Among the hordes of fans watching Spike TV's"Bar Rescue," it would be difficult (impossible) to find one who disagreed with this statement: Jon Taffer is a man who speaks his mind. Taffer imparted some of his signature wisdom on FSR Digital Content Editor Danny Klein in a past story. Here were some of the highlights.
Don't be the dumbest guy in the room
"There’s only one thing that guarantees success—my grandfather said this to me—only one thing guarantees success: you’ve got to be the smartest guy in the room. If you’re the smartest guy in the room, you’re going to be successful at some point. You’re never going to be successful being the dumbest guy in the room."
Don't starve the back of the house
“The big fight that we have is that you can’t throw a guy that doesn’t know how to cook on a cooking line and expect something great to come out. I believe that taking from the front of the house to feed the back of the house is unreasonable. Invest in your back of the house, invest in your line cooks, invest in your guys, get quality back there, and it will succeed. Taking from the front and giving it to the back, I don’t think is a solution.”
It always comes back to the source
“Every failing restaurant has a failing owner. There’s no such thing as a failing restaurant with a winning owner. It doesn’t work that way. There’s no business, in my view, that’s more of a reflection upon a personality and the traits of an owner than a restaurant.”
We're playing football?
“Restaurants are often like football games, you don’t necessarily lose the game, you run out of time. You can open a restaurant and run out of money in the first 90 days. If you had enough money and financial controls, you could have made it six months and turned it around. So restaurants fail for two reasons: they fail A. because they don’t have enough money and they run out of time. Or B. time wouldn’t have solved it because it was screwed up in the way it was run in the first place.”
“To me, rookies get in this business too often. They watch a Chef Robert Irvine on TV and they say, ‘Wow, I can do that.’ And they go get in the business for social reasons. This is a HARD business. It’s not social. It’s not fun. It’s 20 hours a friggin day, sitting in front of your screen four hours a day managing your numbers. And they don’t get that when they go into it too often.”
Excuses ... excuses
“After 130 Bar Rescues, I found the common denominator of failure. And the common denominator is … excuses. During the worst recession, during construction, somebody’s making money. So if he wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror, and blames Obama, than he has no reason to change. But if he owns that failure, and wakes up in the morning and looks in the mirror and says, ‘I’m failing because of me.’ He’s not going to like it. And he’s going to change.”
Keep it classic
"Everybody talks about trends and trends, and where are things going. You know, the oldest restaurant in any city is a steakhouse. Typically, the second oldest restaurant in any city is, of course, a seafood house. The trendier a restaurant is, the shorter its life cycle is. Trends are wonderful but trends have to be long lasting, and too often, rookies get into a restaurant environment that they create that’s so trendy that the nature of the trend is going to have a trend, and when the trend ends, so does their business."