Jon Taffer Keynote: These are the B.S. Excuses that are Killing You

Nightclub & Bar Show announces Jon Taffer is chairman
Image: Taffer Dynamics

“My people!” Jon Taffer exclaimed enthusiastically to a jam-packed keynote room at the 34th annual Nightclub & Bar Show. “There’s nothing like being here. I’m home.”

For roughly 40 minutes, Taffer implored hundreds of riveted Nightclub & Bar Show attendees to cut out the bullshit excuses holding themselves and their operations back. To do so, he got the thousand-pound juggernaut in the room out of the way: Bar Rescue.

It’s not that Paramount Network’s hit show wasn’t relevant to the conversation. Quite the contrary. And it wasn’t that Taffer didn’t want to discuss what’s on track to become the most aired reality show in history. He needed to bring up Bar Rescue to explain what he’s learned about the relationship between most bar owners and a proclivity toward excuse-making.

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Taffer made it clear that Bar Rescue is a real show. There’s no script. He gets a 60-second briefing of the owners and that bar and then he hits the ground running. In four days, he has to design the bar, sign off on every decision, conduct a stress test, train the staff, remodel the venue, and show the owners the end result.

Over the course of 170 episodes, Taffer has learned three things:

  • Bar owners don’t do anything as quickly as they should.
  • Too many failing operators are comfortable with making excuses.
  • There are 6 “common culprits” when it comes to excuses.

To his first point, Taffer pointed out that he has to make decisions ranging from glassware to POS to barstools to interior and exterior design in just days. So why, he wanted to know, does it take bar owners months to make the same decisions?

Read this: The Man Behind Bar Rescue: 6 Takeaways from a Jon Taffer Keynote

To Taffer’s second point, not one bar owner in 6 seasons of Bar Rescue has ever blamed themselves for their bar’s failures. They’ve blamed the weather, the economy their competitors… One woman even blamed the weakness of the Euro in Greece, because reasons. In Taffer’s experience, if an owner isn’t willing to identify themselves as the reason they’re experiencing failure then they’ll never change. And if they won’t change, they’ll fail themselves out of the industry.

Addressing Taffer’s third point, he shared the 6 most common excuses people utilize:

  1. Fear, which is bullshit because millions of people have faced the same fears and beaten them.
  2. Knowledge, which is bullshit because information has never been more readily available than it is now. People who “can’t” find out the information they need are lazy.
  3. Time, which is bullshit because if something is important to someone they’ll make time for it.
  4. Circumstance, which is bullshit none of can change circumstances, we can only adapt and cope with them. If someone can’t cope with reality, they should just stay home.
  5. Ego, which is the worst excuse of them all. Taffer asked the room if they had noticed that the people with the biggest egos often have the thinnest wallets.
  6. Scarcity, which is bullshit because plenty of successful millionaires and billionaires faced a scarcity of resources but still fought to the top.

That last culprit is also bullshit to Taffer because we’re living in a boom time. Set aside the politics, he urged, and one can still appreciate that unemployment is low and people are making money.

Read this: Blow Shit Up: Tanisha Robinson on Crowdfunding Your Venue and Brand Expansions

“If you’re not making with your business, something is wrong,” explained Taffer. “Opportunity is now.”

When making that last point, Taffer inspired the standing-room-only keynote attendees to work to become more successful. Increase guest counts. Make more money. The average American is making 4-5 percent more money, Taffer pointed out. Don’t accept that small percentage—stop making bullshit excuses and make much, much more.

Looking for even more inspiration? Tanisha Robinson, CEO of BrewDog USA, will talk with David Kaplan of Death & Co. during the “Strategies on Raising Capital and Funding Your Operation” keynote on Wednesday, March 27 at 11:00 a.m. You will absolutely not want to miss out!

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