Jon Taffer, during the opening narration of every episode.
A reality show that first aired on Spike TV on July 17, 2011. The show revolves around Jon Taffer, an expert food & beverage industry consultant, and one of six members of the Nightclub Hall of Fame, going around to failing bars, figuring out what is wrong with them and how to fix them. Yes, this is basically Kitchen Nightmares...but with bars! Despite that, it is a pretty interesting watch, due in no small part to the "bar science" constantly shown through Jon's planning. Of course, there is also a lot of drama with owners.
This show provides examples of:
The Alcoholic: Unfortunately, quite a few owners have resorted to...sampling their own goods, something that Jon has very little patience for. Two especially stand-out examples were Tim in "The Olive Pit" and both owners in "Chilleen's". The last example was so bad that by the time Jon had his initial meeting with the owners, they were so intoxicated that one of the owners, Donna, admitted the next day she didn't even remember the meeting. Needless to say, Jon threatened to walk out if either owner had another drink the entire time he was there.
All for Nothing: For all the work Jon puts into some Bars, the owners revert back to their old ways after Jon leaves. Sometimes minor, sometimes major (See Piratz Tavern/Corporate Bar & Grill). A few have folded.
Bad Boss: Not quite as common as on Kitchen Nightmares, but still pops up from time to time. One especially horrific example is Steve from "Headhunters", who blamed the absolute filth on his bar on his workers, saying it was dirty because the workers weren't doing their job or that the customers didn't like it clean, and trying to convince his workers that they didn't need to be paid.
Ami from "Zanzibar's" approached just about every problem he ran into by screaming at the top of his lungs and throwing temper tantrums. When he was informed that he was giving away thousands of dollars in drinks, he immediately rounded up his employees and said that they all "betrayed" him, screaming that they were incompetent and stealing from him. The problem is that he was the one who ordered the employees to give away those drinks, something they didn't want to do and something that Jon almost immediately calls him out on.
Berserk Button: For Jon, dirty bars and especially dirty kitchens. Jon really blows his top in "J.A. Murphy's", as noted below, when a cook handles raw chicken with her bare hands and then handles nachos. Blatant overpouring is another.
Also drunk owners. He really tears into the owner of "Extremes" when he sees him drinking with the guests, to the point of almost walking off production.
Also a major Berserk Button for the Bar Owners seems to be the idea of changing the Bar's name for any reason, where most will change it right back immediately after Jon has left.
The owner of Canyon Inn in Loma Linda, Calif., can't stand the idea of changing the name of his bar, even though Jon and at least one customer tell him that "Inn" is an archaic term for a tavern and that the modern use of the word causes people to think it's a hotel and have actually received calls from people asking what their nightly rates were. Jon changes it to "Canyon Saloon" but the owner changes it back to "Canyon Inn" after two weeks. The fact that the "Inn" hasn't been able to keep up the volume of business that it had on re-opening night suggests that perhaps some of Jon's other changes haven't been kept, either.
In the most notorious example, the staff of Piratz Tavern not only changed the name back but went back to the original decor before the episode even aired. They even went to the trouble of burning Taffer's decor.
Paul of The Sand Dollar not only hit on Jon's wife, he did so in one of the most offensive ways possible. Jon came very close to leaving entirely.
Taffer semi-frequently has his loved ones or personal friends act as his recon, including his wife and his daughter. Hitting on them, disrespecting them, or serving them contaminated food is guaranteed to promptly result in a shouting match.
Call Back: On a couple of occasions, Jon has done his recon by sending in owners/managers of bars that were rescued in earlier episodes.
Catch Phrase: "My name is Jon Taffer. For the next five days, you work for me."
The manager James at Cashmere has a grating habit of tagging his sentences with "All in!" The editors mock this by zooming in on him with a whip-crack noise every time he says it.
"You FAILED!", usually directed at managers either during the initial visits or during the stress test.
Didn't Think This Through: A recurring theme is people with no experience in the restaurant or hospitality industry buying bars with life savings, apparently thinking that they're money-generating machines all by themselves.
Dirty Old Man: The owner of "Dimples", to a very uncomfortable degree.
Downer Ending: Several of the bars have closed down since the episode featuring them aired.
A glance at Yelp indicates that a number of owners apparently just use the show for a free remodel before going right back to burying them. For example, Metal and Lace only has 1 1/2 stars, with the few good reviews coming from die-hard fans of the place in its Headhunters era.
Gipsy's owner, Peter, walked out during the relaunch as SBLV. Just as the staff were enjoying the new work environment, he came back two days later and closed it for good.
Hypocrite: Steve from Headhunters. Pretty much everything he says is Blatant Lies but with one notable incident he claimed that if his staff wanted to be given an hourly wage he was behind it. However immediately after they started to fill out the paperwork he starts making comments about how they will have less hours and pay if they do this. Also he still doesn't pay them.
The owner of the "Canyon Inn" keeps stating how he will listen and use what Jon tells him, but every single time Jon tries to point something out or change something he argues over it with Jon.
Also applies in a more broad sense, as every bar has to ask Jon for help for him to come, then several owners refused to admit that they were doing anything wrong.
Man Child: In the episode based on The Blue Frog 22 (renamed to The Local during the episode, now open as Blue Frog's Local 22), the decor of the bar was compared quite seriously to that of a carnival, with board games all over the place and bright red colors. Not exactly inviting decor.
Steve from Headhunters, seems to think everything Jon says is a joke and nothing is his problem.
Jon even flat-out calls the owner of the Brixton a child.
