Bar Rescue - Paradise Cantina - OPEN

Bar Rescue Paradise Cantina

In this episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer visits Paradise Cantina in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Paradise Cantina is owned by Ron Pellegrino, a restaurant owner who bought it in 2018.

Jon has gone back to his hometown of Las Vegas to help the hospitality industry bounce back from their hardest challenge yet.

The bar was a popular spot and was successful, making $1.2m in his first year.

2020 was looking promising and he had plans to expand to two new locations in the same city until the restrictions hit.

Ron had to let his staff leave with the promise they had a job when it was all over.

Now he is in $700,000 debt, his life savings are gone and he is homeless staying in a hotel.

Now rules are lax, staff can drink behind the bar and Ron is too stressed to notice how much has slipped.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Derek Turner and expert chef Anthony Lamas.

They see the restaurant is close to UNLV, the state university and they have a good mix of casino workers, college students and tourists in the area.

Jon is worried Ron is blaming everything on the pandemic and there may be more problems than is being let on.

He has set up a command centre with more surveillance than usual to see what is going on at the bar.

The experts go in as spies and sit at the tables.

The bartenders are Ron’s best friend Jake, Melissa and Jared, Aviva is a server but training to be a bartender and chef Paco.

The experts are given paper menus instead of QR codes to limit contact.

They order a mojito but they are out of ingredients and order a watermelon margarita and Mai Tai.

A customer sends a drink back because it is too strong and it is recognised as a regular problem by the staff.

Ron recognises Derek and Anthony so Jon asks them to order everything on the menu to test multiple items.

The drinks ordered are not good as the sour mix is overpowering.

They all look so much alike even Aviva cannot tell the difference.

The food is not better as they use a mix for the avocado mix.

Ron is full of excuses so Jon comes in to taste the food himself.

Jon takes Ron to the side to talk to him and he is honest about the problems.

He tells him that his staff are not his family and he should not be so lenient with them.

Jon wants him to tell the staff how they are messing up but he says it is all his fault.

He is convinced the excesses would get him out of the hole.

Ron gets upset and talks to all of them on the feedback and how their over-pouring and drinking is ruining the business.

The staff clean the bar and go home.

Jon talks to Ron alone the next day and finds out he lost his home.

Jon shows him a report that shows over 60% was lost in drinks revenue and he overspent by over $100,000 that year.

His business failure is not due to the pandemic but his operations.

They talk to staff and the importance of the place in the community is highlighted before he shares the financial reports.

It is revealed that the staff all got paid but Ron lost money and lost his house.

Ron has never told his staff before that day to watch their pours.

Jon introduces his experts and training starts.

Derek trains the bar staff on pouring consistency while making a tropical sunset cocktail.

Mel and Jared then go head to head making the cocktail and she wins.

Anthony trains Paco and Ron on layering flavour with some chicken wings and pineapple salsa.

There is a stress test and Jon is giving customers poker chips and once the bartender fulfils an order they collect a chip.

But if the drinks are wrong they are to be dumped in a bucket.

There will be fewer customers but they will be ordering multiple drinks.

Customers are let in and service starts but the bartenders make mistakes and buckets are filling up.

In the kitchen, incomplete orders were sent out and correcting them backs them up.

There is a failure in the process as the tickets should have all the information if the orders.

Raw chicken was sent back to the kitchen to refire and some food is left in the kitchen and is sent out cold.

Jared is doing better than Melissa and the bar is shut down.

At the end of the night they calculate five full glasses of wasted liquor.

Jared has 25 chips and Melissa only has 11.

Jared is rewarded with pushing the button to turn on the MGM Bellagio fountains and the staff get to watch.

The next day renovations have started and training continues.

Derek trains the staff on more consistency and making a new cocktail from Island Oasis cocktail mixer.

Jon also comes in to train the staff on assertive selling to sell more at the bar.

The bar is renovated over 36 hours and the staff are gathered at night to unveil the new bar.

The name has been retained but the sign is now bolder and brighter.

Inside is cooler with shades of blues and lots of wood giving it a beach vibe.

Standard Restaurant Supply provided with kegarators for draft beer.

There are new soda gun holsters from Krowne and Bluezone have provided filters to remove pathogens from the air.

They have two Harbour Touch POS systems and a lifetime subscription to Partender for inventory.

They set up to open for the relaunch then the doors are open.

On relaunch, Ron is excited and the staff are confident while the kitchen is getting a head start on the tickets.

Melissa is doing a lot better and faster than she was on the stress test.

Jon is confident Ron has been left in a much better condition.



What Happened Next at Paradise Cantina?


Reviews are mostly positive after the show was filmed with customers loving the food, drinks, service and atmosphere.

Negative reviews are responded to and it looks like they value the feedback and are willing to continue to improve.

Rob said in an interview that the loans available only covered a few months of losses and he was desperate for help.

He also said that their first month after the show was a good month and similar profit to before the restrictions etc.

Click for more Bar Rescues

Next episode - Capo's Restaurant and Speakeasy

Previous episode - Armadillo Grill / Brenda's Inferno

This post was last updated in June 2021.

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