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Bar Rescue: Elements of Failure

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MJ DeMarco

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One of the few programs I watch pretty religiously is BAR RESCUE.

While I understand the drama is fake and manufactured, what aren't are the failures and the remodeling / rebranding that occurs. This is why I watch it because it really has some great lessons for business. Yes, even in bars there are some SERIOUS analytics going on.

Anyway, I notice one common theme premising the failure in MOST of the bar rescues (I'm guessing 3 of 4) ...

Guess what it is?

Lack of branding? Lack of systems? Lack of delegation and use of authority?

Yes to all of the above, but there was something much deeper underscoring the failures...

IT.

WAS.

PASSION.

Yup, passion.

When Jon interviews failing bar owners, most of the time they say "It was always my dream (my passion) to start a bar" and yet few of the owners tailor the BAR to what the market demographics warrant, or need.

For instance the last rescue I watched, a man started up a bar called Fairways Golf Bar.

Why?

Because his passion was golf.

So here he goes, starting a bar based on GOLF in an area that doesn't give a shit about golf.

He lost money right from the start.

Follow your passion?

No, if you want ANY CHANCE, follow the freaking market.

Fairways Golf and Grill Update- What Happened After Bar Rescue - Gazette Review

Turns out the rescue didn't matter either, the bar eventually closed.


 

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One of the few programs I watch pretty religiously is BAR RESCUE.

While I understand the drama is fake and manufactured, what aren't are the failures and the remodeling / rebranding that occurs. This is why I watch it because it really has some great lessons for business. Yes, even in bars there are some SERIOUS analytics going on.

Anyway, I notice one common theme premising the failure in MOST of the bar rescues (I'm guessing 3 of 4) ...

Guess what it is?

Lack of branding? Lack of systems? Lack of delegation and use of authority?

Yes to all of the above, but there was something much deeper underscoring the failures...

IT.

WAS.

PASSION.

Yup, passion.

When Jon interviews failing bar owners, most of the time they say "It was always my dream (my passion) to start a bar" and yet few of the owners tailor the BAR to what the market demographics warrant, or need.

For instance the last rescue I watched, a man started up a bar called Fairways Golf Bar.

Why?

Because his passion was golf.

So here he goes, starting a bar based on GOLF in an area that doesn't give a sh*t about golf.

He lost money right from the start.

Follow your passion?

No, if you want ANY CHANCE, follow the freaking market.

Fairways Golf and Grill Update- What Happened After Bar Rescue - Gazette Review

Turns out the rescue didn't matter either, the bar eventually closed.

Lol. I saw an episode of that way back.

Good post. It is relevant to another thread. The soft proof disruption thread.

The failure of bars seems to be more from consolidation and over saturation from what I've seen and read.

Long Island has like 1k bars in xx square miles.

A city in my area has like 80 in 5 square miles or some ridiculously high number.

If you're starting a bar in 2018 then you're like 1 or 2 generations too late. The psychology of a bar or even club is to go where your friends go.

Even deeper, it's to find hot young women. They are the only semi non-anchored element as they bar hop with their female group. Starting a sports bar? Quit. There are like 10k. Starting a club? Quit. There are too many.
Starting a xyz bar? Quit. There are too many.

Now if bar rescue shows specialty bars like micro-breweries (almost too saturated now), martini bars, upscale mixology spots, whisky lounges, scotch lounges, etc. failing then there is something to be seen. Those have much lower failure rates. Who wants to see revamped specialty bars kicking a$$ though?

I don't necessarily agree or disagree with following your passion because there hasn't even been a good framework setup on the forum to discuss it.

It's need with passion versus no need with passion.

A better framework to me would be egoic desire/vanity versus genuine self-expression. Then it is focused purely on the passion and takes in nothing else.

Genuine self-expression is based on intangibles. Vanity is highly materialistic.

The egoic expression says, "I want to create a bar because I like bars."

The genuine version says, "I value free expression of the human so I will create a bar that increases and amplifies free expression as much as possible."

The latter version will produce a much different bar than the former.

With the former you get a golf bar like in the original post that no one likes.

With the latter, you don't know and CAN'T know what increases free expression as much as possible until you get feedback from the market. You start with a skeleton bar as minimal as possible and frame the insides the way that amplifies that value. It may be a martini bar, whiskey lounge, or micro-brewery. You only know after research what people will accept.

It's not just the alcohol that gets the free uninhibited expression. It is the environment and the right processes that encourage increased consumption if your equation says free expression stems from consuming more alcohol.
 

PedroG

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I love that show, but haven't watched it in a long time.

It always amazed me how Jon would tell these people exactly how to fix their problems and yet many still decided to go back to the old way that wasn't working.

Because they were never in it to make it a success. They were in it to solve their own problems. They want everyone else to adjust to make their dream a reality, rather than figure out what OTHER people want and giving it to them.
 

cmor16

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Turns out the rescue didn't matter either, the bar eventually closed.
At least he didn't revert back to the golf theme.

One of my favourite early episodes is the Pirate bar. After the relaunch, I think it was less than a month before they reverted back to pirates. The mindset was clearly "I'd rather have a pirate bar, than a successful business."
 

JAJT

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Man, this guy is popping up everywhere right now.

He did a reddit AMA a few days ago, he was on the "School of Greatness" podcast (episode 613, fantastic podcast btw), and he has a book out called "Don't Bullshit Yourself" where he breaks down the common denominators of excuses and failure he's seen in every unsuccessful business he's seen. I actually picked up the book and can't wait to read it.

Something I learned on the podcast was this guy is a business machine. He owns like 12 different highly successful companies and works with very, very big players world-wide. He never even WANTED to get into television until someone told him he should try (and then got told no - which of course meant he had to do it, haha).

Honestly, I love Jon Taffer. His attitude is awesome. He's the kind of guy you want as a personal trainer or mentor - tells it straight and knows his shit and knows how to push you to success.
 

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