Raise the Bar by Jon Taffer is a Good Read for ANY Business Owner
In the words of Fat Amy in the trailer for Pitch Perfect Two when she crashes down the dormitory stairs on a sledding disc, Jon Taffer also “Crushed it” in his book Raise the Bar.
I’ve never watched the show, Bar Rescue, however who isn’t familiar with Taffer and the work he’s done to help turnaround failing bars and restaurants across the U.S.? My business partner and editor, Michael Perlis, covered one of Taffer’s packed conventions in Vegas last year and was equally impressed. (Read Michael’s coverage here: http://evewine101.com/2014/05/03/perlis-picks-2014-nightclub-bar-convention-trade-show)
Taffer actually came to Santa Clarita and worked changing The Tailgate into The Shot Exchange. (The story: http://www.hometownstation.com/santa-clarita-news/business/tv-show-bar-rescue-features-santa-clarita-bar-shot-exchange-39833 update: http://www.barrescueupdates.com/2014/04/bar-rescue-shot-exchange-tailgate-update.html and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theshotexchange)
The biggest takeaway I got from Taffer’s book was how his business acumen could apply to much more than the bar industry. My notes are below, in digestible one-liners:
Proper clothing on the staff and makeup for women is seen as professional.
Delays in being seated or after requesting the check affects the overall perception.
Problems encountered by customers are not always voiced, they just don’t return.
Being a “Foodie” is not a qualification to run a restaurant.
Your business must have procedures and manuals in place.
A customer’s laughter is a sign of success.
Focus on your guest’s reactions (on social networks or in person) not on spending money on advertising in media.
A whopping 50% of your customers don’t return, as it’s “not in their life pattern or habit style” yet.
A whopping 83% of your customers have seen rudeness – between management and staff – at least once.
A “Big Shot” owner is destructive to a business; it’s not about you it’s about them.
Check the Census Bureau or ESRI.com for information on your proposed business site’s demographics before you buy in.
Consider a name change, as it’s an immediate update of your business.
A customer spends up to 90 seconds before “menu fatigue” sets in – don’t overwhelm them with too many pages or opposing cuisines like sushi and salsa.
Get new customers with a “TBFC” (The Big Fat Claim) such as freebies for the first, second and third visit, as 70% will return for a fourth without a free deal.
Consider running eight consecutive weeks of a weeknight promotion.
Don’t give a server more than 20 customers (4-5 tables) to manage as they will surely be kept waiting at some point.
If your numbers are good but your guest experience is negative, it doesn’t matter – fix the experience.
Millennials like the new sweeter cocktails. You may want to check out “draft cocktail machines.”
Consider an “After Dark” bar experience after your bar closes, with a new name and specials.
If there’s anyone who can prevent a bar or restaurant from going belly up, it’s Jon Taffer. Widely considered the greatest authority in the food and beverage, hotel, and hospitality industries, he runs the biggest trade show in the business and has turned around nearly 1,000 bars and at least that many restaurants.
As host and co-producer of Spike TV’s Bar Rescue, a documentary-style series, Taffer gives struggling bars one last chance to succeed with a mixture of business acumen and tough love. Now he’s offering his no-nonsense strategy for eliciting just the right emotional reactions in customers to everyone.
Raise the Bar distills the secrets to running a successful enterprise with Reaction Management, a strategy and philosophy Taffer developed and uses in his business and on Bar Rescue. It works whether you’re running a storefront operation or a web-based company, whether you’re manufacturing widgets or providing a service.
Taffer’s overarching philosophy is this: All business is about creating the right reactions in your customers. Even better: You can control those reactions to a very large degree. Raise the Bar is the definitive manual on transforming a bar or restaurant with actionable, proven strategies for immediate impact.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com