‘Bar Rescue’'s Jon Taffer on Why Some Bar Owners Abandon His Changes
Jon Taffer is a man of many talents. Not just the host of Spike’s popular Bar Rescue, in which he has five days to turn a failing bar around, he’s also the chairman of Taffer Dynamics, one of the first six inductees into the Nightclub Hall of Fame, president of the Nightclub and Bar Media Group, and he’s published a book (Raise the Bar) and has two more on the way (Shut it Down, a business book for bar owners, and a children’s book geared toward teaching kids the fundamentals of running a business — in this case, a lemonade stand). He’s also just launched a free app called BarHQ that helps bar owners run their bars. In short he’s a busy guy, but Bar Rescue shows no sign of slowing down.
“We just shot our 86th episode of Bar Rescue, and the show’s ratings are as high as ever,” he told us when reached by phone. “We’ve gotta keep raising the bar, and we have to be better than we’ve ever been before.”
For loyal viewers of the show, one of the most frustrating and mystifying developments is when bar owners abandon the changes that Taffer made and revert back to their old names, old ways of operating, or both. As you might imagine, it mystifies Taffer, too.
“I look at it this way,” Taffer told us when we asked why he thinks that this is such a common occurrence. “These bar owners are in a lousy sinking boat. I plug it, I paint it, and they drive it into a reef. These owners have made thousands of bad decisions, and this is just one more.”
Most surprisingly, some bar owners abandon all of Taffer’s changes before the episode even airs. “It’s lunacy!” Taffer said. “Anybody who does that before the episode even airs is either ignorant or arrogant, or both. They know what’s coming. They know that the bar is going to be featured on national television. It defies logic.”
While most people in Taffer’s shoes would be offended in this situation, he told us that it doesn’t bother him anymore.
“It just comes down to them being stubborn. And I understand. For me, a wall is a wall, and if we need to move it, we’ll move it. But for them, that wall is their child. All bar and restaurant owners just need to keep in mind that when your customer speaks, it’s fact. When you speak, it’s opinion. Just accept that it’s wrong, and try to make it better.”