Tonight’s episode of “Bar Rescue,” creator Jon Taffer went to “Barlow’s” in this episode titled, “There’s No Crying in the Bar Business.” Two years after she and her husband opened Barlow’s, Susan Wood found herself divorced and without a partner. Never serving food, she agreed to let John, a regular in the bar, to take care of the food business for an equal partnership in the place. Although John claimed to have cooking experience, but his hour-long waits for food, gave customers no reason to return.
As their partnership dwindled, she turned a blind eye to the theft that was happening around her and let her employees get away with murder. Now stuck in a vengeful partnership, and with $102,000 in debt, they have called upon Jon for help; but is it too late?
Jon and mixologist, Russell Davis and executive chef, Tiffany Derry to help shape the place up and revamp the drinks and food. From the outside, the place looks like a pancake house, not a bar and grill. The place is separated into smoking and non-smoking areas separated by a glass partition. Susan is observed drinking and cajoling with customers. This is against Jon’s rules of business and knows it leads to the road to failure.
As a customer asks a bartender about the barbeque he saw on the website, he was told that the website had not been updated, but they have barbeque sauce. Duh!
As John is sitting at the bar, the cook in the kitchen makes burgers using gross meat. A woman had two bites of the cheddar bacon burger and could not eat anymore. Fortunately, for the business, a cook faked an injury in the kitchen, but when confronted with the evidence, he was not even fired, but quit. As the three observe Nikki, a bartender slithering on the bar, they do not know what to make of that action. Jon finally had enough and went in.
Jon knew there was tension between the two partners, so he met with them separately. Susan believes that John is trying to sabotage her, so he can take over. Unfortunately, soon there will be no business to split. Jon then met with the pair and whatever Susan said, John contradicted. Susan owns three-quarters and John owns one-quarter of the business, but if he cannot get them together, he cannot fix the business.
Russell saw dirt and bacteria under the bar, and John said he knew the kitchen was clean. Tiffany found standing water in the refrigerator, rotten food and a wall full of mold. This situation can cause deadly diseases, and they all had to leave the building, so he could get a service in order to clean the place. John told Jon what a great kitchen manager he was, now Jon has caught him in a big lie, because the kitchen was a death trap.
A few days later, when it was safe to return, Jon had Susan tell the staff exactly how desperate the situation was, and they would all soon be out of a job if things did not change. They asked the staff what John’s job was there, and they agreed that nobody really knew what he did except sit and drink beer.
He asked why they were working there, and most replied because the love Susan. He asked if it was because she let them get away with everything. He also explained how much they were losing due to over-pouring because the bottles have been weighed each day against the sales. One night they gave away $675 in liquor. When they found out what was being done, they only gave away $200 the next night. When Jon told Susan they were stealing from her, she cried. However, Jon confronted her with the fact that Nikki was stealing from her before and was caught with very little consequences.
Jon ordered Susan to fire her, finally she fired her, and she walked out. Susan still could not stop crying. Russell then tested the remaining bartenders with drink contents. In the kitchen, Tiffany gave the cooks a lesson in line cooking. Jon confronted both partners with their profit and loss statement. Now he is getting them together to work like a team.
At the stress test, a large crowd gathered outside and the bar and kitchen staff was put to the test. Russell put a sticker on each of them when they made a mistake. Soon they were covered in stickers; the same thing was done in the kitchen. Susan worked like a beaver in the bar, instead of drinking and screwing around with the customers.
The kitchen was a mess because John could not or would not lead his team. Soon the place was filled with smoke, because John did not turn on the vent. Jon did not pull any punches and told John that he was worthless. As the bar could not keep up with the drinks, Jon decided to shut it down too. Susan made a last call announcement, and the customers had to leave.
After the bar closed, Jon told the staff that John could not manage the kitchen and gave the manager’s job to Q, a cook who did a great job. Susan was the star; she helped everyone and made it to every table. She felt vindicated, because she was saying all along that John was not a good kitchen manager. The next day, everyone would be trained for the entire day.
They came up with southern themed and sports-related drinks and food. Jon decided that John would be a better manager of the finances, and Susan loved the idea. Then Jon introduced them to the new bar, now named “The Comeback Sports Bar & Grill.”
The inside looked like an arena, with large flat screens, a sophisticated smoke eradicator system, so they will not need the separator wall. The perfect beer cooler system giving ice cold beer to patrons. There was a tribute wall to Atlanta’s sports teams. The kitchen was humming, and the bar was catching up.
Three months after Jon left; the “Bar Rescue” staff reported that food sales were up 20%. John has been letting Susan manage the bar, while he runs the books. Their new arrangement is working out well. Two months ago, Nikki asked for her job back, but Susan refused to rehire her.
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