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Anatomy of a Rescue

M T Bottle is About to Get Canned by Taffer

November 10, 2013 By: Mary-Kate Dunphy


M T Bottle girlsTHE BAR

M T Bottles sits alongside the Shelbyville Highway in Murfeesboro, Tennessee which hosts 22,000 commuters daily and they use sexy bartenders to pack their beer only bar. This tactic has worked in the past but overtime the locals grew tired of the repetitive beer menu. The customers who stuck around grew hip to the county’s BYOB policy and started brown bagging bottles instead of dishing out bucks for beer at the bar.

Owners Tracy and Gina have built a life within M T Bottle, it is where they met, where they got married and now, it is what is tearing apart their marriage. Gina was forced to take a full time factory job just to pay her employees. Tracy leaves his wife with double the work load while he does little to help the business. It seems the largest contribution made by Tracy is his “redneck engineering” around the bar that brings the cans directly into the trash downstairs. M T Bottle has found itself losing $4,000 a month with a grand total of $250,000 in debt. If Tracy doesn’t take on a larger role and start pulling his own weight, M T Bottle will be forced to close.

M T BottleTHE CHALLENEGE

Big Smo, a country rap artist who got his start at M T Bottle, holds the bar close to his heart but has realized that this bar is not only bad for his image, but for his career. Big Smo brought Jon Taffer to help two of the people he cares most about.  As they sit at the recon, it is clear to Taffer why M T Bottle is failing. Immediately Taffer notices the appearance of both the bar and the staff; the front of the bar looks like a run-down convenient store and Gina does not look at all like a manager with her t-shirt with nipple ring graphics.

Murfreesboro is a town that has a medium income well below the national average; if people are given the opportunity to bring liquor into a bar without paying, they will. Taffer sends in two regulars of M T Bottle with their own bottles of booze. The two poured approximately 70 ounces of alcohol for themselves and other customers with an overall lost profit of $350. This affects more than M T Bottles’ bank account as the bartender and bar is still liable for any alcohol related accident after the patron leaves, even though the liquor is not being poured behind the bar.

On less serious, note; Jon Taffer witnessed a young bartender named Brandi flash her breasts for five dollars, five dollars that could have gone in the cash register in exchange for beer or food but is now going straight into her pocket. While boobs are a million dollar business, it is illegal to show your nipples in Tennessee so Brandi could not only get herself arrested, but get M T Bottle into some legal trouble and tarnish their reputation even more.

The food situation is also a dreadful problem. All their kitchen equipment is behind the bar, which causes clutter, confusion and safety hazards. The staff is not appropriately trained to cook food which is a health concern. They also serve chili out of a machine and if that’s not a catastrophe, I’m not sure what is.

The word ‘bartender’ is used loosely in M T Bottle’s case. Being that Tracy and Gina cannot afford a liquor license and can only serve beer and their bartenders are essentially beer slingers and not trained behind the bar.

When Taffer sees Tracy’s redneck engineering bottle drop, he is pleased and has the owners lead him down to the basement where the cans and bottles are dropped. However, at the bottom of the bottle drop Taffer is not pleased with what he sees to say the least. The bottle drop is impressive but the black pond of sludge eight feet from the cooler where the food is kept however is not. This is a serious safety hazard for everyone, Taffer, enraged, tells Tracy and Gina that if the water contains black mold, he will no longer continue with the rescue.

During their stress test, any drink that was not made perfect was thrown into a bucket and for every mistake made, Russell put a sticker on the employee’s shirt. Needless to say, there were a lot of stickers and a lot of liquor poured down the drain. Russell continues to work with the staff of their skills and so does Stretch because the kitchen, too was something of a disaster.  The kitchen was shut down during the stress test because it became clear that the clutter behind the bar was overwhelming when Russell slipped on chicken juice on the floor and tweaked his knee. It is evident that there needs to be a divide between kitchen and bar.

While all the issues that M T Bottle has are quite substantial, the biggest problem lies within owner Tracy’s work ethic. Tracy watches his wife slave away day in and night out. He does not act like an owner and refuses to help. Gina asked Tracy to get the mop and when he could not figure out how to use the mop bucket, he grew frustrated and failed at the simplest of tasks. Taffer finally gets to Tracy when he tells him he is not only being a bad owner but a bad husband.

It is almost detrimental to the business for Tracy to take up space at his own bar. If his attitude does not change, M T Bottles is in bigger trouble than Taffer can bail them out of.

Bottles and CansTURNAROUND TACTICS

Taffer’s first order of business is to test the water, therefore he had specialists come in to test the water in the basement, and luckily it is safe and black mold free. The Second order of business was to obtain a liquor license which Taffer purchased using his own wallet (s can now take steps on the road to success. because a bar with). With these two huge tasks completed M T Bottles can now take steps on the road to success.

Russell Davis, Nightclub & Bar’s 2012 Bartender of the Year, comes in to train the bartenders. He created a very simple, Southern drink menu that the sstaff will be able to execute on. He starts from scratch training since the bartenders don’t know the first thing about mixing cocktails. He teaches them the basics of bartending and simple drinks that M T Bottles will be serving.

Stretch, a professional chef and sculptor, teaches the staff the basics of cooking and the proper way to cook things such as chicken in order to prevent food borne illnesses. He also decides to introduce the staff to pork, which is to be cooked 20 degrees lower than chicken at 145 degrees, which means faster cooking time.

Taffer and his team have come to the conclusion that they need to come up with a concept that is not above the area they are in. They decide to revolve their concept around the redneck ingenuity theme and to really emphasize where the staff is from.

Taffer renamed M T Bottle and transformed it into Bottles and Cans, playing off the sexy vibe that bar has always had. He also placed a large sign out from that reads “We got our liquor license!” so people driving by are aware that there is now booze to purchase. A redneck themed entry way was implemented so the bar is more welcoming.

Inside, the bar was completely renovated and enhanced. Everyone is thrilled with the concept and the new bar except for Gina. Unfortunately, the bar brings up her lower class childhood; however she decides to suck it up for her employees because they have faith in Bottles and Cans. Taffer built a bar for the marketplace, it is a celebration of the community and customers will take well to it.

The relaunch could not have gone smoother. The bar was running like a professional bar with an established liquor license and Russell could not be more proud. The kitchen has been separated from the bar and Tracy was in there cooking up a storm, impressing his wife by fighting for their business and their marriage.

Bottles and CansTHE RESULT

The customers love Bottles and Cans and Gina is happy to hear it. The brown bagging BYOB bar with all liability and no profitability was transformed into the cool, hick hang out for the community.

Six weeks after the relaunch, Gina has come around to the design and the concept of Bottles and Cans and Tracy has stepped up to the plate and taking care of business as an owner and a husband. If everything stays on track at Bottles and Cans, they’ll be bringing in $30,000 a month and well on their way to paying off their debt. Big Smo is now happy to call Bottles and Cans his new home and proud to say it is where he got his start as a country rap artist.


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