Interesting TV Show…..

I don’t recall how I ran across the show of “Bar Rescue”; a cable TV show I will provide warnings about if you decide to watch. John Taffer, according to the intro, has saved hundreds of bars during his 30-plus year career and he goes all over the country. The warnings before I explain why I watch it. Taffer is a quintessential New Jersey/New York guy; big and burly, an in-your-face, profanity-laced, stop-lying-to-me-and-making excuses approach. The bars range from bad to appalling and in many cases, family dynamics are involved; a bit heartbreaking at times. Some of the debt racked up is hard to imagine.

Herein lies the fascination for me. Someone involved finally acknowledges they need drastic help – the only kind he provides. Ninety-five percent of the time, at least one individual who is an owner and/or manager is highly resistant and initial intervention is required to even get started. Skipping forward, Taffer brings in a mixologist and chef to analyze the problems and provided solutions. Taffer is extraordinary in his understanding of every aspect of the bar business. For example, in one case in renovating the bar he added five stools. He explained in that market, those five should bring in $5,000 revenue per stool per year. Another example is differentiating between the profit margin of cocktails, draft and bottled beer and types of food items. Matching potential profit to the specific market is where he starts.

The pattern of the show is understandably why he’s there, tearing into everyone for like 45 minutes. One of the things I would like to know, but it’s not the drama part, is how costs are covered for the huge amount of physical renovation that takes place. (Many of the equipment items such as appliances or furniture are donated in exchange for promotion.)

The end results may include changing the name of the bar for re-branding and the renovations are often extensive. The shift in attitude and dynamics are of course key to the show and how initial resistance is overcome. At the very end, there is usually a “Six Weeks Later” text shown. In most cases, sales are up, relationships are repaired, and debt is being lowered. At times, problem employees have been fired; some however, are redeemed. In a few cases, the impression is despite all the efforts, bad habits will probably return.

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