Bar Rescue - The Airliner - OPEN

Bar Rescue The Airliner

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits The Airliner in Los Angeles, California.

The Airliner is owned by Luiz Quiroz who took over the bar after working his way up from a dishwasher.

He wanted to stand out and started as a Latin Jazz bar and made up to $60,000 a month.

But after the first year it died down and all genres of music was let in.

They were booking everything from Death Metal to Folk, Poetry, independent music and punk; just to pay the bills.

The kitchen is dirty and they run out of stock frequently.

Nadia was hired as a general manger.

Even with her 20 years of experience she can’t get Luiz to make the needed changes.

She ends up cleaning the bar daily.

They are losing $6,000 a month, are 6 months from closing completely and the bar is in serious disrepair.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Phil Wills and expert chef Michael Ferraro.

Phil recognises the bar as he was a frequent patron for the concerts.

He also reveals lots of famous people who have performed at the bar like Lauryn Hill, Prince and Common.

They love the outside of the building as it is vintage and historic.

They see the inside and it is empty.

They see Luiz and Jon fills them in on his situation.

They see Nadia the manager, Luiz the cook and Jorge the barback.

Jon has enlisted American Authors, a band of four musicians to test the service of the bar.

Nadia serves them when they come in and they don’t have a cocktail menu but she introduces their specials.

They order an old fashioned and a miss mary jane.

Nadia makes several mistakes in the recipe, not knowing how to use some of the tools.

They ask about the stage and she tells them it doesn’t get much use.

The drinks they have ordered taste horrible.

There is no philly cheese steak so they order nachos.

They are given a number and are expected to go collect their food from a window once the chef yells their order number.

In the kitchen, the fries in the frier make a very loud noise that they can hear from the bar.

The team are horrified and note it is a fire harzard and the cook is unsanitary and cutting corners while cooking the meal.

The spies go pick up their meal and can tell the cheese isn’t real.

It is very greasy and tastes awful.

They see Luiz sit at the bar all night just taking his drink.

Jon comes in and meets his spies and they give feedback to Nadia and Luiz.

Jon shows them the fryer with dirty oil, the grease caked surface and Nadia says she tries to clean but can’t do it all herself.

She also isn’t given money to buy new oil by Luiz.

It is a mess and American Authors said they don’t want to be anywhere near the venue.

Jon tasks them with cleaning the kitchen before the next day.

Nadia joins the staff to clean but Luiz abandons them.

The next day, Jon meets with staff to find out what is wrong with the bar.

Nadia and Samantha, Luiz’s daughter who works there 2 nights a week, help clean but are frustrated with Luiz not giving them support.

The staff also complain about inconsistent pay and their lifestyle and that their families have had to adjust.

They feel Luiz has checked out completely.

Jon brings in his experts and Phil takes the staff on making drinks quickly and consistently in plastic glasses.

He also helps them make batch cocktails to cover more orders faster.

In the kitchen, Michael trains the staff on making a dish from his restaurant.

For the stress test they are simulating a live performance night for the changes that happen at different points of the night.

The stress test starts and Luiz is off to a good start and pours well.

The first part of the night is serving all the patrons before the show starts.

Phil is confused by the food collection process and it looks like it might be a problem.

Jon points out it is problematic to the customers as it interrupts their experience.

In the second part, Jon has a live band come in and this gives the bar a break.

However, they should have still been trying to sell during the show.

Once it’s over, the avalanche of people overwhelm the bar and Nadia gets messy.

The customers complain of the food collection process.

Luiz is finding it hard using the POS as there is only one machine.

Jon sees that they can’t catch up and they have a lot to work on so shuts down the stress test.

Regrouping that evening, they resolve to change the process.

They need more hands as Nadia can’t be trapped behind the bar.

Jon meets with the staff the next day in a different location.

They resolve to get more bodies to help on relaunch night and sell during the show.

Jon takes some time with Luiz to snap him out of his funk.

Michael takes the kitchen staff through making a chicken buffalo meatball.

At the bar, Phil takes the bar staff through making some more cocktails.

On relaunch night, the new bar revealed.

The exterior hasn’t been changed too much.

There has been some restoration, a marquee and signage.

Inside has been modernised and has a whole new vibe with lighting systems on the stage and a small remote bar stage-side.

There are three Harbour Touch POS systems, lights from Lamps Plus and a lifetime subscription to Partender.

There is also a lifetime subscription to TVT for trainings.

American Authors are coming back to perform that night and 200 people are already waiting for the venue to be opened.

Nadia takes charge immediately to get ready for the relaunch.

On relaunch, the bar is ready and the orders are out to customers quickly.

The kitchen also gets busy almost immediately and they have staff run the food.

Soon the concert gets underway and patrons are eating and drinking while enjoying the concert.

Post show, even while busy they are able to serve the food and drink to customers without leaving them waiting.


What Happened Next at The Airliner?

Six weeks later it is revealed that Luiz is still hands-on at the bar.

The sales have increased by 10% and promoters are interested in booking the venue.

The Airliner is open but with new owners.

Reviews after the show were very mixed with complaints about the staff and compliments for the theme nights and bands.

Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Phish Heads / Phish Tales

Next episode - Blue Water

This post was last updated in June 2021.

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