On tonight's episode of “Bar Rescue,” creator Jon Taffer went to a private club on this episode titled, “Critters and Quitters.”
Jon Taffer and his staff came to check out K.C.’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill in Shawnee, Kan. Smoking is not allowed in regular establishments there, so owner Bill turned it into a private club which made revenue soar. After years of a successful bar, Bill’s health declined. He had five heart attacks and a triple bypass and spending time recuperating; he promoted his longtime bartender, Liz to managing partner. Planning to retire, he decided to have Liz buy him out, rather than leaving it to his son Ryan, who works there part-time. However, Bill left the business on her shoulders as he started his retirement early and continued to drink heavily and urge his staff to over pour. Now with rowdy crowds in the bar, the place is in decline, and the current employees are chasing potential customers away. The party attitude of Bill is causing the place to lose $5,000 a month. So both Bill and Liz have called in Jon Taffer for help.
With a median income of $73,000 in Johnson County, it is $20,000 over the national average, but the condition of the place keeps those who can afford it, to go elsewhere. Jon called in expert mixologist Tony Devencenzi and culinary expert Tiffany Derry to ramp up the menu. As they watch from outside, they see how dismal the exterior looks and Jon explains that the place was grandfathered in to allow smoking in a state where smoking is banned. Jon believes that by allowing smoking, this could be an asset to bringing it back from oblivion.
Jon and his crew observe from the car, Shawna, a bartender drinking and smoking behind the bar is a health code violation. Jon sent in Angela & Paul, non-members, who are doing the recon for him. The bouncer would not let them in, but by not mentioning how to become a member, he lost two potential customers. Then Jon brought in Eric & Brandy, two members to do the recon for him. Brandy asked for a dirty martini, and it was truly dirty, as she reached in for the olive with her hands that she was smoking and handling money with. Then she made it in a pint glass with ice. They ordered food, and from the look of the kitchen, the grease in the fryer has not been changed in eons. The mozzarella sticks she bit into were impossible to chew, and she took one minute to chew one bite. The medium-rare hamburgers resembled hockey pucks. Shawna had such an attitude that she was flipping off customers. The coup de grace for Jon, was a raccoon crawling across the bar; he saw enough and jumped out of his car. There he met Shawna, who could barely stand up, but knew what was wrong with the management of the place. When Jon came in he ripped Bill a new one, as Bill kept his blasé attitude. Jon told him to clean up the raccoon poop and be sober when he returned the next day, or else.
The next day, Jon confronted the staff. He asked what would happen if the place closed up? Bill’s retirement would be gone, and Liz would lose her house. She has three kids and cannot afford to be homeless. Jon laid down the law; no drinking for the staff, including Bill and no smoking behind the bar. Jon addressed Ryan, and questioned his interest in the bar. He told him that if his father passed, she would get the bar. He said it was a mistake to him and his brother. Liz disagreed, but Ryan feels that something should be in place for his family. Bill stated that he did not buy this place for any of his kids. Bill then decided to turn it over to Liz. So Jon sat with Bill and Liz to see what the next steps would be. The promissory note states that Liz owes Bill $50,000 at 5% interest. The shares of the business were not properly endorsed, and if Bill died, his heirs could sue Liz for $50,000 plus interest because the note was valid. Liz is in a precarious situation, with no protection and only liability. Jon asked her how much she had in her savings account, and she told him tearfully, $48. So before Jon did anything to the bar, he was bringing in a lawyer to make everything proper.
Jon announced that the stress test was that night, and each member was contacted and asked to bring a guest that is not a member. Jon wants perspective from both members and non-members. Tony was training the bar staff, and Tiffany went to the kitchen to see Mike, and pointed out the disgusting fryer. Once it was cleaned, the food was done to her standards.
The stress test was not going so well, as people waited over half an hour for drinks. When food was ready, there were no runners and no table numbers. Adding to the disgrace, another raccoon showed up above the patrons and poop came down on them, their drink and their food. Gross!
Jon spoke with the staff after the stress test and told them they needed training. Shawna tried her best, and Liz needs help running the place. They will train all day tomorrow. After the staff left, Jon spoke to Tiffany and Tony about the demographics of the area. Tiffany suggested because it is members only, that they do a buffet.
The next day, the exterminators showed up, and safely removed the raccoons. The training proceeded, and the lawyer showed up with Jon to point out how erroneous the transaction actually was. Ryan had much to say and although Liz did intend to purchase the place, in the current condition, it was not feasible. Liz told Bill she was not going to purchase it, and he tore up the note. When she asked for the $10,000 back, he agreed. The lawyer drew up a separation agreement and Liz left the bar. The staff was in tears, but she could not handle the financial burden any longer. Ryan agreed to take over and promised everyone they would get through it together.
After the renovations were completed, the staff met outside of the refurbished entrance and new name; Johnson County Line, a Private Club. The interior was warm and inviting. The pool table was converted to a buffet for each night’s members. Jon gave them ten vacations for the member who brought in the most members eacj week for the next ten weeks.
They added a smoke-eater system to circulate the air properly and installed awesome drink systems. There was a smoking jacket for Bill to wear, and each staff member was professionally dressed, as they should be in such a nice place.
Two months later, Ryan is on track to take over the bar, and Liz is happily employed at a nearby bar. Johnson County Line brings in around 25 new members each month thanks to Jon and his staff at "Bar Rescue."