soul proprietor

I love watching those “fix my business” reality shows.  Kitchen Nightmares, Kitchen Impossible, Tabatha Takes Over….you name ‘em, I watch ‘em.  My favorite of the bunch is Bar Rescue.  Host Jon Taffer is passionate, super-creative and one smart dude.

When he comes in, he’s not just coming in to yell and puff up his own ego, he’s coming in with real bar science, tons of experience, and a well-researched plan that can get the hapless bar owners back on track.  When he comes in, the bar is raised – literally and figuratively.

Some of those rescues are jaw-dropping.  Not just the renovations but the training, the custom drinks, and in some cases, a complete rebranding right down to the name.

But a funny thing happens once the lights and cameras go away.  Some of the bar owners fail.

Whaaaa?  After a six figure makeover and getting yelled at by Taffer?


Even with his very best effort, some of these businesses fell apart once he left them to their own devices.  It’s even worse with the Kitchen Nightmares show where over 60% have closed despite world-renowned chef Gordon-Frigging-Ramsay coming in and kicking ass.

Sometimes it’s because the bar or restaurant was so deep in debt, nothing was going to save them except a complete financial bailout.  Other times, the owners are inept and probably not cut out for business, period.  But most of the time, it’s because the owners were too stubborn or lazy to implement what they’ve learned.

They go back to the old names, the old food, the old ways…all the shit that wasn’t working before.  Memo: if the old way didn’t work, why on earth are you doing it again?

I think some of these people get someone like Taffer or Ramsay in because they are hoping the publicity will jump-start their failing business. In other cases, they may be looking for a “magic bullet makeover” that will somehow start raking in big bucks without changing the fundamental problems of what is wrong with the business – or them.

In a recent episode, Jon Taffer revisited some of the places he transformed and it was shocking to see one of the bar owners talking smack about Bar Rescue.  This guy not only bit the hand that fed him, he went right back to the old bar name (Taffer had rebranded it) and started serving soup out of a can instead of the good bar fare menu that was created just for his demographic.  He was so stubborn that he refused to implement the changes…and then sat there, bitching about how poorly business was doing and trash-talking the Bar Rescue experience in the same breath.

They also revisited a bar in New Orleans which was a total contrast. These guys not only took what they learned from Bar Rescue – they ran with it and continue to improved on it.  Their business was booming!  And the best part: they were grateful for the help they got from Jon Taffer.

Here’s the moral of this story:  no mentor will make your business magically great if you do not do the work. No hired help, no class, and no mastermind will elevate you if you are stubbornly refusing to implement.  No person will give you the golden ticket if you don’t even bother to show up.

If you take a class, hire a mentor or get someone in to help you clean up your act, you, and only you will be responsible for your success or lack thereof.

Invest not just your money but your time and your effort.  Take what you learn and knock it out like you mean it.  Don’t be stubborn for the sake of your own pride.  Instead, make your mentor/teacher/coach proud.



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