This year, 6,500 failing bars nationwide will close their doors for good. If things don’t change soon, Six Point Inn in Portland, Oregon will become just another statistic. In 2009, businessman Oleg Pilipenko opened a bar in the north Portland neighborhood of St. Johns. As one of the only bars in the neighborhood, the business was successful in its first years. But as Oleg turned his focus to opening additional businesses, daily operations fell upon inexperienced Sunny. Lost without her stepfather’s support, Sunny resorts to criticizing her staff and focusing on minor details. The toxic work environment destroyed staff morale and drove away their younger customer base. Now, $1,000,000 in debt, the owners are blaming each other for the bar’s failure. Sunny and Oleg’s relationship is threatening to break for good. Hoping Jon Taffer can save both the bar and the family relationship, Oleg and Sunny have agreed to pull back the doors, bust open the books and make the call for help to Bar Rescue.
On the north end of Portland, Oregon sits the neighborhood of St Johns. With a median household income of $45,000 a year – $15,000 less than that of the surrounding Portland area – St. Johns is a small blue collar neighborhood. Catering to the local demographic but failing to attract the more affluent surrounding communities in Portland is Six Point Inn. The location is a 2,800 square-foot space featuring a curved bar with a single speed well, two pool tables adjacent to the windows and a dark dining room in the back. Opening at 7:00AM, the bar makes 30% of their food sales before noon but is losing approximately $3,000 a month. Unfortunately, Six Point Inn also features bartenders who muddle with ice and a cook without a culinary education who believes that women “do not belong” in “his” kitchen.
As part of the rescue and rebranding of Six Point Inn, more focus will be placed on the kitchen. To turn around the bar, the chef and the owners must understand price points and costs. Using a burger as an example, if Six Point Inn purchases the individual ingredients at a wholesale price of $1.50 and sells the completed item to their guest at $7.00, they clear a profit of $5.50. If given the option to add an inexpensive yet enticing topping for $2.00 – such as an egg that costs the bar twenty cents – the topping translates to an increase in profit of 33%, or $7.30.
Master mixologist and owner and partner of Spirits in Motion – Beverage Solutions Phil Wills taught the bar staff more than simply how to muddle correctly and make a few specialty cocktails. He also educated them on the finer points of perception. If a cocktail looks sexy, if it has that important wow factor, not only can the bar charge more for it, more customers will see it and want one for themselves. If a guest perceives a drink as desirable and of higher quality, they will both expect it to cost more and be willing to pay more for it.
Chef Pink, owner of Bacon and Brine and an incredibly accomplished snout to tail, farm table chef, taught chef Sal how to make a delicious breakfast gravy and not burn a burger. She also explained repurposing ingredients. If an ingredient can be used to make multiple dishes, it’s more cost effective and therefore better for the bottom line. Kitchens that can make multiple items from repurposed ingredients are more profitable.
Six Point Inn was rebranded as Over Easy Bar & Breakfast. The building, referred to as “the green monstrosity” by Jon at the beginning of the episode, has been redesigned for a cozier, more rustic and inviting feel. As Over Easy offers delicious breakfast as well as a comfortable bar, the venue has been separated. Natural light pours into the dining area while the bar area is dark. After just 8 weeks, bar sales have increased 30% while food sales are up a huge 65 percent. Sal, however, has gone back to using his old gravy.