Shibō - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

Bar Rescue Shibō

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Shibō in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Shibō is owned by brother and sister partners Johnathan and Gabriella Cruz.

They opened the Puerto Rican/Asian fusion restaurant in 2016.

Johnathan is the talented chef behind the meals and his sister and her husband are investors.

They started off successful and were patronised by locals and tourists.

Just before their 1st anniversary Hurricane Maria, a category 5 hurricane, devastated Puerto Rico and Shibō was impacted.

Seven months later they are still trying to rebuild the bar.

However, most neighbourhoods still don’t have electricity or running water.

Their restaurant has remained closed because they can’t afford to reopen it.

They have lost money and employees and now they need help.

Jon has planned a training location for the Shibō staff so he can taste Johnathan’s food.

He is joined by expert chef Anthony Lamas and expert mixologist Rob Floyd.

They decide to order one of everything on the menu to see how good it is.

They are served a sangria that’s more tropical in colour and they enjoy it.

They are next served a sushi fusion meal and Anthony is impressed with the combinations of flavour.

They have dumplings, lemonade, a chicken dish and they love all that comes out.

Gabriella is asked to explain a dish and she confidently does so, impressing Jon and his team with her knowledge.

The only fault they have is Johnathan didn’t come out to see them whilst they were eating.

Jon goes to the kitchen to call him out for a meeting.

Jon tells them the food and drinks were great.

Johnathan was able to pull a crowd to a temporary venue for dinner even though they had been closed for a while.

They tell Jon they were doing well before the hurricane but they just don’t have the funds to open up again.

They all go visit the Shibō site to see what they are working with.

The place is a mess with minimum damage from the hurricane.

It looks okay but needs to be deep cleaned.

They admit they ran out of inventory and funds to restock.

In the kitchen, food produce has gone bad and there was infestation of vermin.

From what he can see it seems like the equipment still works.

Jon decides to help them clean up, remodel and restock inventory to get them back on their feet.

The next day the place is cleaner and Jon calls the staff together for a meeting to find out about their financials.

They are about $150,000 in debt, including a bank loan in Gabriella and her husband’s name.

They reveal that they lost a family member and their income source in the same period.

To enhance Shibō, Jon introduces his experts to help take Johnathan to the next level.

They are going to have a stress test that evening so the staff training begins to get them ready.

Anthony gives Johnathan advice on delegating some of his duties to his staff so he can spend time visiting the front of house.

They make a dish in the kitchen together.

At the bar, Rob tells them their drinks were good but safe and they should try more edgy drinks.

For the stress test, they are challenged to serve drinks quickly and Johnathan has to come out to greet guests.

They open for the stress test and the bar quickly fills up.

The bartenders are making one drink at a time and make mistakes, so drinks are being dumped.

The food starts arriving at the tables before the drinks.

Maria, who is a server, jumps behind the bar to help make drinks.

Johnathan is told about the drinks situation and he comes to the front of house trying to get the staff to meet up but it is to no avail.

But he does get to meet with his guests and soon closes the restaurant.

The customers applauded him because they understand the challenge for them all.

Jon calls the staff together and gets their feedback on the night and Brian is singled out.

He says he has problems using two hands to make multiple drinks but he is willing to learn.

The next day, the staff training continues to get the staff ready for the relaunch.

The bar staff are trained on upgraded recipes on their best cocktails.

Special focus is placed on Brian who has to use both hands.

Jon sits with the siblings wanting to inspire them to be more like the owners than employees.

Jon pointed out that electricity had been back for 2 months.

If they had opened up earlier they would have captured all their competitor’s customers easily.

He gets Gabriella to promise to make sure Johnathan doesn’t hide in the kitchen anymore.

On relaunch night a new Shibō is revealed.

Apart from the branding on the outside Japanese lettering has been added, which translate to ‘We get up again’

Inside has been made warmer and more contemporary with new colours.

There is a Harbour Touch POS system, two workstations, lighting form Lamps Plus and new unifroms for staff and a jacket for Johnathan.

While renovating, Jon reveals they lost power for 6 hours and almost didn’t make the deadline.

He has provided a generator for their use going forward to avoid this happening again.

They open for relaunch and the bar is faster with Brian being more confident using both his hands!

On relaunch, the kitchen is doing great as well and Johnathan makes some time to greet guests.

The night is a success and Jon is proud of getting them back on their feet.

What Happened Next at Shibō?

Six weeks later, it is revealed that Shibō is now open 5 nights a week.

Business is slowly getting back to pre-hurricane level.

Shibō is open.

Reviews after the show are mostly positive with the odd complaint about service or food.

This post was last updated in March 2022.

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