Phish Heads / Phish Tales - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

Bar Rescue Phish Heads

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Phish Heads Bar and Grill in Lake city, Florida.

Phish Heads is owned by Phillip and Toni Crenshaw.

They bought the bar in 1999 and were one of the first to open in the area.

They were busy in the beginning and doing about $2m a year.

They decided to expand and spent over $250,000 remodelling the bar.

The owners could not keep up with the late nights at the bar.

They hired their son, James to be general manager in 2009.

He was straight out of college and the business suffered from his inexperience.

The staff don’t respect him because of his attitude and the pass his parents give him.

The bar is now losing $5000 a month and the owners do not want to fire their son.

Jon recons the bar with expert chef Aaron McCargo jr, and expert mixologist Mia Mastroianni.

They see the bar’s interior is dated and they are in a difficult market location.

He fills them in on the history of the bar and they are $250,000 in debt.

Amy and Kelly are bartenders, Destiny is a server and Chris is the kitchen manager.

They see James and the bartenders drink on the job.

Jon sends in a country DJ in the local area and his friend to test their services.

The bar has no specialty menu and they end up ordering an old fashioned.

In the kitchen, they see the outdated use of steak weights.

James gets into an argument with a server and his mother.

They see bartenders pour with a handle bottle which hinders accurate pours.

The spies hate the food and barely touch it, they say the only good thing was the beer.

The team are tired of the disrespect of James and Jon enters the bar.

Jon meets Toni and James and points out that he doesn’t look like a manager and no one respects him.

James reveals even though he has been at the bar for 9 years but he still can’t run it by himself.

Jon asks the parents why they tolerate him since their retirement is on the line.

James doesn’t know if he cares about his parents’ problems.

Jon decides to take James through bootcamp.

He stripped him of his manager title and made him barback for the stress test the next day.

Jon wants the owners to write down all the responsibilities expected from James.

The next day, Jon comes in and has a meeting with the staff to find out what they think the problem is.

James says the bar had been in a decline even before he came on board and he blames staff for most of the issues.

Other staff say he is the problem and he is disrespectful to them..

Jon brings a Bevinco report to check if the staff are giving away drinks.

They are doing well with only a little overpouring.

Jon also has a YTD report and they lost about $72,000 on food sales, high beer costs and a total loss of over $100,000 the previous year.

James’ parents finally reveal they don’t believe in him.

The owners and James are made to apologise to staff for the culture they have created at the workplace.

Jon brings in his experts.

Mia is pleased to have permission to put James through the ringer and she starts by having him run ice for their training.

Mia tells them why their handle bottle liquor is bad for their work and their need for a signature cocktail menu.

They learn how to make a margarita.

They have James clean up then each of them practice.

In the kitchen, Aaron takes the staff on how to make burgers without the use of steak weights.

For stress test, Jon gives the customers glowsticks.

At the end of the night, if they have had a good experience they give Toni their sticks.

For every stick taken away, that’s an unsatisfied customer.

The orders come in fast and James is needed immediately to find specific glasses.

The bar is slow and most of the room hasn’t been served.

In the kitchen there up to 12 tickets that have not been attended to.

They were dumped instead of added in a regular pace.

Toni also put an idle James to work tending to tables.

He is running around and helping where he can.

The service is slow and customers leave after waiting for about 45 minutes with no food or drinks.

Glass is broken at the bar and it is chaos.

It’s time to collect the glow sticks and they only get 3 sticks.

The bar is shut down and the staff regroups to discuss the evening.

James is praised and promoted back to manger.

Mia takes the bar staff through special cocktails to be served in coconut tiki mugs.

Aaron takes the kitchen through making a fish taco.

Jon meets with the owners to discuss their situation and help them get through to James.

They all finally get on the same page and James states his commitment to their future.

On relaunch night, James is back and is in a suit.

He is finally looking like a manager and future owner.

The bar has been renamed to Phish Tales, creating a future with respect to the past.

There are also call to actions letting customers know they have burgers, wings and are not limited to seafood.

Inside the bar has been given more colour against the warm background.

There is a new workstation and four Harbour touch POS terminals.

There are paper table tents but all the tents have different fish tales to entertain customers.

East Coast Chair and Barstool provided all table tops.

Dimension Designs did all walls and custom graphics.

They have a lifetime subscription to TVT for training.

All three owners go outside to invite the customers in.

The bartenders are struggling with the busy atmosphere.

The kitchen is doing great with low ticket times.

James is doing great expediting and running food and drinks.

The bar finally catches up and the night goes great.

Jon leaves them with a parting gift of a glow stick mounted on a frame he then signed and hung on the wall.

What Happened Next at Phish Heads?

Six weeks later, it is revealed sales are up 33%.

Phil and Toni are saving the profits for their retirement.

James is still dressing up for work.

They have kept the name Phish Tales.

Phish Tales is open.

Reviews are positive with many patrons enjoying the food and there are positive comments about staff.

Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - No Name Saloon

Next episode - The Airliner

This post was last updated in March 2022.

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