Ripper’s Rock House before Bar Rescue
Ripper’s Rock House in Akron, Ohio, opened its doors in 2013 courtesy of former Judas Priest frontman Tim “Ripper” Owens and businessman Micah Posten. Owens wanted a change of pace and be with his kids after spending many years in the music scene, while Posten always wanted to own a bar. The two banded together with Posten contributing $170,000 after running up his credit cards and liquidating retirement accounts. An agreement between the two gave Posten 60% ownership with the rest going to Owens.
The bar enjoyed massive success during its early months, with people from other corners of the globe visiting to see the Ripper himself. However, the good days didn’t last long as Posten realized that running a bar involved a lot of responsibilities. Owens tried to help by posting images of their food and drink on social media but that didn’t do much. As a last resort, Posten decided to slash the prices of the bar’s items to attract clientele. This made customers choose only the cheapest stuff on the menu and ignore the specials which of course did not bring profit to the bar.
Adding to the bar’s failing profits is that it was being pigeonholed as a heavy metal watering hole due to the dark interior, rock shows, and memorabilia on the walls. The place was not viewed as a good location to grab dinner, unless you’re into the music genre.
Now, Ripper’s Rock House bled $4,000 a month. Posten was on the threat of bankruptcy while Owens feared that, if the bar fails, he would lose credibility. With no other choice left on the table, the two decided to call for Jon Taffer and Bar Resue for help.
Ripper’s Rock House on Bar Rescue
For the recon, Taffer sent in Alexis, a former bartender of Ripper’s Rock House who left because she made zero income. She and her friends were served a cocktail that looked disgusting because of its mixture of colors. The chicken wings they were given were also not delectable. Taffer realized that Posten and Owens both didn’t have any experience in running a bar, and they also didn’t communicate well with each other. As Ripper’s Rock House was failing, the two didn’t know what to do to save their business.
The next day, Taffer brought in his experts namely Chef Pink and master bartender Phil Wills. Wills criticized the bartenders for using plastic cups instead of glassware which gave the bar a cheap image. He also pointed out the low-quality cocktails that were on the menu which did not fit the bar’s theme. In the kitchen, Chef Pink noticed that everything was caked in grease which made the entire room a fire hazard. The fridge was infested with mold and the cooking pans looked like they weren’t cleaned for decades. The burger patties were also improperly stored which made them inedible.
In another staff meeting, Taffer learned that Owens didn’t know his exact role in the business. The bar’s cook Jay also revealed that he had numerous great ideas for the kitchen but Posten didn’t take his suggestions seriously. Chef Pink introduced sauce recipes that would help usher in Owens’ dream of serving chicken wings that he tasted during his music tours. Wills taught the bartenders how to mix a properly-balanced cocktail so the colors and flavors won’t be muddled.
During the stress test, Wills watched over the bartenders and dumped their drinks whenever they made a bad mix. They made so many mistakes that they barely served anything to the customers. On the other hand, the chicken wings were well-received by the clientele and Taffer noted that the food was the asset of Ripper’s Rock House. Eventually, the bartenders were able to create good drinks which boosted their morale. Now that Taffer made the owners understand the bar’s strengths and weaknesses, he ordered to shut the stress test down.
After the test, the owners met with the staff members without Taffer. They realized their need to communicate properly and that they should have a united focus on the bar’s direction. The owners and employees displayed better confidence and enthusiasm when the Bar Rescue team returned the next day. For the bar’s new theme, Wills introduced cocktails made with martini like The Worldwide Headliner and the bourbon based The Akron Dream. Chef Pink created an upgraded version of the bar’s chicken wings with a new sauce and a boneless variation. Taffer sat with Owens and Posten to get the two on the same page and fortunately they agreed to work together for the bar’s sake.
After the renovation, Ripper’s Rock House was turned into Tim Owens’ Traveler’s Tavern. The façade was given a fresh batch of colors without changing anything else. Taffer explained that the name was changed to reflect Owens’ as himself and not the person onstage as a rockstar. The interior was given new furniture with wallpaper and stickers covering the walls. The stage was revamped with better lighting for enhanced visibility. Wooden additions on the walls made the bar cozier for the lunchtime folk. The bar area was given three new POS systems and higher bar stools to encourage eye contact between the bartenders and clientele.
Ripper’s Rock House Now in 2018 – The After ‘Bar Rescue’ Update
After the Bar Rescue makeover, Tim Owens’ Traveler’s Tavern received mixed reviews on Yelp. The food items were met with ambivalent reactions. Some praise went to the staff and the improved sound system.
Last January 2016, the bar lost $1,500 worth of booze as burglars broke into the establishment and stole 70 beer cases. Owens noted that the perpetrators could be regular patrons or former employees as they knew where the cooler was exactly located. After the theft, precautions were made to ensure that it won’t happen again. Owens had additional security cameras installed on the premises, along with razor wire fencing and a new batch of padlocks.
Around September 2016, the owners announced the bar’s impending closure. The reason was Owens focused more on his music career while Posten dedicated more time in his landscaping company. With the owners losing focus on the bar, they decided that it was better to close it down for good. Owens also insisted that Bar Rescue had nothing to do with the closure and that the show actually helped them get out of bankruptcy.
Tim Owens’ Traveler’s Tavern featured one last live music show on September 03, 2016 before shutting down.