James from "Cashmere" is referred to as a child in the body of a 40 year old for his various antics.
Jon seems to think that everyone involved in running Piratz Tavern is this (It didn't help that the owner and her husband were deep in debt and living with her parents at the time).
Peter, owner of Gipsy and the short lived relaunch SBLV. Spent the episode screaming at customers and staff over petty things like what music was being played, and also threatening to fire his staff for wisely refusing to serve him another drink because of how drunk he was. Sober, not much better, resisting the changes to the point of walking out before the relaunch then shutting the place down for good when he returned.
Make an Example of Them: Taffer often does this when he first arrives by firing the worst employee in the bar or forcing the owner to do so when the owner has been letting them walk over him.
Manipulative Editing: Several bar owners have taken offense to how the show presents them. This is reality television, so it comes with the template.
Done more intentionally and arguably benevolently to highlight owners' or employees ridiculous, false, or outlandish claims of being successful despite the business failing. Interview claims will often be intercut with contradicting video, such as a chef claiming his cooking is sanitary, immediately followed by a video of obvious health-violations and cross-contamination.
Another favorite, done nearly Once an Episode, is an owner in denial, claiming they have loyal regulars or that their regulars enjoy whatever "quirk" Taffer focuses in on, followed by a cut to a shot of a completely empty bar.
It's been revealed however that many of these "empty bar" shots are completely staged, when the bar isn't actually open.
No OSHA Compliance: Aside from sanitation issues, several bars have had problems with the structural integrity of their buildings. In these cases, Jon often has to recruit contractors and structural engineers to fix the defects before he can even start redesigning the bar.
Papa Wolf: While Taffer has gotten really upset quite often on the show, the angriest he ever got in the first two seasons was during the episode based around "J.A. Murphy's", when the chef, on hidden camera, picked up raw chicken with her bare hands, then started preparing nachos. The customer those nachos were for? Taffer's daughter. Needless to say, righteous fury soon entered the bar in the form of Taffer.
Pointy-Haired Boss: Many of the managers looking over the bars are often relatives or friends of the owners and have absolutely no experience in managing a bar. More often than not they are one of the main reasons that the bar is failing.
Product Placement: Nearly once every 10 minutes. The mixed drinks ALWAYS have some major brand's drink in them, if not featuring at least part of the brand's name in the drink's name it self (I.E. if the drink is made using a Captain Morgan's product, it'll often feature "Captain" in the drink's name). Granted, part of this is justified as Theme Naming, and often being popular brands in the U.S.
Any time Taffer begins a sentence with "My friends from/at...", this trope is in full force.
Punny Name / Theme Naming: It's a show involving the bar industry. Unless the bar is considered a landmark by the locals, or has a family name in it, then chances are its name will be this if it wasn't already by the end of the episode, complete with themed drinks.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The bar tender Yum Yum from Chilleen's (after blowing off the mandatory training earlier that day and coming into work just as it was opening) gets overwhelmed with the Cold Opening and just leaves.
Mark, chef at Swanky Bubbles, gave up and walked away when told what changes were necessary.
Jon has threatened to just walk out and not help the owner on more than one occasion. Unlike Gordon Ramsey, he hasn't done it yet.
The Starscream: Susan thinks her co-owner John is this at Barlow. John thinks the same of Susan. Finding some way to rectify this was the first part of the rescue.
Stealing from the Till: Some of the bartenders brazenly overpour. And that's not counting the employees who apply this trope literally and actively steal money.
A good example of the latter was in "Kerry's Sports Pub". However, Jon put equal blame on the manager, since the reason the employees could get away with it was the fact that said employees were storing their tip money in the register. All it took to skim off the top was putting in a no-sale and taking the money, and claiming they were just retrieving their tips if confronted.
Tim in "The Brixton" didn't seem to understand that people want to enjoy themselves in bars - right down to throwing people out for being loud.
Cranked Up to Eleven when we are told that he has a degree in marketing and, in addition to to the above behavior, posted pictures of things like garbage and bloody feet on the bars twitter page under the genuine belief that it was a good idea.
And then there was another bar that had an employee who was caught red-handed Stealing from the Till. Jon pointed out to the owner that he couldn't let his employees get away with shit like this, and advised the owner to fire his employee. The owner confronted his employee, admonished him not to steal again...and said that he would be keeping him on.
Then there's Ami from "Zanzibar's." The man walks out onto the street screaming like a town crier that various things can be had for free or nearly so, including "very cheap sex." Then he begins giving away bottles of champagne among other alcoholic drinks until his customers are fall-over drunk and spends most of his day screaming at things. The whole time he's wondering why nobody is coming to his business and why he is not getting any profits.
The owner of the Sand Dollar repeatedly hit on Jon's wife in the most offensive way imaginable. That passed the Too Dumb to Live area and straight to just plain suicidal; Jon was so angry he nearly walked away from saving the bar.
Verbal Tic: James from "Cashmere" appears to be unable to go without saying All In at least every other sentence. Even when passed out on the couch he kept muttering the phrase.
Very Special Episode: The "Bungalow Bar" episode, since rather than help a failing bar get better, Jon is helping to rebuild a bar wrecked by Hurricane Sandy that has run out of funds. He does a bit of improvement with the staff and decor, but it is less making a bad bar good, but a good bar better.
Wrong Genre Savvy: The owner of "Stand Up, Scottsdale" did not believe that a comedy club should solely be about comedy. While he does have a point (Bill Hicks and George Carlin both had serious edges to their work), his delivery of such point undermined him at every turn.