Saturday, December 2, 2023

Rocks 2023 Update – What Happened After Bar Rescue

Rocks Before Bar Rescue

In 1996 Scott Terheggen retired from real estate and opened his own bar named Rocks in the Californian city of Laguna Niguel. Terheggen made good use of a loophole in the city wherein patrons can smoke inside the bar, and this advantage not only put Rocks above the competition but also ensured a good flow of income.

bar rescue rocks old
The old facade with a very small logo

Unfortunately in 2009 Rocks had to comply with the ban on smoking. To make matters worse another bar set up shop nearby and Terheggen’s rent increased. The establishment was in a state of neglect and was mostly empty during the day, and at night it was populated by customers who were actually friends of the bartenders. Despite being in an area that was populated mostly by college students, Rocks had a hard time attracting them.

As Rocks was clearly on the rocks Terheggen knew that he had to call for Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue before the fires in his establishment die out.

Rocks on Bar Rescue

Taffer and his daughter Samantha first performed their recon outside the bar. Samantha found the group of unsavory-looking guys hanging by the entrance to be intimidating. Also on the signage the bar’s logo was dwarfed by the words “cocktails and dancing” which can make people mistake it as the establishment’s actual name if they were passing by on a vehicle. As Samantha was a seasoned bartender herself she was sent in by Taffer to gain a customer’s perspective.

Samantha was greeted by the smell of old liquor hanging in the air and the sight of chipped wall corners and nasty carpeting. The DJ had a habit of playing a song then leaving the turntable so once the music was done an awkward silence lingered until the DJ decided to return to his duties. She also noticed that the bar was devoid of women around her age and older men dominated the place, some of them even had the gall to hit on her. To cap off her recon Samantha ordered a drink which was bland at best.

bar rescue rocks o dark thirtys
The O Dark Thirtys sign on the counter

Taffer entered the bar and met with Terheggen, and through this conversation he learned that the owner was mostly letting the staff run the place and only visited once or twice a week. Taffer was incensed not only at the blatant attitude problem of some of the staff but also at the sight of Terheggen’s brother-in-law Pete who was drunk and hugging the female patrons. Pete was removed from the bar after a heated confrontation with Taffer. The Bar Rescue host also mentioned the presence of the social club O Dark Thirtys which made the bar look unfriendly to outsiders.

The next day Taffer called for a staff meeting and showed them footage of the O Dark Thirtys partying in the bar. He then revealed the huge losses of booze that amount to thousands in a single night. To help correct the pouring problems of the employees Taffer brought in speed bartender Joseph Brooke. In his inspection of the bar area Brooke noticed how unkempt it was. The bartenders were a bit sloppy and the concoction they whipped up for him “tasted like divorce”. While Brooke worked with the bartenders Taffer told Terheggen to close the bar during the daytime and instead focus at night as Rocks was more profitable when the sun was down.

Two days before the relaunch Taffer had the bar’s logo painted off to eliminate its old identity. Taffer wanted to tailor Rocks into a high-energy nightclub with a strict dress code that prohibited gang jackets. He then called his second expert namely DJ Green Lantern to teach the bar’s DJ Tony a couple of tricks to ensure a killer beat. In the bar area Brooke taught the bartenders speed techniques to boost their serving time plus a handful of drinks that now comprise the bar’s cocktail menu. At night Taffer opened the doors for a stress test to determine if the employees can keep up to the pressure.

Customers poured in and the orders followed suit. The bartenders were the first to falter at the onslaught with shot glasses slipping from their hands, overpouring, and forgetting the new mixes. In terms of music DJ Tony failed to rouse even a single patron to the dance floor. Terheggen was oblivious to the bar’s chaos and Taffer had to remind him to do his job. After the soft opening Taffer revealed the new bar’s blueprint to Terheggen before proceeding with the renovation.

bar rescue rocks the power plant
The new facade

Two hours before the grand reopening Taffer revealed the bar’s new identity, changing it from Rocks to Power Plant. The bland and empty façade was now decked with velvet ropes and a new sign that makes the bar’s name clearly visible. The interior now hosted new furniture, new sound systems, and Taffer’s own invention named “butt funnel” which was a railing positioned by the dance floor to make patrons move sideways and encourage interaction and eye contact. The bar area was equipped with a new Turbo Tap system and the counter was swapped with a more durable material.

Terheggen welcomed the customers to his revamped bar and the staff were more than capable of handling the wave of young people, while outside the ban on gang jackets was enforced. As the bar was swamped with orders that outnumbered the available glassware DJ Tony made the save by firing up beats that encouraged waiting patrons to dance while waiting for drinks. The Power Plant was a hit with customers praising the drinks and the atmosphere.

Rocks Now in 2023 – The After Bar Rescue Update

Before appearing on Bar Rescue, Rocks was struggling to stay afloat. The bar was plagued with poor management, unprofessional staff behavior and lackluster customer service. The owner, Scott, despite his passion for the business, was finding it difficult to keep the bar profitable.

Enter Jon Taffer and his team, who identified the issues and implemented changes to turn Rocks around.

After the Bar Rescue intervention, Rocks saw a significant transformation. The entire bar was renovated with an elegant rock-themed interior design to match its name. The staff underwent rigorous professional training and the menu was revamped with new, exciting beverage options.

However, the journey of Rocks after Bar Rescue was not as smooth as one might expect. Despite a promising start with increased footfall and improved customer reviews, Rocks soon started facing problems again. Customers complained about the return of previously resolved issues such as poor service and high prices. This led to a decline in business again.

In an unexpected turn of events, Rocks reportedly closed down for a brief period in 2015 due to license issues. It then reopened under the same name but with new management. While some customers appreciated the changes made by the new team, others missed the old Rocks.

In 2016, Rocks was once again rebranded as “The Original Rocks.” Unfortunately, this rebranding didn’t lead to any substancial improvement. As of 2023, they are no longer in business.

If anything, the Rocks’ journey after Bar Rescue shows how a promising turnaround can be short-lived without consistent effort and management. While rescue interventions can provide a much-needed boost, maintaining that momentum requires dedication, effective leadership and continuous improvement.

Despite its ups and downs, the story of Rocks is an engaging tale of resilience in an unforgiving industry.

Anthony Coyle
Anthony Coyle
I write about anything and everything that catches my fancy, but mostly I try to provide the answers to the questions our readers ask every day. I'm also the guy who's always glued to an LCD screen of some sort.
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