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.