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What An Idiot / Bar Rescue

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Jon Taffer: When I talk to idiots, I get loud!

In general:

  • A failing bar is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and is losing thousands a month. The owner has called on a consultant and experts to help the place get back on its feet again.
    You'd Expect: The owners who have called on Jon Taffer for help to follow his directions after his rescue so that the bar can be successful in the long run. At the very worst, if the owner and staff don't agree with the remodel, they can think about a theme that works while keeping Taffer's advice in mind.
    Instead: A few owners go back to their old ways completely when Taffer leaves, with disastrous consequences.
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  • Many of the rescues Taffer does involve owners who have had zero previous experience managing bars.
    You'd Expect: The owners to act fast the moment they start losing money and to adapt to the changing environments and trends.
    Instead: They keep the same old theme and the same old drinks which drive new customers away. By doing this, they ignore the elephant in the room until they're hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and are months away from closing.
  • After the bar owners make the call...
    You'd Expect: Said owner to pull his staff together and make the bar look presentable when Taffer and his experts arrive. They may be in debt but, as Taffer has mentioned in the past, cleaning the bar doesn't cost all that much and may make the place more inviting.
    Instead: Most of the owners do no such thing. When Taffer and his experts arrive for the initial recon, it looks clear that the bar and/or kitchen haven't been cleaned in months and some even risk health code violations. Taffer demands a thorough cleaning of the bar and everyone wastes a day that could have been used for training.


  • BlackLight District Bar's owner Dave deserves a special mention when the show reaches the point where Taffer remodels the bar.
    You'd Expect: Dave to appreciate Taffer's hospitality and remember that someone who has rescued over 100 bars and runs a highly successful hospitality industry consulting firm that's helped hundreds of other businesses likely knows what he's talking about.
    Instead: Dave makes it clear to Taffer during filming that he only intended to use the show for the free remodel, upgrades, and publicity. Everything else, including any theme changes, themed cocktails, and management advice was going to be tossed right out the door behind Taffer the second he left. When Taffer makes it clear he isn't going to bother wasting his and the Bar Rescue crew's time and effort if it's just going to be discarded, Dave chooses to tell Taffer to get out. And Dave does so while insulting Taffer's intelligence and questioning what Taffer knows about the business. Dave's bar sits at a 2-star rating on Yelp, with negative reviews from both before and after the show. Gee, wonder who's the expert?
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  • Dave actually gets a second mention for his reaction to longtime Vandals bassist Joe Escalante's warnings about basing a bar around punk music: Escalante pointed out that while he personally loves punk, most people don't and it won't keep a bar in business by itself.
    You'd Expect: Dave to acknowledge Escalante's knowledge of the music industry and alter his business plan to include punk as one element of a more varied musical climate.
    Instead: Dave mocks Escalante's "grandpa sweater" and haughtily tells a man who's spent decades in one of the most renowned punk bands ever that he (Dave) knows more about punk music.
  • During Taffer's recon at O'Face, one of the customers asks co-owner Matt about the bar's signature "O-gasm" shot. Specifically, what's in it.
    You'd Expect: Matt to just give her a quick list of what kinds of alcohol are used in the drink, and possibly some rough percentages to go along with it.
    Instead: Apparently afraid that the customer is trying to steal one of their recipes, Matt refuses to tell her anything. The customer subsequently refuses to buy the shot.
    It Gets Worse: The recon of the above bar is cut short when a manager attacks a server in the parking lot, prompting Taffer and his mixology expert to intervene. An enraged Taffer demands that Matt and his wife Karen fire the manager, threatening to abandon the rescue if they fail to do so.
    You'd Expect: That Matt and Karen would comply, not only because of all the trouble they presumably went to in order to get Taffer's help, but because, as Taffer points out, the manager's an assault lawsuit waiting to happen.
    Instead: Out of favouritism for the manager, Matt and Karen decide to fire the server, claiming that she bought it on herself. Taffer's as good as his word, and ditches them, only returning when Matt and Karen see sense and lay off the manager. The whole business ends up wasting time that Taffer and his experts could have spent helping the staff.
    To Make Matters Worse: The manager is rehired after Taffer abandons the rescue.
  • Worth a special mention are owners who fire employees who are a cancer to the business during the episode, then rehire them shortly thereafter. Chix On Dix/Power Strip has one such instance where the manager has a rebellious dancer who constantly drinks and a worthless talent coordinator
    You'd Expect: The manager to find a different dancer and talent coordinator after Taffer cajoles him into firing them.
    Instead: He rehires both of them after Taffer leaves. The manager reveals that he wound up with even fewer customers than before the rescue... and is left wondering why.
  • Similarly, the owner of Weber's has a thieving bartender.
    You'd Expect: Said bartender to be fired immediately.
    Instead: The owner never does until he faced pressure from Taffer and every other employee in the building. At the end of the episode, the epilogue reveals that the bar is still struggling and that said bartender was rehired.
  • As part of the rescue of Stand Up Scottsdale, Taffer has a brand new green room built for the convenience of the comedians, at the expense of losing 60 of the comedy club's seats. A follow up episode reveals that the owner, Howard Hughes, was none too happy with this, prompting him to get rid of the green room.
    You'd Expect: That if Howard was insistent on getting rid of the green room, he'd at least have the sense to replace the 60 seats that were there before it was added.
    Instead: He puts a DJ booth in one half of the room, and uses the other half for storage. Taffer lampshades the stupidity of it magnificently:
    Jon: This is a bad joke. Howard has turned an A-list quality green room into a junk drawer! [to Howard] I'm an asshole because I took away your 60 seats, [to live audience] then he turned it into a closet and never got the 60 seats anyway! [to Howard] Why would you get rid of that so the comedians don't have it, you don't have the seats, OR the green room?!

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