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Anatomy of a Rescue

J.A. Murphy’s is reborn as Murphy’s Law

August 5, 2012 By: JoAnn Cianciulli


Murphy’s Law by definition: If anything can go wrong, it will!

THE BAR

Two college buddies whimsically decide to open a bar in 2009. For the first year, J.A. Murphy’s was very successful. Since 2011, however, the bar has become a run-down place for the frat boy-type to get wasted. The area surrounding Fells Point, Maryland is home to over 120 bars and restaurants. The city has an urban vibe, where young professionals seek a comfortable neighborhood bar to gather with friends and colleagues. Drunken 20-somethings chanting, “drink, drink, drink,” while others pound shots of pure alcohol, is not only a liability but also an uninspired collegiate mentally.

Business has been declining rapidly, to the point that J.A. Murphy’s recently had to close their doors for two weeks because they couldn’t come up with the money to pay their monthly gas and electric bill. Not only is Murphy’s unable to keep the lights on, but they also can’t afford to make the necessary cosmetic changes the bar desperately needs in order to compete in the highly restaurant-populated area.

 

THE CHALLENGE

Bar Expert and Nightclub & Bar Media Group President, Jon Taffer, takes on the task of fixing a rat-infested, binge-drinking bar, owned by two fraternity brothers – one who boasts a poor, combative attitude. This one was like no other rescue…our schedule gets derailed when Jon discovers during the walk-thru that the building is in danger of collapsing. It turns out after inspection, that the beams holding up the structure are corroded with dry rot and water damage, making the building technically condemned and unsafe for anyone to be in the building.

With only two hours from the soft opening and six hours from the remodeling; this presents a serious problem for Jon, the bar, and Bar Rescue’s production team. Jon says, “If it's unsafe, I can't let anybody inside. The building must be vacated and fixed before we start the renovation. I have to cancel the soft opening and relaunch. We’re screwed!”

 

TURNAROUND TACTICS

Until the damage is fixed, no one will be stepping foot in J.A. Murphy’s. Jon gathers the staff, explains the situation, and sends everyone home. Almost immediately, a construction crew begins intense hours restructuring the floor.

With J.A. Murphy’s shut down due to infrastructure problems, the staff meets experts chef Brian Duffy and Jenny Costa at an offsite kitchen to continue their training. Given all the roadblocks to get this place up-and-running, J.A. Murphy’s is fittingly reborn as Murphy’s Law!

 

THE RESULT

After four additional days of saving the building from total collapse and then 36 hours of transformation, Jon is finally ready to reveal the new bar to the owners and staff. He explains the new concept is designed to make light of their past mistakes so the business is able to move forward in a positive light. Murphy’s Law, has a brand-spanking-new sign and paint job out front to attract the young professional crowd in the area and embrace a communal feel. Murphy’s Law is no longer about hammered college kids playing drinking games.

As former party boy, Keith, takes on the responsibility of owning a bar and former jackass, Joel, becomes more personable, the relaunch turns into a success.

 


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