O’Banion’s Bar and Grill Before Bar Rescue
In 2005, having just lost his job, Jerry Dalwrimple discovered his parents’ favorite bar, O’Banions, was for sale. Thanks to severance packages and a built-up savings, Jerry called up his buddy Steve, and Steve said that if the numbers were right, they would do it. Dave, Jerry’s brother, both went in at 40% ownership while Steve went in with 20% ownership.
Dave says that at first, it was a very cooperative effort and it was exciting and new – they had big plans. For the first 2 years, business boomed and they brought in $20,000 per month. Money rolled in, so Dave and Steve felt confident putting the managing responsibilities in Jerry’s hands.
However, Jerry was left unsupervised and his behavior took the party to extremes. He would aggravate coworkers and run off customers. Friday night was “drink on Jerry’s dime” night and patrons would just wait until he got so intoxicated on Saturday that he would buy everybody rounds.
One of the patrons said that he found himself getting random drinks from strangers and even staff. The three owners butted heads on how to save the bar, and ultimately, this led to Steve and Dave calling in Jon Taffer to help save the bar.
O’Banion’s Bar and Grill on Bar Rescue
Bellevue, Nebraska, is just a few miles south of Omaha and a stone’s throw from the Offutt Air Force Base; home to 22,000 airmen with an average of 23 years old. The base houses only one bar and restaurant, and still, O’banion’s misguided Irish theme fails to attract the military crowd. The scene opens with an intoxicated Jerry mocking the bartenders for not knowing which tab is which. Outside, Jon Taffer has pulled up with Steve and Dave to perform some reconnaissance on the bar.
Dave admits that they were struggling and have finally reached the point where if something does not change, they will not be in business anymore. Steve also explains that the bar started out well, but over time, Jerry has stopped listening to any input from any of his staff. It’s now Jerry’s way or the highway.
Dave explains that O’Banion’s was their parents’ favorite hangout since their father served 21 years. The investment cost $160,000 between the three of them – originally, their houses were put up as collateral for the loan for the bar, but they instead opted for cash. Jerry runs the bar; the three friends grew up together and having been friends for 30 years, things have finally gotten strained due to financial pressures.
The three only have seven months to save the bar before it will close down. Jon starts by explaining that one of the signs, the sign that faces the highway, is out. The only time O’Banion’s is profitable anymore is due to St. Patrick’s Day, and the Irish theme has been totally lost over time. Jon pulls up the surveillance camera to observe the happenings of the bar.
O’Banion’s is a 2,500 square foot bar with one speedwell, no POS systems, and an unused kitchen space. Jerry is nearly intoxicated as the three view from the car outside. Jon asks for information about the staff, and Steve explains that Michelle has been with them for six or seven years, and bartender Brittany is said to spend a lot of time texting on her food.
The other Brittany, has only been working at O’Banion’s for three months. Jerry is off partying while one of the customers is seen attempting to place an order for food. O’Banion’s used to serve food, but they no longer do; Jerry took it upon himself to sell all the restaurant equipment without consulting Dave or Steve. One of the customers is seen eating a Jimmy John’s sandwich, and Jon explains that when one customer eats, all the other customers will see the person eating and that one person then causes five others to leave.
They also have a fake Turbotap using rubber hoses, which is a breeding ground for bacteria – a real Turbotap would use stainless steel. Jerry is playing beer pong with the patrons of the bar, and Jon explains that Jerry is the loudest person in the bar. Steve and Dave do not see themselves succeeding with Jerry acting the way he is. Jon then explains that the two have 60% ownership, so they could easily take over the accounts and bills and oust Jerry. Jerry walks over to a table where a patron is stacking glasses and knocks it over himself, and he is clearly intoxicated.
Having seen enough, Jon takes the two men inside the bar and pulls Jerry aside. The three men lambast Jerry and call him a drunken fool and explain that they have talked about not drinking in the bar numerous times. Steve and Dave announce that they are taking over with a hostile takeover and demand Jerry’s keys and relieve him of his managerial duties temporarily. Jon takes his leave for the night.
The next day, Jon returns to the bar to have a meeting with the staff, Jerry included. He introduces himself to the staff and asks Jerry what he is doing. Bartender Brittany says that the entire situation was a circus, then Jon explains that Jerry is now a minority partner and Dave and Steve can fire him. The bartenders are all embarrassed with Jerry’s antics, but Jerry tries to defend himself by saying that he only receives excuses from why Dave and Steve are never there. If Jerry has one drink while Jon is here, then Jon will leave and Jerry loses his house.
Jon brings his two experts in; Trevor Frye, the mixologist expert with a knowledge of cocktails for the young crowd, is set to work with the bartending staff to elevate their skills and introduce some new cocktails. Jon takes the three men to the kitchen; when the bar closed last night, he sent his team in to install a brand new kitchen.
The kitchen has been entirely renovated, and Nick Liberato, the culinary expert, has been brought in to train the three men on how to perform kitchen duties. Nick starts with having the three men doing dishes; the three sinks have not been used in over a year. The grease trap is full of grease and bacteria.
nfortunately, the training takes an extra day to get started while the grease trap is scrubbed clean by a plumbing company – fortunately, the situation is salvageable and the training continues over the next few days without a hitch.
O’Banion’s Bar and Grill Now in 2024 – The After Bar Rescue Update
Before being featured on the show, O’Banion’s was a struggling establishment, grappling with various challenges. However, after their Bar Rescue exposure, things took an exciting turn for the better.
For one thing, O’Banion’s received a huge amount of exposure, which helped with their reputation, putting it on the radar of many patrons who previously had no idea about its existence. The show’s nationwide audience also meant that O’Banion’s story was shared far and wide, thereby contributing to an influx of new customers eager to experience the bar and grill’s offerings.
The transformation of O’Banion’s Bar and Grill was not just about reputation either; it also involved a complete overhaul of their operations. The intervention by the Bar Rescue team led to significant improvements in service delivery, menu offerings, and overall ambiance. As a result, customer satisfaction levels soared, translating to better reviews and word-of-mouth referrals.
Not only that but thanks to the show, O’Banion’s Bar and Grill also saw their profits go up. With enhanced efficiency in operations and a more appealing menu, the bar and grill began to draw in more revenue. The fact that they were now operating at a higher standard meant that they could attract a broader customer base willing to spend more on their services.
As of 2024, they are still in business in their original location.
If anything, appearing on Bar Rescue has been nothing short of a game-changer for O’Banion’s Bar and Grill. It not only boosted their visibility but also enhanced their operational efficiency and profitability. Today, O’Banion’s stands as a testament to what a little exposure and expert intervention can do for a business on the brink of collapse.