Anyone with an interest in the bar business and a stomach for reality television is probably familiar with Bar Rescue, the SpikeTV phenomenon that’s brought bar and nightclub expert Jon Taffer to living rooms worldwide since 2011. The show follows Taffer as he drops in on failing bars and restaurants all over the nation, solving their business woes through a regimen of on-the-job training, elaborate renovations, and often-scathing criticism.
But Taffer’s not content merely with hosting a hit TV show and overseeing a consulting empire that includes one of the biggest annual conventions of its kind. His next move will see him jump from the TV screen to the tablet and smartphone scene with BarHQ, an app designed to revolutionize the bar and nightclub space, available now for Android and iOS. And Taffer didn’t just sit on the sidelines for BarHQ’s development. He guided the app’s creation from storyboard to delivery, and he’s finishing construction on a studio built specifically to shoot video content for BarHQ users.
We sat down with Jon to talk about how the app works, why he built it, and what it’s like to go from TV personality to app designer.
Pocketnow: I want to start by asking you where the idea for BarHQ originated. What made you decide that the next step for you is an app?
Jon Taffer: I run the Nightclub and Bar Convention in Las Vegas and I’ve been supportive of the industry for thirty years, so giving back and teaching has always been very important to me. And in the thirty years of my career I learned everything about success, but I did not learn, really, about failure. In Bar Rescue I got exposed to failure at a very deep level. You’ve never been exposed to failure like I have … I did a bunch of rescue tours the past few years, and every city I did was sold out [full of] bar owners who were in trouble. And [at every tour] I got literally thousands of emails from bar owners who a) couldn’t get a seat, or b) didn’t have money to travel. I’ve just been faced with thousands of emails from troubled bars over the years, and it’s hard to read these every day and not do something.
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