Jon Taffer: How He Turns Failed Bars Into Major Successes

Jon TafferSource:

To further understand the bar and restaurant industry, I spoke to one of the leading experts in Jon Taffer. You might know Taffer from his hit reality TV show “Bar Rescue”, where he takes bars that are about to close and turns them into major successes. His first bar management job was at The Troubadour night club in West Hollywood in 1978, then he went on to serve on the board of NFL Enterprises and in 2010, he become the President of the Nightclub and Bar Media Group. He was responsible for Nightclub & Bar Magazine as well as the annual Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. Taffer is also the chairman of Taffer Dynamics and author of Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions. For more information directly from Jon, follow him on Twitter @jontaffer or on Facebook.

In the following interview, he talks about the most common mistakes bar owners make, gives us a behind the scenes view of his TV show, the results he’s achieved and his best advice.

Dan Schawbel: What are the three most common mistakes that bars make and why do they make them?

Jon Taffer:

1. Financial reporting. Bar owners tend to be social rather than operators. Most bar owners do not manage their numbers. They do not have spreadsheets or reports to manage their budget, cost or inventory. I would say 90% of independent bar owners do not even have a budget.

2. Arrogance. Somehow they think their business is going to improve because of them rather then what they do. Business increases on marketing, promote and filling their bar; not because of who they are.

3. Targeting/positioning. Bars must be built for the market place. Bars can’t be everything to everyone. They must be everything to someone. What is the concept…country, rock and roll, hip hop; those audiences really sit together in the same place. The bar has to understand its demographics, lifestyle, beverage taste, food taste, and other factors to position a bar to that specific demographic. When a bar is everything to someone, that someone comes back. Too many bar owners built a bar for themselves…when they should have built what their market and demographic demands!

Schawbel: Can you go over the process for how you decide which bars get rescued, how long it takes to film each rescue and how the makeovers get funded?

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