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

Image: Taffer Dynamics

I have recently returned from Cincinnati, Ohio, where for three days I was immersed in a sea of bar knowledge and war stories from the annual Sculpture Hospitality convention.

I operate a Sculpture Hospitality franchise that audits the inventories of bar and restaurant owners in Calgary. There are over 300 people like me all over the world who spend their days ensuring operations are running smoothly through regular inventory audits.

During our annual conference we couldn’t have been more excited to have the Bar Rescue kingpin himself, Jon Taffer, as the keynote speaker. In this candid, consultant-to-consultant presentation, we talked about common experiences we all share as advisors to bar operators. It was informative, encouraging and shocking all at once.

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Here are some of my reflections after an encounter with the Bar Rescue legend live and in the flesh.

1. The Jon Taffer You See on Television is NOT an Act

For anyone who has ever watched Bar Rescue and questioned if Taffer’s personality is all just a gimmick to get ratings, let me assure you that isn’t the case. Who you see on Bar Rescue is the real Jon Taffer. He’s loud, brash and has no patience for excuses. He knows the bar business inside and out, and I’d get him run my bar any day of the week.

2. Excuses Aren’t Welcome

You need to own your failures to own your successes. Unless a person is willing to own up to their part in the failure of a business, nothing will change. Taffer believes that one of the most significant reasons people fail is their eagerness to blame their failures on anything and anyone other than themselves. Accepting full responsibility is fundamental to success.

3. The Economy is Booming—Your Time is Now

According to Taffer, the total amount of liquor licenses issued was up approximately 180,000 from this time last year. This may be due to recent tax cuts via the Trump administration or natural economic cycles. Regardless, the economy is growing at an unprecedented rate, so blaming the economy for personal failure is unacceptable. It’s boom time and the time is now to make a major investment in the hospitality industry.

4. We Must See Ourselves as Managers of Sales Organizations

Businesses only become valuable when their operators act as managers of sales organizations. Many owners and operators mistakenly believe that their role in their organization is managing operational activity. However, that only ensures the actual labor components of the business are held to a certain standard. Without a customer to serve, that labor is not valuable.

Read this: Jon Taffer to Deliver Keynote at 2019 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Tradeshow

Our main focus should be lead generation, managing sales funnels, working to improve conversion rates, meeting with clients to ensure customer satisfaction, and generating referrals. When our actions are focused on those tasks, the businesses we own become valuable. Without a consistent, aggressive focus in this area, all we own is a job.

5. A Lack of Resources is Really Just a Lack of Ideas

Every problem can be solved with an injection of new ideas. At a minimum, 15 minutes of reading in the area of self-improvement should be part of every successful business owner’s daily regimen. Ideally, there’s constant investment into educational experiences of all kinds.

Read this: Hospitality Maverick, Celebrity and Entrepreneur Jon Taffer Named Chairman for Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show

There are many ways operators can immerse themselves in positive information that will help improve their businesses: reading, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, participating in webinars, attending workshops and conferences… It’s not really how a person learns but their attitude towards learning in general which makes the difference. All solutions can be found as long as a person is constantly searching for new ideas.

6. An Aggressive Marketing Strategy is Key

To properly build a brand, you need to get the word out consistently. This will require multiple methods of marketing, executed simultaneously. For example, here’s a short list of activities in which every operator should be engaged:

  • Get all staff to wear branded T-shirts with your latest promo on the back.
  • Publish a monthly newsletter and promote your next event.
  • Buy a van, get it fully branded with your sales message, and pay the parking fee to have it parked in busy intersections in your neighborhood.
  • Send out your street teams to hand out flyers to neighboring businesses.
  • Do something outrageous and call your publicist to get media attention.
  • Make a list of your top 10 marketing methods and commit all your energy to executing them as part of a plan.

2019 Nightclub & Bar Show attendees have the opportunity to attend a powerful keynote delivered by Jon Taffer. On Tuesday, March 26 at 11:00 a.m., entrepreneur, CEO, hospitality trailblazer, host of Bar Rescue, Chairman of the Nightclub & Bar Show and will challenge the habits and processes business owners use to justify failure during his keynote “Cut the BS Excuses that Hold you Back.” Don’t miss out—register now!

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