Fat Balls - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

Bar Rescue Fat Balls

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Fat Balls Sports Bar and Grill in Jacksonville, Florida.

Fat Balls Sports Bar and Grill is owned by Tony and Nagwa Azer.

They bought the bar in 2015.

The couple originally met in Egypt, married, and Tony brought her to America.

Tony expected to live the American Dream and they ended up with Fat Balls.

Their poor service and a bad name led to little to no foot traffic.

Miss Bonnie, a former manager, has no idea how the name relates to a sports bar.

Tony is inexperienced as a manager and tends to blame everyone but himself.

The staff is inexperienced, undertrained and lacks discipline.

Tony feels his attitude, tenacity and drive will let him successfully run any business.

Tony yells at his staff constantly.

The staff feel they are being blamed for the bar failing.

Krista, a bartender, says after two and a half years the place should be under control.

Tony blames his staff for the poor service and says he is stuck with them until he can find someone to replace them.

The business stress is taking a toll on the Azer’s marriage and Tony says this is not the life he wants to give her.

The bar is losing $10,000 a month and they are now $50,000 in debt.

Jon arrives with chef Jason Santos and bar expert Emily DeLissie.

Jon asks the experts that as the owners chose Fat Balls as their name and brand, would they expect them to make any other business decisions right?

Jason replies fat chance and Emily says she wouldn’t even go into the bar, based on the name alone.

The lights around the bar’s exterior windows make it look like strip club.

Jon is impressed with the size of the bar its kitchen.

There is good table seating as well as booths but the bar is literally empty of customers.

The bar staff include bartenders Kristen and Asia and servers Precious and Lexi.

In the kitchen are cooks Eric and John, who Jon points out is wearing headphones.

The staff are playing pool and putting on make-up as the bar sits empty.

Jon says it seems like a normal night to them.

Tony accuses his staff of not caring but Jon questions if he does.

Jon also has no idea how to evaluate a bar with no customers to observe.

Jon decides to go in and order food and drinks for ten people and put the staff to work.

He even threatens to fire everybody.

Jon enters to shocked silence and sarcastically says he’s glad he didn’t need a reservation.

Kristen sees Jon and hopes he can fix the things that need to be fixed.

Jon orders ten cocktails from the menu.

He asks Tony how they will do and Tony says he doubts they will get the drinks right.

When Jon asks why Tony says they are undertrained.

Jon asks whose fault that is and Tony says he has too much other things going on to train them.

Jon mimes playing a sad violin, then orders ten different meals.

Among the dishes is one called a Blue Balls Burger, which Jon feels no woman will ever order.

The drinks are served and Jon and Nagwa taste them and declare eight of the ten to be awful.

Meanwhile, the three cooks are struggling just to assign work.

Tony says you have to hold people accountable and Jon says he is holding Tony accountable.

He says he doesn’t want to micromanage.

Jon gets him to admit what he is doing now isn’t working and Jon tells him to manage his bar.

The staff start bringing out food items one at a time and Jon says he wants them all at once.

One of the chefs says he’s not going to rush when there’s that big an order.

Jon waits twenty-five and points out people can wait an hour for food.

When Jon shouts “Where’s my food?” at the cooks and John responds with “Be patient.”

Jon tells Tony to fire the cook and has to press him but he does fire the man.

John feels he was in the right and that he was disrespected.

Jon goes into the kitchen to see what is happening behind the scenes.

Many of the meals are overcooked, meat is sitting on ice at unsafe temperatures. Jon tosses the prepared food on the floor.

Then, he rips into Tony for walking by problems and not fixing them.

He says Tony doesn’t have the respect of anyone in the building and expects everyone else to do things he doesn’t take responsibility for.

Jon calls Tony the epitome of failure and calls him lazy and tells him to clean the dumped food up himself.

Eric the chef says it was good to see someone else yell at Tony instead.

Jon tells Nagwa her husband has to fight for this.

