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Anatomy of a Rescue

Oasis Hookah Bar is Suffering a Severe Drought

April 27, 2014 By: Mary-Kate Dunphy


Oasis Hookah Bar

THE BAR

In 2012, recent college graduate and soon-to-be father, Jesse, plunged $50,000 into the investment of his dreams, a hookah bar named Oasis. Upon opening, Oasis was the first and only hookah bar in Omaha and people swarmed to check it out; Oasis was making about $30,000 a month.

To run the packed bar, Jesse hired Oasis regular, Corrie, as manager. Corrie’s quick leap from patron to manager led to a decline in service, cleanliness and accountability at Oasis. Instead of tackling the bar’s problems, Jesse retreated to his office smoking away his profits.

Omaha, Nebraska is home to a young, barhopping crowd; 60% of those people are single which means they’re out and about. Despite being located within a mile of the trendy Old Market District, Oasis Hookah Bar fails to draw in the Omaha nightlife. Under Corrie’s management, the bar began to resemble a frat house and Oasis suffered a drought. Oasis is now $100,000 in debt.

THE CHALLENGE

The outer appearance of Oasis is extremely unremarkable; Taffer’s recon team concludes it’s actually frustrating how boring it is. There is absolutely no trade dress to this establishment, which is taking the exterior of a building and dressing it to create a perception in the street that matches what the customers will get inside. Hookah has a certain perception, it’s exotic, and there is nothing remotely unique or exotic about Oasis.

As for the inside, Oasis has a catastrophic amount of exhaustive issues. There is only one employee at Oasis who does not drink on the job, and when not on the clock, the staff members, especially Corrie, embarrass the business by getting inexcusably intoxicated. The servers literally do not know what is going on; they do not even know what’s in the cocktails they’re serving.

Oasis

The hookah bar is a mess at Oasis. There is moisture left in the hookah equipment which causes bacteria and will get people sick. The hookah wait time runs 20 minutes while the bar is completely empty; if Corrie knew what she was doing behind the hookah bar, the time could  be cut down to one minute.

The bartenders pour premade drinks out of plastic containers that say ‘drinking water only’. Citric acids break down plastic polymers causing harmful toxins to leach, contaminating the beverage and degrading the container and it will get people sick. The individual brought in for recon actually vomited after taking a sip of their ‘Oasis Water’ cocktail.

After doing some research, Taffer figured out that there is not much of a hookah market in Omaha. The majority of the people asked say they hookah about twice a year, which statistically will not work out in favor for Jesse and his bar.

These issues are not even the least of Jesse’s worries; Taffer describes Oasis as the most disgusting bar he has ever seen which is really saying something! The entire bar is disgusting, there is garbage surrounding the circular bar, sitting right next to customers. The bathroom is so repulsive that customers walk right out upon entering and do not use it. The trash throughout the bar sounds horrible, however, this is not yet the worst problem; the bar gives off a horrific odor because a dead rat has been sitting behind a couch for weeks.

Jesse acts like a college kid that doesn’t care about his business. He does not take accountability for anything, which allows his staff to do the same.

TURNAROUND TACTICS

The first step in the right director for Oasis is Jesse letting go of Corrie; she did not understand that her actions brought down moral and she was not willing to put the work in to help the business.

Since there is no hookah market in Omaha, Taffer decides that the entire concept needs to make a drastic change to a nightclub with absolutely no hookah. Jesse is reluctant to make such a change but he realizes there is a once in a lifetime opportunity in his hand and agrees to let Taffer do what he does best.

After a bit of training from expert mixologist Joe Brooke and a stress test, the bar staff has proven to be strong in real mixology and not simply pouring drinks from a container. Brooke brushes the bar staff up on their techniques and gets started on the new cocktail menu for the nightclub. He decides to pay respect to the bar formally known as Oasis by way of the drink menu, creating cocktails that are equal parts Moroccan and high speed mixology. The best aspect of hookah is the community feeling it brings. Therefore, all the cocktails on the menu are transferrable to multiple person fishbowl cups; the fishbowl is the hookah of cocktails.

Taza Nigthclub

The hookah bar didn’t make sense and it didn’t make money so Taffer transformed Oasis Hookah Bar to Taza Nightclub. He created an entire Moroccan concept; the sign is laced with bright colors, the windows are large and arched and Taza is a real city in Morocco. The rescue team removed the trash around the bar and added in five additional barstools; one barstool is worth $10,000 of revenue a year, getting rid of all the garbage and adding these seats can potentially make Taza $50K in one year. There are now premium spirits atop the bar and absolutely no plastic containers full of beverages. There is now a dance floor, an entertainment system and believe it or not, the bathrooms are clean! The hookah bar in the back was turned into another bar to double revenue potential. The back bar did more money during the relaunch alone than the hookah bar did in an entire month.

THE RESULT

Jesse is now engaged with customers and with his employees. The nightclub transformation lit a fire under Jesse and he is now motivated to succeed.

Eight weeks after the relaunch, liquor sales have increased by 30%. Jesse has hired two additional bartenders to help keep up with business. Corrie has also found a new full time job so it looks like a happy beginning for everyone. Jesse is well on his way to paying off his $100,000 debt and start pouring some of his earnings into his family.


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