Jon Taffer is the Gordon Ramsay of bars, known by most of us as the one that yells, screams,
berates, and sometimes humiliates failing bar owners in the name of helping them rehabilitate
But just how did the host of Bar Rescue develop his unique style?
Here's a look at the untold truth of Jon Taffer.
The early years
On Bar Rescue, one thing Taffer is always on the lookout for is staffers who are skimming,
either out of the registers, by overpouring, or by offering free drinks.
And he told Vice that's for a good reason.
After dropping out of college at 24, he got a job at Barney's Beanery, and was immediately
pulled aside by a shady co-worker and told that the entire staff were colluding in a
scheme to steal $100 every night from the bar.
Rather than go along with it, though, Taffer immediately told the bar's owner, who fired
the rest of the staff and promoted Taffer to lead bartender.
He failed upwards
When it comes to bars failing, Taffer knows from personal experience just how easy it
is to lose a fortune.
In 2015, he told Business Insider that after ignoring advice from his friends, he lost
his entire life savings on his first business deal.
"I did the deal.
I got ripped off for $600,000 every dime I had.
And I've been very conscious about ever having a partner since."
In 2016, The Huffington Post ran an interview with Taffer that had some members of the bar
community up in arms.
The biggest problem?
His incorrect assertion that tequila and mezcal are related to mescaline and thus have hallucinogenic
Not only is this just wrong, but it's also wildly wrong, as mezcal and tequila come from
agave, which is a type of lily, while mescaline comes from a cactus.
It's not the only thing Taffer has said that drew the ire of other bartenders and bar owners
who question his skills and knowledge.
Hey, haters gonna hate especially when you're spreading fake news.
On Bar Rescue, Taffer is quick to call out owners and employees who create an uncomfortable
atmosphere for women.
Back in the day, though, Taffer apparently had a very different attitude, as he told
The New York Times in 2016 that he organized a competition in 1982 where women competed
to win a breast augmentation.The winners were required to give the bar before-and-after
bras that were then bronzed and hung over the men's room urinals.
Taffer tried to justify it by explaining that society used to allow people to get away with
all sorts of offensive behavior, while using offensive language himself to tell the paper,
"… it was a very different political time.
I mean, I did midget-tossing in Long Beach, California.
We would throw midgets.
So this was a different time.
I would never suggest doing anything like that today."
He created NFL Sunday Ticket
Just about any football fan will tell you that the NFL Sunday Ticket is the best idea
of all time, as it allows fans to watch their favorite teams play no matter where you live.
And strangely enough, fans can thank Taffer for the NFL Sunday Ticket.
Turns out, he developed the plan in the '90s while working with a company called ComSat,
which was looking for ideas on how to broaden sports programming in bars and restaurants.
"they took my work brought it to the NFL.. yeah..
They said 'this is really great let's do it ourselves.'
and I went on the board of NFL enterprises for three years."
A big part of Taffer's shtick on Bar Rescue is blowing a gasket and ranting at failing
bar owners and employees.
It's made him a minor pop culture icon he even appeared as himself in Showtime's Shameless
"Look at this fruit!
It's g------ disgusting.
Cocaine on your bar!"
But it turns out that this tough love is mostly for show.
On his official website, Taffer explains that the angry outbursts are meant as a motivational
tool to spur change at the bars he works with.
"It's not something I like to do, but when I do yell, it's deliberate.
When I get angry, it's with a purpose.
My purpose is to solve a problem, and I never lose sight of that."
Despite his focused rage, not every bar reacts positively.
In 2014, Taffer suggested to BroBible that about 20 percent of the bars he tries to rescue
end up going under anyway.
But he explained to Entrepreneur that he doesn't take those failures to heart.
"A big part is not to take things personally.
It's all business.
Projects and deals are not children or family.
[…] Businesses come and go.
Treat businesses non-emotionally."
"that's your future - BROKEN!!"
Overall, though, he thinks opening a bar in today's climate is a bad business decision.
Thanks to concerns like higher food, beverage, and labor costs, Taffer told Fox Business
in 2017 he wouldn't open a bar today.
"I got in the bar business in 1978 and owned my first one in 1989 and back then the music
was different, the level of violence was different.
I mean, people didn't even lock their front doors.
Today, there is a whole separate consideration when you go into this business."
Hall of Famer
Over the course of his career, Taffer has had plenty of failures and controversial mistakes.
But he's also well respected in some parts of the nightclub industry thanks to a track
record that includes working with some of the biggest names in music and comedy.
So it's no real surprise that Taffer was one of the first inductees into the Nightclub
Hall of Fame, which is a real thing that honors legends of the industry like Lil Jon.
Way to go, Jons!