Tuesday, January 31, 2023

R.G’s Lounge Update- What Happened After Bar Rescue

R.G’s Lounge before Bar Rescue

Nine years ago, identical twins Randy and Rick purchased the bar R.G’s. They had experience working there as bartenders and staff – since Rick was working a 9-5 factory job, Randy took on the responsibilities of manager. At first, the bar was successful since people were drawn to both of the men’s larger-than-life personalities, but the twins had a long history of competition. Despite the bar’s success, working side-by-side turned the twins’ once light-hearted jabs into below-the-belt blows. Their nephew, Tyler, feels that they do not get along well anymore. Randy admits that Rick is a prick since he pushes his buttons, but Rick feels that Randy talks him down. A bartender also dislikes it since the two of them get into it in front of customers, which drives them away. As the bar’s interior aged, so did they clientele – the staff is older, and the patrons are older as well. Now, R.G’s is losing $5,000 a month and the two are $139,000 in debt. The two of them even live across the street from each other, but they do not talk to each other. Tyler, the nephew and son, was actually the one who reached out to Jon Taffer.

R.G’s Lounge on Bar Rescue

Nine miles east of downtown Kansas City is Independence, Missouri, a suburb of 117,000 people, 56% of whom are aged between 25 and 44. Famous for being home to both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals, this makes Kansas City the 6th biggest sports city in the United States. R.G’s Lounge sits nearby, and Jon Taffer pulls up with a car full of experts. Tyler has joined Jon, and Celina Tio admits that the neon makes the bar look childish and neutral. Celina actually has years of experience working in Kansas City. Mia Mastroianni, the head bartender at Soho House out of West Hollywood, also agrees that the bar front looks dated and bad. Jon explains that Tyler has been his mole, and asks for more details – Tyler explains that they bought the bar together, and Randy has always been the manager. Rick bartends on Fridays and Saturdays, and the two brothers are not talking. Randy attributes the customers leaving due to Rick, although Rick is only present two days a week.

Jon explains that 60% of family businesses fail due to family issues, which then bleed into every aspect of the family. Tyler pulls up videos that he has taken from the bar, and Rick and Randy are spending their time fighting and trash-talking each other behind each other’s back. Patrons also admit that they have a lot of issues and fight it out in front of customers. Tyler explains that the two of them are attracting the old crowd, and even the patrons feel that it is a place for older people to hang out. Jon says that this is not a bar and is a sock hop, and Tyler admits that he does not bring his friends to the bar. Tyler also concedes that Randy is not a good manager. Ericka, a bartender, is at least 40 minutes late every single day to the bar. R.G’s Lounge is less than a mile from the baseball stadium and less than 5 miles from the football stadium. Jon sends in his spy, Rachel (who is from the Independence area) to perform some recon.

The (dated) front of the bar

Rachel enters the 3,600 square foot space featuring a horseshoe bar with only one service station and no POS system. Rachel has already been sitting there for a minute and has not been acknowledged at all by the bartending staff. More than seven minutes has passed, and Rachel has to flag Ericka down to order a fruity drink. In the drink is “vodka, red stuff, soda water, and a lime,” Ericka explains. Rachel tastes it and explains that it is too sweet, so Ericka instead gets her a beer with no foam on it. The beer is not cold, either. Rachel orders the french dip sandwich; Walt, the head cook, sets to work. Walt has no motivation for cleaning, and this is seen on the camera since he wipes his mouth and then wipes down the kitchen with it. Walt then thaws the meat in the microwave, although it is the wrong meat. Grease is building up on the tray that Walt uses to hold the bacon.

Rachel receives her food and the entire car is repulsed – the sandwich is soggy and disgusting. Rachel takes a bite and sends the rest of the meal away. One of the patrons continues to slam drinks down and can barely speak, and the experts in the car say that she needs to be cut off. The patron is loud and interrupting other bar guests. She is served another drink of alcohol. Jon storms in the bar and approaches Rick, then asks how drunk is the guest. Rick says that he should not have cut off the patron, but the patron becomes belligerent. Randy is oblivious to the entire thing, even though the patron walked right in front of Randy and was belligerent. The patron is made to leave the bar, but luckily, Jon calls a cab. Outside, the patron refuses to get in the cab and is pulled over by the police and arrested for public intoxication.

The next day, Jon calls the entire staff together for training and to gather some information. Randy and Rick admit to being irresponsible after being called out by their employees, and even Jon admits that he does not want to help but is only doing so because of Tyler. The staff feels that Randy is too hands-off and too concerned with fighting with Rick, and the older clientele is not helping to fix the growing debt that the two twin brothers have assumed. Even Walt, back in the kitchen, has low morale. Luckily, Jon brought his two experts to help work with the staff while Jon himself sits down with Rick and Randy.

Cook Walt and Jon Taffer arguing

Jon actually hires in new, younger staff to put pressure on the older staff. If the older staff cannot handle it, the younger staff will take their positions, but if the older staff can handle the pressure, then they will be allowed to keep their job since Jon intends to fully pack the bar. Mia sets to work with the bartending staff to teach them the new drinks, as well as seeing which of the staff is competent. In almost every case, the younger women out-perform the veteran workers. Celina works with Walt to teach him some new cooking tips, the new menu, and even sets to work totally cleaning the entire kitchen.

R.G’s Lounge Now in 2018- The After Bar Rescue Update

In December of 2016, it appears that R.G’s lounge has closed down and another bar has opened up in the same building. Interestingly enough, looking at the Yelp, there is a big red alert that claims that R.G’s Lounge has a “Poor Food Safety Score,” which can be attributed to Walt’s lackadaisical attitude. After the Bar Rescue, R.G’s Lounge was renamed to Barcode. The Bar Rescue was not enough to save the bar; it only had 4 reviews on Yelp with a 2 star rating across all 4 reviews, and even Facebook had a weak 3-star review across more than 45 reviews. Jon’s effort to pull a younger crowd into the bar were in vain; he even installed several video gaming stations inside the bar (equipped with PS3s and Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed Rivals) and attempted to create a younger, more hip atmosphere. Rick and Randy are no longer in the bar operating business.

Steven Kahn
King of the Bears, Shark Tank enthusiast, failed network engineer, sour cream enthusiast, Nanchaku instructor, Techman, Mega Man X fan, vaporizing know-how


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