I admit I love certain reality tv shows, and Spike TV's Bar Rescue is one of them. Watching Jon Taffer yell at clueless bar owners who clearly never watched a single episode of the show is fun for me. They all seem to make similar mistakes, starting from buying a bar when they have no experience except that they've done some drinking, all the way to letting someone ride a horse into the bar. A horse. In a bar. That can't be good for business.
I like Taffer. He tells the truth, doesn't pull punches, and rewards hard work when he finds it. And he helps out people who are completely clueless, not only giving them the knowledge they need to move forward but also offering a fresh start with an amazing bar redesign and cool tech tools to help get them down that road to recovery much faster. The bars he rescues tend to be really interesting, the type of bar I'd want to go to in a year or two, or on the middle of a weekend afternoon, you know, when all the crowds of people who saw the bar on tv aren't there. Because even at a bar, I am antisocial. And I'm okay with that.
So when I found out that Taffer wrote a book, and I happened upon it for $1.99 on one of Amazon's daily deals, I knew I wanted to read it. Now I'm not going to say that I ripped right through it, couldn't put it down, made dioramas about it and all, but then, I don't own a bar. Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions (see, even the title says that it's all about business) was filled with interesting stories, mostly from bars he's rescued on his show, and a lot (I mean a LOT) of really good information for coming up with a winning concept for a bar, marketing it well, and running it with precision. If I were a bar owner, I'd carry this book with me like a Bible.
It was an interesting read for an occasional bar patron like myself. It should be required reading for those who own a bar or restaurant.