Bar Rescue - Champagne's Cafe - OPEN

Champagne's Cafe Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Champagnes Cafe in Las Vegas Nevada.

Champagnes Cafe is owned by Greg Simms who bought the café in 2015.

He bought the bar with a loan from his mother.

The bar has a long history and prestigious patrons from the ratpack in the fifties to mobsters of the eighties.

Frank Cullota, a former mobster confirms all the mob associations of the bar.

Greg left the original decor in place even though it was dated.

He also neglected to train his staff so they just do what they want.

It leaked that the bar was going to be rescued and the locals and patrons do not feel great about it.

Greg is $150,000 in debt and has to ignore the naysayers to save his business.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Lisamarie Joyce.

They see the exterior of the bar and think that it is dark with birds on the awning.

He fills her in on the history of the bar and the backlash against them rescuing the bar.

Inside the bar, they notice it is like stepping back in time.

There are knickknacks in different corners that do not tie in with the theme.

The bar is dirty everywhere from the rug to the wallpaper.

Jon introduces the staff but two bartenders are not in that night so Autumn is the only bartender on duty.

Jon has some hospitality professionals Laurie and Ryan spy on the bar and test out the service.

They are attended to quickly and order a martini and a godfather.

Autumn is confused and Greg teaches her how to shake a drink in a shaker on the job.

The drinks come out bad and taste like pure gin.

They order a jack and coke and then a bees-knees but they do not have the ingredients to make it.

Jon has Lisamarie go in and order an old-fashioned but she is left waiting for a while before she is noticed.

Greg tells Autumn how to make it and walks her through but it comes out bad.

Lisamarie goes behind the bar and trains them on making it.

She stumbles when she does not have access to basic equipment including a spoon.

Greg said he has no need for the tools as he has made his drinks he same way for years.

The sign outside and on the menu say fine food but they only serve snacks.

Jon has seen enough and goes in to give them a bar spoon.

Jon is embarrassed at how Greg is running the bar in the city of hospitality.

Jon tells Greg he is not respected by his staff.

He also does not respect them in turn by not training them or giving them the tools to do their job.

He expects all the staff in the next day and asks Lisamarie to treat the customers to great drinks that night.

Jon comes in the next day and the two bartenders are there.

He walks in on them as they are speaking disrespectfully about Greg.

He finds out Greg has less than three months left to stay open.

Jon reminds the staff if they stay disrespectful, he will walk out of the bar and they will be out of a job in three months.

The staff admit they walked out the night before because they could get away with it.

Greg walks out because Jon is brutally honest.

The staff say he never gets angry and he needs to act more like an owner.

Jon introduces Lisamarie who starts training the staff and Greg on making some classic cocktails like the manhattan and the bees-knees.

She asks Candy to make a drink and she aces it.

Jon decides to assess the talents of the bartenders with six groups of five.

The bartenders have to cater to them at the same time and the patrons will judge which drink is best.

Autumn started slow and nervous, making mistakes and Candy gets the first point.

Next is a Manhattan, Candy makes a mistake in the ingredients while Autumn finishes first but Raleigh gets the point.

Last drink, Raleigh is last to finish and Autumn finally gets a point.

Greg can see them perform and use this info to make scheduling decisions.

At the end of the assessment Candy wins while Raleigh is second and Autumn a close third.

Jon sits with the staff and tries to get Greg to see the wallpapers are not as iconic as he thinks.

He tells him that Jon he needs to think like a businessman.

Lisamarie starts training them using classic bar tools like a crystal pitcher.

Greg is brought to make a Manhattan and he surprises her with his skill.

She trains them on making a vesper cocktail.

The bar is then renovated and the staff are gathered at night-time to reveal the bar.

Jon hasn’t changed the name but the exterior has been cleaned and brightened.

The sign now bears the open date to point out its long history.

Inside, the wallpaper has been restored and made the center-piece with the furnishes changed.

The original blue prints that had been missing for years are now framed on the walls.

Antique bar chairs have been reupholstered to fit into the space.

There is a picture spot with the logo visible.

They have been given a lifetime subscription to Partender for inventory and three workstations with three 2touch POS systems.

Greg’s mother stops by and is happy to see the bar’s changes.

With a pop of a bottle, Greg lets customers in for the relaunch.

On relaunch, the bartenders start confident but Autumn is nervous.

She starts crashing and drinks have to be dumped so Greg has to step in to help.

Frank Callotta recognises the blueprints and it gives him a reminder of his memories.


What Happened Next at Champagne's?

Six weeks later, it is revealed sales are up 45%.

The customers are loving the classic cocktails.

