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Anatomy of a Rescue

The BARcode of RG's Lounge has Officially Expired

December 15, 2013 By: Mary-Kate Dunphy


RG's Lounge

THE BAR

Due to the Chiefs and the Royals, Kansas City, Missouri has become the number six sports town in America; just a mile away from the stadiums resides the failing bar RG’s Lounge in Independence, MO. The local population is 117 thousand, 95,000 of whom are sports fans. Being so close to two professional sports’ stadiums, success would be inevitable…if it weren’t for Rick and Randy.

Rick and Randy are twin brothers who bought RG’s Lounge nine years ago.  At first the bar flourished as customers were drawn to Rick and Randy’s larger than life personalities but the twins had a long history of competition between themselves. Despite the bar’s success, working side by side everyday turned the twins’ light hearted jabs into below the belt blows causing animosity and tension.

The operating manager, Randy blames Rick, who bartends two nights a week, for their customers leaving and the bickering ensues. The twins constantly argue during business hours making the employees and, more importantly, the customers uncomfortable. The lack of communication the brothers display has evidently proven harmful to the business. Preoccupied more with pointing fingers for failure, the twins have turned a blind eye to their dwindling bar; as the  interior aged, so did the clientele.

RG’s Lounge is now losing $5,000 a month and is currently $139,000 in debt. Rick and Randy have hit a new low beyond their business, they live across the street from one another and they do not speak. Tyler, Rick’s son, Randy’s nephew and Jon Taffer’s mole for this rescue, is the inheritor of the business and is fed up with the family feud. Sixty percent of family businesses end because of relationship problems and if the brothers cannot work through their differences and turn things around, RGs Lounge does not stand a chance.

Rick and Randy

THE CHALLENEGE

The first thing Taffer and his team of experts notice is the overall appearance of RG’s Lounge; with pink and teal lights it is comparable to the look of a bingo hall in Miami. The client base of the bar is 65 years and older, and these senior citizens typically only drink water. A younger crowd needs to be brought in in order for the twins to make money.

Behind the bar, there are multiple issues that require addressing. To start, it is unsanitary; there are even fruit flies in the spirit bottles. There is only one service station, which causes clutter and adding to the confusion, there is not one POS system in RG’s. The bartenders clearly need to be trained; during the recon it took over 7 minutes for a woman to get a drink while Rick and Randy argue in the background.

In the kitchen, the chef Walt undoubtedly needs to be trained in cooking and cleaning operations. The kitchen is completely unsanitary. Walt is held to no standards by Rick nor Randy, so why clean? The equipment he is using and his methods of cooking are sure to get people sick if continued. There is also no ticket or food running system for the kitchen so when food is finished it is left sitting.

A positive description of the staff at RG’s is loyal; many of the employees have been with the business for over 15 years. The bar business has the highest turnover rate in the US. The average turnover rate in the US is 15%; 85% less than the food and beverage industry. Morale is low and there is a sense of complacency amongst the employees; but when you infuse new people into a business, complacency disappears.  

Taffer and his team witnessed an overly intoxicated woman get served more and more alcohol on the twins’ watch. Irresponsible serving is immoral and could get customers hurt, arrested or hurt someone else. That particular customer actually got arrested after leaving the bar.

However, the most existential challenge Taffer faces throughout this rescue will be to bring Rick and Randy together as brothers and managers to work together towards the common goal of success. They refuse to speak even when they are working unless they are taking a stab at one another. There is a complete lack of management at RG’s Lounge and if it does not change, the business is sure to fail.

BARcode

TURNAROUND TACTICS

After the bar and kitchen were cleaned, Taffer brings in three young bartenders to push the current bartenders to elevate their skills under pressure. Mixologist expert Mia Mastroianni gets to work with the six woman behind the bar. She teaches them simple cocktails and basic bartending techniques. Celina Tio, culinary expert, works with Walt in the kitchen teaching him the proper methods to prepare his food. The bartenders and Walt rise to the occasion during the stress test.

Learning from his recon mistake, Randy understands the liability of over-serving and got a cab for a yet another intoxicated customer and finally starts to show managerial qualities.

Now, for the most pressing issue: the brothers. Taffer holds an intervention with the two and the root to their problems come out; their parents. Rick explains that he is not an angry person but a hurt person; Randy got most of the inheritance when their parents passed and it broke his heart. After hearing what Tyler had to say, the twins decided to put their differences aside in order to start acting like brothers and managers to make way for a successful future.

After mending the gap in Rick and Randy’s relationship, Taffer got to work on a concept for the relaunch. Being only a mile away from the stadiums, Taffer realizes that there is a great opportunity for a sports bar, however, sports only take up so many days of the year and the other days must be filled. Which sparks an idea; 58% of Americans play video games, the average age being 34 years of age so Taffer decides to create an interactive sports bar.

RG’s Lounge is transformed into a modern, interactive bar where you do not expect to see any senior citizens called BARcode. This new bar has POS systems, two service wells and two ice bins. There are many TVs placed throughout BARcode and there are cable boxes, PS3 gaming systems and the most popular video games out for young people to enjoy.

Being that rum and vodka are the most popular spirits amongst sports fans, Mia created a drink menu that fits that demographic; in example “The Out of the Park” which is blue and white for the Royals fans. Celina shaped a food menu that goes along with the gaming theme of BARcode; most foods are served on skewers to avoid customers’ controllers getting greasy.

Rick and Randy

THE RESULTS

During the relaunch, the brothers actually work together, which makes BARcode work! Rick is helping Walt in the kitchen and Randy is stepping into his management position like a pro. BARcode is filled with young faces with great energy and the bartenders are pumping out drinks. Customers gave BARcode raving reviews during the relaunch and Tyler assures his dad and uncle that he is pleased to bring all his friends to the new bar.

Six weeks after the relaunch, BARcode’s food and drink sales have increased 37% and the average customer age has decreased by a massive 28 years. As promised, Tyler and his friends have become regulars at the bar. Most importantly, Randy and Rick are now closer than ever. The future is bright for this family and for their new business, BARcode.

 


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