In 2003, two firefighter brothers from Sunnyside, NY, Brian and Jimmy, inherited The Firewater Inn, their deceased father’s successful bar. The Firewater Inn typically made $8-10,000 a month.
Due to the bar’s outdated interior, the brother’s decided to go through a renovation and bring in their older brother John, who runs a separate successful bar. The renovation was supposed to last 6 months but 6 months turned into a year and a half. By the time the bar opened as Jack’s Ale House, the traditionally blue collar neighborhood became younger and wealthier and customers left for trendier spots.
The financial pressures of Jack’s Ale House are threatening to tear the family apart. Facing $400,000 in mounting debt, the brothers are only 6 months away from closing for good.
Jack’s Ale House, while a decent looking bar, causes absolutely no reaction inside or out. A bar should cause excitement and with no reaction, there is no excitement. Everything on the inside of the bar is either beige or gray; this does not appeal to the 36 year old market especially with New York City nightlife at their disposal.
The bartenders do not know how to make classic cocktails such as The Cosmo, which is one of the most popular cocktails in America. The cook made a valiant effort in the kitchen….with one glove on. According to the FDA, the fingernails and surrounding areas are often the most contaminated areas, so one glove simply will not cut it. The staff at Jack’s Ale House need training, and fast.
The bar is small and too tight to work effectively and there are absolutely no stations. There are also no systems in place at Jack’s Ale House, which amplifies confusion.
Jimmy, the middle brother, is a huge problem in general. He is explosive, arrogant and he simply cannot control himself. He succumbs to the social scene at the bar by drinking and completely neglecting his responsibilities as an owner. Whenever any staff member drinks behind the bar, liability goes up. How can you be expected to make positive decisions on the job when your own judgment is impaired?
John, the oldest brother, is defeated and thinks it would be best financially to sell the bar. The three brothers fight constantly; they act like the customers that get thrown out of the bar, not the owners.
Jon Taffer brings in Russell Davis to train Jack’s employees behind the bar. He teaches them basic techniques and classic and specialty cocktails. Vic Vegas was brought in to teach sanitation tactics and cooking practices.
Vegas introduced a new, money making promotion that will make a killing for Jack’s: The Jacked Up Grilled Cheese Challenge. The challenge is to finish an almost impossibly spicy grilled cheese sandwich without taking a sip of the milk provided, if a customer finishes, they get a Jack’s t-shirt.
The most relevant occurrence throughout this entire rescue was Jimmy’s attitude change. Jimmy’s wife stood up in front of the staff of Jack’s and truly explained her heartbreak in which Jimmy is causing with his attitude and drinking problems. The brother’s mother also explained that the three brothers need to ban together in order to commemorate their father properly and continue his legacy.
Taffer turned Jack’s Ale House into Jack’s Fire Department, dignifying that the father is the head of the bar and the three brothers are not only related by blood but by station, or bar.
Taffer went into this renovation with the word ‘reactions’ in mind; he aimed to create excitement and implement accessories that will double as talking points for guests such as the urinal fire hose game and the fire truck placed behind the bar. He even made the door knob of the bar a nozzle to make the fire department theme really come to life.