Paladino’s / Theory - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

Bar Rescue Paladino’s

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Paladino’s in Tarzana, California.

Paladino’s is owned by Johnathan and John, both cancer research workers, who bought the rock venue in 2012.

Johnathan is a biochemist and he frequented the bar in graduate school.

He seized the opportunity to buy the bar when it came up for sale.

The bar has history as a live venue and has hosted a number of famous bands.

The Foo Fighters once performed as one of their live acts and shot a music video at the bar.

When they bought the bar, they had no idea it was in trouble and they cannot seem to get new customers.

The bar is in disrepair and the staff are not trained properly.

The managerial work has been neglected and Mary a bartender helps them in the back office.

They are losing $4,000 a month and are $500,000 in debt.

John lost his wife while trying to make the bar work and he is overwhelmed with running it.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Rob Floyd and expert chef Jason Santos.

He fills them in on the history of the bar being open in the 1960’s.

He tells them how it was a country bar under a different name and how it had morphed into the bar it is today.

The exterior is confusing as the sign is too small.

The logo has a mermaid in a martini glass, making it look more like a strip joint.

Jon introduces the owners and their history and the bartenders Mary, Wolfie and Leah.

The kitchen is almost non-functional and Leah and Mary warm up store bought frozen pizza for a customer.

Concert promoter Julien Douglas and friend Phil are the spies sent in to try out the bar’s services.

They get in and order specialty cocktails but are told there are none, along with no draft beer.

They order a Manhattan and the bar staff go online to see the ingredients and recipe but they cannot make it.

Next, they order an old fashioned, which they strike out with as well.

The spies finally ask Wolfie to make whatever he would drink at the bar.

They are given a tequila and tabasco cocktail that’s way too sweet.

They order pizzas and are told there will be a forty-five-minute wait.

Several orders are waiting and they only have a small pizza oven.

The owners are in the back office trying to brainstorm new ideas for the bar.

In the kitchen, the pizza is ready but they cannot find who ordered it.

Soon a band takes the stage and perform to the half empty bar.

They are losing money with the live music as crowds aren’t drawn in.

Jon is exasperated by the owners still discussing art shows in the back and he goes in to meet them.

He sits with them in a corner and points out they have to consider choosing what they want to do.

They need to choose between making the place a cultural centre or protecting their retirement by making money.

Jon points out they need more current bands to get clients.

He gives them the feedback from the horrendous bar service.

The next day, Jon meets with the staff and commends Wolfie on not wearing sunglasses indoors for the staff meeting.

Jon gives them the feedback of the spies.

They do not have the basic ingredients while the owners are detached.

The owners have never made money from the bar and it is stressing them out.

Mary is now in debt and owed back salary even though she takes on the role of manager on top of her bartending duties.

She reveals that her family are constantly telling her to quit.

Jon introduces his experts to the staff and they get to work straight away.

Rob takes the staff on making a simple balanced tequila cocktail.

Then Wolfie is brought up to try making same and he does well.

In the kitchen they decide to call on Al to run their kitchen.

He along with John are trained in cooking fresh pizzas in their new turbo pizza oven and refrigerator, courtesy of Jon.

The plan is to sell slices for more profits.

For the stress test, the focus is the bar with the idea that live music should be an addition not the focus of the bar.

Johnathan will be focusing on the bar and John in the kitchen.

They open to customers and orders come in.

They get flustered by the numbers and drinks are dumped for not being balanced.

Pizza orders are muddled up as John doesn’t know the process.

John and Johnathan get confused about an order and spend time discussing if it went out.

Jon notices the cash bag is left out on the bar in view of the customers and Jon sneakily takes it to test them.

It takes a while for Mary to notice it is missing and he chastises her for her grave error.

Jon has the owners shut the bar as there are far too many errors that have taken place.

During feedback, Jon points out the owners spent way too much time analysing than managing.

If they open up the rest of the bar they would need additional staff and they in turn, would need training and monitoring.

Jon says they need a pizza warming oven to make serving slices easier for them while keeping the pies warm.

They also need a printer in the kitchen for orders.

Rob trains the bar staff on a new drink that is more scientific than most drinks, a butterfly pea flower tea.

It has a sensitive pH balance and a change in acidity would change the taste and colour of the drink.

Jon sits with the owners to tackle their non-payment of staff.

Mary is brought in and the owners apologise and pay her most of what they owe her.

Thirty hours later it is time for the relaunch and a new bar is revealed.

The bar has been renamed to Theory, a Vintage Parlour Bar.

The new branding is bold and visible from the street.

The inside the bar is brighter with pops of colour and a science theme in the logo and branding.

The old parlour feel is evident in the intimacy of the place.

Artworks Commercial Graphics did the wall graphics and Lamps Plus did the lighting.

The stage has a curtain to close it off when not in use.

They now have an Orange Door Entertainment System to have music even when they are not having any live sessions.

At the bar, they have a new bar top, glassware, draft system, fridge and four Harbour Touch POS systems.

For inventory they have a lifetime subscription to Partender.

They are happy with the upgrades and they let in the waiting guests for the relaunch.

On relaunch, the bartenders are more confident making the new Ultraviolet drinks.

The customers love the colour change that has been made at the bar.

The kitchen is on top of the pizza orders and the pizza warmers are a real saver.

Customers who returned are astounded at the turn around including the spies that visited.

John and Johnathan are contributing and helping rather than hiding in the back.

What Happened Next at Paladino’s / Theory?

Six weeks later, it is revealed that food sales are up 30%.

Mary has been paid up in full.

The owners are more involved in the day to day operations of the bar.

They have swapped between the two names a few times.

Theory closed in July 2018 after being sold to new owners.

Reviews after the show were mostly positive with some complaints including those on the cover charge on some evenings.

This post was last updated in March 2022.

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