Taffer Helps Kerry's Bring Home The BaconOctober 20, 2013 By: Kristen Santoro
North Las Vegas is ten miles from the world famous strip and houses 80 thousand people; the majority being blue collar workers 21 – 39 years old. This city does not host any professional sports teams but it boasts more than 200 sports bars that generate more than $200 million a year. Kerry’s Sports Bar fails to capture any of that money and is on the verge of being knocked down.
In 2009 Bill David a successful business man in the payroll industry sunk his life earnings into Kerry’s Sports Pub – a wildly popular sports bar at a price of $4 million. Bill was told by a number of individuals that bars in Nevada were very successful and he decided to jump on the potential earnings. Hoping to make it a family business, Bill hired his daughter Kim and grandchildren Justin and Lacey to run the bar.
But those dreams were quickly shattered when Bill suffered a stroke in 2011. The family business that was supposed to be passed down for generations began to unravel.
Justin’s bad attitude went unchecked and he used the bar as a hot bed for hooking up with customers and staff. Lacey grew frustrated by her brothers actions and Kim focused more on busy work at the bar allowing her kids and her staff to do whatever they wanted.
Despite Kim’s efforts the customer base dwindled, the staff grew more unruly and losses piled up. Bill is currently losing in excess of $5,000 a month and can only continue to finance the place for two or three months. Unable to get financial relief Bill and his family have agreed that they need help to bring the bar back to its glory days.
Twenty-seven thousand cars a day go down the street that Kerry’s sits on. However, people are not stopping at the bar because there is not call to action. There needs to be a reason or a draw to bring people into the venue.
Kerry’s is a nine thousand square foot space with a rectangular bar housing three speed wells two draft beer stations, an unused game area and an open display kitchen. The large venue has the potential to be a successful watering hole but insufficient staff members continuously keep the bar from getting back on its feet. One of the main bartenders doesn’t even know how to make a margarita – the number one drink in America. And it took two bartenders three minutes to make a Bloody Mary and a Margarita during the recon. The food on the other hand is good but the numbers keep going down. But why?
Jon Taffer has on video booth of the grandchildren blatantly stealing cash from the register by not ringing up sales and pocketing the cash. Jon has never seen a bar keep the cash tips in the draw with the rest of the money. There is no accountability; if you don’t know what your dollars should be how can you figure out if they are there or not?
Taffer explains that this is how bartenders steel. “Let’s say I sell you $20 worth of drinks. You give me a twenty dollar bill and I go to the register and hit no sale. I put the $20 in the drawer. The drawer now owes me $20. Now, there is money in the drawer that is unaccounted for; at the end of the night they take that money out and they put it in their pocket. That is why a no sale rings are always a red flag.”
In Taffer’s businesses there are three things that you are not allowed to do. 1. No no sale rings. Somebody asks for change and you have to do a no sale ring then you do it but in a normal bar you never see more than one or two no sale rings a night because there are is no reason for them. 2. Never keep the drawer open. Bartenders have to close the drawer between each transaction so that you have to hit a number to open it again. 3. There can never be a tip cup to register transaction it’s the most frequent way that bartenders steal.
With the comingling between sales and tips it’s either theft or incredibly foolish. Jon doesn’t think the family is stealing which means their foolish and have no necessary accounting systems in place. With this it means that there is a free for other people working at the bar without management knowing.
To prove his point Taffer pulls BevIntel reports from two different shifts. Monday night Melody worked and produced $576 dollars in liquor sales and gave away $160 which is 25% of the sales. On Wednesday night Lana worked and produced $798 but gave away $377 dollars in sales. With these staggering numbers Kim has an important decision to make. Does she keep her underperforming staff or fire them?
Kim admits that she will do anything in her power not to fire someone. However, in the end she makes the decision that her father would make as a manager and not a mother and fires both Lana and Melody for blatantly stealing from the business.
Down two bartenders the stress test will be the ultimate challenge. Justin and Lacey quickly fall behind and Kim is unable to help. They are making the drinks incorrectly and forgetting portions. Justin is only making one drink at a time. At the rate that you are going it is going to take them two hours to serve everyone in the bar. Justin’s temper finally gets the best of him and he walks out from behind the bar when expert mixologist Phil Wills challenges him; leaving his sister to pick up the pieces for the entire family.
In order to correct the issues behind the bar depicted during the stress test Taffer hires a new bartender and brings in master bartender Phil Wills to train the staff. He has more than 10 years’ experience working at national sports bar chains. Therefore, he is the ideal fit to help turn around this bench warming bar into a winning business.
Phil starts by teaching the bartenders about a bubble stop which will help when they are really busy. This will allow them to execute multiple orders at one time and eliminate waist. He then begins training them on the new drinks associated with the new theme that Taffer and his team have conceptualized. These include a couple of different Bloody Mary’s all made with a special house mix and vibrant flavors. The Bloody Mary is one of the top ten drinks consumed in the country.
For the kitchen Taffer brings in culinary expert Brendan Collins. His experience creating cuisine can turn Kerry’s lack luster menu into a stand out. Brendan immediately gets to work with cook Ken to update his decent but lackluster dishes. Brendan explains that you can have the most delicious food ever but if you just throw it on a plate guests are immediately going to say that looks terrible. It’s not enticing other guests to order it. There are simple things like adding height to a sandwich that adds to the overall experience and makes customers excited about the food and craving more. Height adds additional visual points that you wouldn’t see if the sandwich was just placed on a plate uncut and flat.
Once training is under way Taffer announces that they are going to make a concept that is built entirely around bacon. There is no other flavor on the planet like bacon. Bacon contains six different flavors of the savory umami one of the five basic tastes. The unique combination of umami and optimum salt levels in bacon create and addictive flavor that can’t be replicated by any other food in the world. Taffer is going to use bacon to differentiate the bar from all of the other places in town.
Construction begins to redesign the bar; updating layout, accounting systems, design and décor to enhance the overall concept and streamline management functions to make the business profitable. Taffer also teaches Kim how to do a cash check in the middle of a shift. By counting out the starting money and checking the POS system to see what should actually be in the drawer. If what is in the drawer doesn’t match the slip them you can take action then and there and not wait until the end of a shift. She can then remind her staff that there should be no co-mingling of the tips and the business transactions.
After five days of bloody, sweat and tears from Justin, Lacey and Kim, Taffer reveals The Bacon Bar. When entering The Bacon Bar your eyes are immediately drawn to the brightest parts of the bar; this being the back bar where they highlight the premium liquor bottles. Statement pieces like the large copper pig were added to draw in the customer. They also added eight new TVs where customers can sit and watch their favorite games, a pool table, self-serve draft beer system and jukebox.
Now, this business is going to literally and figuratively bring home the bacon. Sales at the Bacon Bar have increased 35%. Justin and Lacey no longer co-mingle their tips with the register and Kim has been holding all of the employees accountable for their actions.