Tony feels it went worse than he expected and that the staff should be held accountable for their failings.

Tony starts cleaning the bar himself, to the shock of the staff.

Jon says Tony doesn’t clean, doesn’t train staff, and wonders why he’s failing.

Today, Jon plans to teach him why and gathers the staff, as well as the Azers, to ask people why they think the bar is failing.

The answers include service, organization, the drinks, lack of training, delays in food and frustrated customers.

Jon also brings up the online reviews of the bar and they are all bad.

Jon brings in former manager Bonnie.

Bonnie worked there for two and a half years and says the failings start with the owner.

The staff say Bonnie was hard to deal with but she was a real manager.

Tony says he’s lost the drive and hunger he had when he started.

Jon says he’s in debt and has two young kids at home.

Jon says Tony is full of ****.

Tony says he’ll own up to his failings but continues to angrily attack and blame the staff.

Jon says he needs to use his anger to motivate himself.

Jon brings Emily and Jason back in and says it doesn’t need to be hard, it needs to be smart.

Emily trains the bar staff in making less syrupy drinks and how to properly shake a cocktail.

She teaches them to make a drink called a Hurricane.

Jason teaches the kitchen to make some new seafood dishes.

For stress test, Jon wants all bad drinks dumped in a bucket.

The bartenders don’t know how to stage and the cooks don’t either.

The drink and food orders pile up and after just 15 minutes Jon says they’ve lost it.

Most people don’t have drinks and no one has food.

Emily dumps more bad drinks than make it to tables.

Food and drinks are both being sent back by customers.

The kitchen is a nightmare with a severe lack of organisation and the staff are disheartened.

The food is so bad Nagwa eventually refuses to serve it.

With only 40 customers they can’t get one table right.

As the stress test is so bad Jon shuts it down.

Jon and the experts meet to plan and Jon tells them that the median household income in the area is below the national average.

They need a concept that is relatable to a diversified audience, provides value and is simple to execute.

Jon comes up with a New Orleans theme and Emily teaches the bar staff a Sazerac, the signature drink of New Orleans.

Jason teaches the cooks new dishes to meet the theme.

Jon goes the Azer’s home to talk to the couple there.

Tony admits what Jon did the first night was necessary to wake him up.

Jon says the kitchen needs management and Tony will have to lead them.

Tony finally realizes it’s all up to him and Jon tells them they have to be there for each other.

At the relaunch, Jon says Tony lost his fire, but he cares again now.

The bar has been given a new name, The Bayou.

Inside, the look is more modern and classier with TVs on the walls.

The bar looks better and the pool tables have been replaced.

A draft wine system is in place and the beer taps now have flow meters.

There are new POS stations and Jon gives Tony a lifestyle subscription to Jon’s only virtual training platform.

There is even a DJ booth for nighttime parties and the lighting changes as well.

The staff step up. Jon says Fat Balls had no identity, The Bayou does.

Tony is managing and Eric is handling the kitchen well.

Tony is complementing his staff and is not yelling.

The Sazeracs are very popular and a customer says he will leave a five-star review and will be coming back.

The Azers thank Jon and Tony says things are perfect now.

At the end, Jon says the Azers can now have a chance to live the American Dream.

What Happened Next at Fat Balls ?

Six weeks later, Tony hired a new GM and more kitchen staff.

Tony and the staff continue to put Jon’s training into action and make the bar a success.

They didn't keep the name The Bayou and reverted back to Fat Balls shortly after filming.

Tony changed the name back as people thought the bar had closed and his sales declined.

Fat Balls closed in May 2019 and was sold to new owners.

Reviews were more positive after Jon transformed the bar.

Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Blue Water

Next episode - The Wanted Saloon

This post was last updated in March 2022.

1 comment:

  1. I like Tony’s wife. Tony has issues with humility. He likes to point fingers. Even Jon Taffer couldn’t help him. So sad.


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