No one is upset with or has complained about the renovations made by Bar Rescue. #

Reviews are mostly positive about the bar.


Champagne's - 2020 Revisit

In 2020, Jon Taffer revisits Champagnes in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It was rescued in 2016 giving it a vintage theme and classic cocktails.

The bar had a great four years until the pandemic hit.

They shutdown twice and Greg Sims relied on unemployment benefits but the staff stayed loyal.

Greg worked hard after the first lockdown but had to take up ride sharing after the second shutdown.

After reopening the second time he stopped paying himself, instead prioritising the bills.

With Greg away ride sharing, the standards have dropped.

Inventory is a problem, debts are mounting and he still owes his mother.

Jon recons the bar with expert chef Jennifer Murphy and expert mixologist Phil Wills.

Jon gives them the lowdown on how he rescued the bar previously, the history and explains it is in danger of closing once again.

They notice some things have been changed back since the rescue like the old sign.

The experts go in to spy on the services while Jon goes to his command centre.

He sees the interior is still the same as it was when Jon upgraded it.

Greg is involved, waiting on guests and making drinks.

Phil and Jennifer order an Old Fashioned and a Bees Knees, while noticing the chipped wood bar top.

The bartenders are using one well and they are looking chaotic.

Greg makes the drinks and he almost makes several mistakes like putting caramel in a drink.

The drinks are acidic and there is lipstick on Jennifer’s glass that might not be hers.

Jen sends hers back for a new one but it is too strong and the inconsistency and cut corners show.

They do not have a food menu because they do not have the right things in place for a restaurant license.

Jon is intrigued by this and goes in to join them.

Greg reveals that he has lost over $55,000 within the year, increasing his debt because he kept borrowing and his mom is still not paid back.

Jon points out he has cheapened the bar and that the staff are not properly trained.

In the morning Jon comes in to meet with the staff and he addresses the fact that the standards have dropped.

There are t-shirts for sale at the bar and the staff are working in sweat shirts instead of uniforms Jon left them.

The staff say the year was tough with incomes halted due to the lockdown.

Jon shows them the partender report and they wasted $330 of liquor in a day.

Greg says it is his fault that he has been distracted and Jon says he will retrain Greg so he can train future hires.

Jon introduces his experts and Greg did not know there was no power in his kitchen which is a problem for Jon as he cannot put in an industrial oven.

Phil trains Greg on making some cocktails and it is up to Greg to train his staff which he does well.

The stress test is going to be just twelve people ordering multiple drinks and the kitchen will not be open.

The customers are let in and the bartenders are making mistakes and Greg is not watching them closely enough to correct their mistakes.

Phil is the one that is catching the mistakes and drinks are dumped because of the errors.

Customers are left waiting, the first customers to order have to watch others get theirs.

The bartenders use a towel to dry their glasses which is unhygienic.

Some customers have still not gotten their orders taken.

Chris uses a teaspoon to stir a cocktail instead of a barspoon which is wrong.

A customer notices cobwebs and dust hanging from the bar ceiling and dropping in their drinks.

The stress test is shutdown.

The next day, Phil makes a new cocktail with a smoke effect.

Chris is trained one-on-one with Phil as he was the weakest last night.

In the kitchen, Greg has brought a new hire Anthony as a cook and they are both trained on making a chipotle chicken panini.

Jon meets Greg and his mother to find out why Greg had stopped paying back his mother.

Greg says sales increased slowly but not enough profit was seen until the year before COVID.

Jon introduces Brad of Spirits on Bourbon that was rescued in 2013 who has had great success since appearing on the show.

They are making almost $10m and he is to share some marketing tips that helped him.

They sit down and Brad tells him to adapt as much as he can to get through the pandemic.

The bar is touched up overnight and the staff are gathered at night to unveil the bar.

The name is the same but the exterior has gotten a new paint job to make it more noticeable.

Inside, furnishings have been re-upholstered and updated with the same red.

There is a new soda gun jet system, two hand scanners from Pathspot and an air scrubber from Bluezone.

There are three new POS systems from Harbour Touch, Atmosphere TV for video marketing and Standard Restaurant Supply gave them a Panini Press.

They have a subscription to Partender and Jon leaves him with an advice to motivate staff with bonuses when they meet sales targets.

Customers are let in and Anthony is impressing, making great sandwiches having picked up the training quickly.

The bar is also doing great as the drinks are coming out made to perfection and Greg’s mother is present and happy with the service.

Jon is happy Champagnes is ready for the economy opening back up.

Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - The Gallopin' Goose

Next episode - The Wheel House Bar / Derby's Bar and Grill

This post was last updated in August 2021.

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