Bar Rescue and Restaurant impossible - anyone watching these?

If you read that article from the New York Times, one of the complaints from restaurant owners who were on the show is that his menu additions were too expensive for their customer base, so perhaps that’s the reason for the attention to price points and food costs.

That place is near me. It was always terrible. I had been there a few times but not since the show was there, and seeing that they went right back to what already wasn’t working I’m shocked they’ve managed to keep the doors open.

I do have to mention that the show both greatly misrepresented the area and Taffer badly misinterpreted the local market. Silver Spring may have a few office buildings, notably the Discovery Channel HQ, however it is definitely neither the corporate paradise they make it out to be nor devoid of food options; actually the street Piratz Tavern is on (Georgia Ave) is lined with an extremely diverse variety of excellent, unique local restaurants in every ethnic flavor you could imagine, and the “Downtown” area just two blocks up the road (and directly across the street from Discovery) is packed with name-brand chain restaurants (Macaroni Grill, Potbelly’s, Moby Dick’s, Red Lobster, etc.). Not to mention that there is a pretty good dive bar (Quarry House) right across the street from Piratz.

But even given all of that, had they listened to the Bar Rescue people, they may have had a chance, even if the corporate thing wasn’t really that great; it was still better than the terrible, childish pirate theme.

Basically the place has a shitty theme, godawful food, and is surrounded by better bars and restaurants.

ETA: it wasn’t a couple months later that they went back to the pirate theme, it was less than a week. Basically they started converting it back immediately after the cameras left.

With the exception of last night’s episode, Bar Rescue has been a lot shriller this season. I don’t remember Jon jumping straight into shouting at people during the first season. The show is a big formulaic, but I like picking up insights into the bar industry and, really, how many ways it is possible for an owner to sink a business?

He does do this, but his simple formula of
Take food costs to make dish

  • 3
    = menu price

Seem overly simplistic. I understand you can’t deep dive into everyones books, but you can’t just say food costs are a baseline to use as a multiplier for each dish. So no matter what the dish cost, that will be one third of the total cost.

Total cost = food cost + overhead + labor, where f.c., o.h. And l equal the same thing.

So, if you have a food cost of $4, menu cost is $12
If food cost is $5, menu cost is $15

You get the idea.

The one place I really wanted to check out was B.R. Swanky Bubbles, a real weird champagne place in Philly. The dumbest name ever, he changed it to Sheer, which also sucked in my opinion. But it was better than Swanky Bubbles. Apparently, they changed the name back, and they no longer exist,

The Pirate lady was insane.

On R.I. The chubby Italian brother and sister owners in that italian restaurant in Pittsburgh were just.a mess. The lady was a mess. The brother was a mess. Apparently the place was built up by their parents, but these two were running it into the ground.

The one thing I remember from this Italian restaurant was that nothing was homemade, and the cook didn’t put salt or pepper into anything. Bizarre.

Are you sure? Most earpieces I’m familiar with for that purpose go behind the ear and you only wear one. He’s got one in the inner ear of each ear.

And he even got pissy when his wife and daughter preferred Robert Irvine’s ribs to his…OWNED!

I saw one where he had to convince the cook to use salt and pepper. They even did a taste test with plain chicken, and chicken with salt and pepper:smack:

I like BR, but I’m not sure I’d go to any of the “after” places. They all lack character to me. I saw one where he installed a video jukebox. Who wants to play a video jukebox? Some of the “improvements” are obvious product placements. Taffer would have a heart attack if he went to some of the bars I frequent!

To use a crude, made-up analogy… suppose White Castle’s sales were declining steeply. Suppose that fewer and fewer people were buying those little square Belly Bombers, and management saw that bankruptcy was looming if they didn’t find a way to attract new customers.

So, they bring in Robert Irvine, who tells them to start buying prime beef, artisan cheese, and organic lettuce and tomatoes. The end result MIGHT be that White Castle made better burgers than ever before…

But there’s no guarantee that new customers would come out in droves to buy the wonderful new burgers they’re making. It might take 6 months, a year, or longer for word to get out that the new White Castle burgers were amazingly good.

But it would take a lot LESS time than that for White Castle’s OLD established customers base to decide they HATE the new burgers and liked the old Belly Bombers better. The old customers are likely to disappear long before the desired NEW customers appear.

At that point, it may seem safer to go back to the old ways and hold on to the old customers than to keep making better quality food and HOPING new customers would start coming.

At little bit of an exaggeration, don’t you think? I’ve never seen Robert insist on premium or artisan ingredients. He does bust them for using canned foods instead of fresh, but he has never suggested prime beef or artisan cheeses. As he has pointed out, cooking with fresh ingredients is cheaper, and returns a larger profit margin. But you have to know how to cook, and be willing to do the work. Many of his clients fail on both accounts.

Well, DUH! Of course I’m exaggerating for effect ! That’s what we do on the SDMB!

Well, DUH! Of course I’m exaggerating for effect ! That’s what we do on the SDMB!

My point (and I did have one) was merely that, even if Irvine gives excellent advice, there may be sane reasons that an entrepreneur might quickly decide to abandon Irvine’s good advice and go back to the old ways that led him to the brink of disaster in the first place.

Has this Bar blunder been on yet?

I’ve seen it. Both the owners and Taffer (the makeover guy) were totally messed up on this one.
The pirate bar is a pretty weird concept for their location, but I actually would have checked it out. The corporate idea was just bad. Who wants to work in an office, then go drink in an office themed bar?

See post #10.

An idea I saw on a board was to rename it Corporate Raiders and try to upscale it a bit, but still keep it with a fun feel.

That might have been OK if the owners and employees had actually tried to run the business. But looking at the show, it didn’t seem to me that they did. Their big deal was to play pirate; and if anybody not part of their pirate circle came in, they’d be served, but not necessarily willingly–it prevented the staff, such as it was, from playing pirate.

“Piratz” looked to me like nothing more than a social club where members wore costumes, drank rum, and said “Arrr!” to each other. They did not seem interested in selling food and drink to outsiders; and if they had to do so, would do so only reluctantly.

I don’t know if “The Corporate Bar and Grill” was the best solution. But it was better than the pirate social club. Heck, I’d go to the Corporate Bar if I was in town and was looking for a place to get a beer and a meal–but I have no interest in patronizing a place where a bunch of wannabe-pirates have little to no interest in customers.