did he say? 5 bikes in front of a bar and women and some men won’t go in. I don’t think that’s completely accurate. Motorcycles and leathers do not mean gang.

August 3, 2011 at 5:02 am
(11) Chris says:

You are so right. That bar has never had a biker problem. All the bikers that go there, are weekend warriors. I was there during the filming and that so called security expert was such a geek. He was telling the security there that the movie Roadhouse inspired him to be a bouncer. He was telling them that if a customer was unruly, you had to be nice and talked to them so they would walk out on their own without a confrontation. What a crock of sh**. He should go to a real biker bar like the Screaming Chicken in Devore or maybe the Wooden Nickel in San Bernardino and try that sh** with one of those bikers. They’ll just kick his a** right there on the spot. Hell, Angels was never a biker bar, it had always been a sports bar with live bands on the weekends. Also, I have no ideas where the hell did Jon Taffer get his numbers about women not going into bars with bikes in front. Doesn’t he know its a status thing to own a Harley now. Everything on that show was so far fetched from the truth and was done for the drama. That manager Wayne, is the hardest working man i ever met in my life, plus he been sober over 10 years. Bar Rescue, what a cheesy ripoff of Gordon Ramsay.

August 3, 2011 at 7:56 am
(12) Duane says:

the so call security expert Anthony Dilio is an actor.

September 4, 2011 at 11:18 pm
(13) ctl says:

Maybe so, but one thing the show exposes is how some idiot that works for you or a partner can bring you down. The one episode w/Carlos the “duche” highlights the exact profile of what is wrong in american. A stupid guy like Carlos that thinks he has all the answers but couldn’t be trusted to take out the garbage w/out it up screwing.

I think the real problem was a professionally managed business might cut into Carlos skimming and drug operation. I see most of these people falling back into their old habits, I would like to see some follow up in about 2 years. Most of the stuff Tapper tells them is stuff they should already know. Also there is nothing more pathetic than and alcoholic, the worlds protected drug addict. Did you see the look on Carlos face when they said no drinking on the job……….like I said his skimming days and drug operation are in serious jeopardy.

September 9, 2011 at 10:05 am
(14) mario says:

Taffer Rocks! More enterprise level companies and organizations need a dose of Taffer. His leadership style is straight-out and results-driven while maintaining a tenacious focus on what’s important; customer reactions, business standards, people, and overall success of the business. It would be pretty cool to see someone with these types of situational leadership traits to run for office.

January 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm
(15) Christy Farrow says:

Love the show !! I’m a bar and grill owner !! We are out there and do watch the show and would love to have someone come in and help control costs and give us BAR OWNERS a different look into our controls and what we can do with our places. Our employees are hard working men and women, mothers and fathers who are good wage earners of their families. Keep it up Jon !! I need YOU !! NEXT in Illinois but its cold.

January 16, 2012 at 11:33 am
(16) Colleen says:

I was able to catch a few more episodes over the weekend on the marathon for Bar Rescue. The more I watch the more value I see in the show for the fact that I know of so many bars that could implement the techniques Taffer uses. Even if it’s a small change here or there, it can make a big difference.

September 5, 2012 at 12:03 am
(17) Jerry says:

I worked at a sports themed night club in the Midwest that John was a manager at in the early 90′s. It was a rockin place for 2.5-3 years. He seems to be the same guy just looking a lot older. He was a good manager. I worked the door and took the cover $$ and checked IDs. I was surrounded by some big bouncers and off duty police officers. We had a total capacity of like 1500 and it was packed Thurs-Sat. Nights. We used to have some big brawls in that place. Stupid drunks fighting. Kinda cool seeing him doing this show on tv.

February 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm
(18) ken says:

Isn’t it all pretty typical. jon taffer has to come in and show these people
common sense things, such as clean your filthy, nasty place
work hard
dont drink on the job
dont copy others

but these people are drunks, so they have to be treated
like children to get them to do what they should know from common sense

March 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm
(19) John Livinggood says:

I love the show. The best one was the New Orleans on on Bourbon i went and had a great time. You should try it out.

May 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm
(20) rob says:

Ron in my opinion you are an idiot..use your remote and turn off the show! It is about owners of bars/ businesses not drinking and driving! Be real and wake up! Please get off your soapbox!!

May 19, 2014 at 8:59 am
(21) Rick says:

I’ve worked in many restaurants and bars and what bar rescue shows is defanately what goes on in many bars and restaurants. Any alcoholic with an inheritance check thinks they can own and run a bar. Many times they end up turning it into a party barn for themselves and friends. Their friends show up to drink for free and the bartenders are also usually friends who want a job where they can hang out and drink for free.

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