Bar Rescue - George and Dragon - OPEN

George and Dragon Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits the George and Dragon in Phoenix, Arizona.

George and Dragon is owned by an English man, David Wimberle.

He moved to Phoenix in 1995 and opened the English pub.

David had previous experience owning a pub in London.

When he moved, he opened the pub with his family including his mother.

His brother Tony is manager in the bar.

George and Dragon was the first English pub in Arizona.

It was an instant hit and successful for more than 8 years.

They had takings of $1.9 million in the first year.

He lost his mom in recent years, lost his drive and focused more on socializing than running the pub.

David drinks a lot on the job and plays poker with patrons.

The pub is now in serious disrepair as no renovations or modernizations have been made in many years.

They are losing $5,000 a month and are close to shutting due to their debt of $700,000.

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

They note the exterior of the bar is in disrepair.

It is not the only pub in the area anymore but still the only one owned by an Englishman.

The interior is old, dated and the bar is falling apart.

They see the owner hosting a poker tournament and down a pint of beer in a breath while asking for another.

They watch a video of Tony pleading for the rescue.

Kat and Jen are bartenders and they do not smile much for customers.

Jon has asked some locals to test the service at the bar.

John is a local radio personality and Jill is a comedienne.

Tony serves them and they order a special and a gin and tonic.

Jen pours about four different vodkas in a cocktail so it is too strong.

The gin and tonic is too weak because it was made and served in a pint glass.

They order fish and chips from the kitchen.

Tim is in the kitchen and fries chips in dirty oil in the grease caked and leaking fryer.

The food is too heavy and Jill cannot eat it.

All this goes on while David is drinking and gambling at the poker table.

His poker mates are all drinking water so there is no income is coming in from them.

Jon is fed up and goes in to confront David.

David says he is a big fan of poker and plays in the world series but Jon says it makes no sense for the business.

Jon takes him to the kitchen and shows him the filthy fryer.

David has excuses for this saying his staff told him it was cleaned daily.

They tell him the grime is from months of build up and David is not happy to hear the accusations and blames his staff.

David is upset and asks everyone to leave but he gets into action and joins his staff in cleaning the kitchen.

The next day Jon arrives for a staff meeting.

Tony is the manager but he does not do scheduling, the books or inventory, so he is basically a babysitter.

David is blamed for not setting his brother up to succeed and no one thinks he is an effective leader.

David is not protecting his mother’s legacy.

Jon introduces his experts and they give feedback on the staffs lack of consistency and training.

David is confronted again about how the place is failing because of him and he gets angry once more.

Phil trains the staff on proper pouring before training them on British style cocktails.

He is shocked at how much of the basics of bartending that they do not know.

In the kitchen Gavan trains Tim and the brothers on making a simple beer batter fish and chips.

For the stress test they have three coloured chips for anything that goes wrong and these are to be put into a container.

There is a red chip for bad service, a yellow chip for food errors and a green chip for a poorly made drink.

David is managing the bar for the night and is to help anywhere they are failing.

The doors are open and orders come in.

The bartenders make errors at the bar.

They are not counting properly, almost sending out bad drinks and moving too slowly.

As a result of the pressure of the stress test they get upset.

Chips are put in cold oil, which is bad so they have to be thrown away.

Food is left sitting on the counter for too long and has to be remade.

People are left waiting for drinks at the bar.

David is running food but does not know how to solve some of the problems.

Kat makes so many mistakes, does not take corrections and walks out on the service

David says Kat is nervous and it is not her fault but Jon is tired of the excuses.

David shuts the bar then calls for a meeting.

He gives Kat a talking to and tells her that if she is not better by Saturday he will let her go.

The next day, Jon meets with David and Tony and he talks to them about protecting standards and making it work for their mother.

David promises to change, to stop playing poker and drinking in the bar.

He says that he is excited about the business once again.

Jon has reports for the staff, they served 71 cocktails without even serving the whole room.

They got 11 white chips, 35 red chips and 32 green chips and he brands it as a terrible night.

Jon is considering everything on the renovation and rebranding and David and Tony hope the name will not be changed.

Phil trains the staff on variations of the gin and tonic.

Gavan trains the staff on a slider of a sample of their menu with starters, appetisers and a desert; a taste of Britain.

Renovations on the bar has started and in over 24 hours they have made the changes.

The staff are gathered at night to see their new pub.

The bar has kept the same name but the sign is bolder with a crest.

The exterior has more signs and the British flag to set it apart from other pubs.

Inside the pub has been brightened up and made warmer with the Wimberley crest on the walls.

There are new furnishings from East Coast Chair and Barstool, there are 150 seats and it is still cosy and warm.

There are snug nooks for privacy, three workstations with three 2touch POS systems and a lifetime subscription to TVT for training.

There is a memorial on a wall for David’s mom.

It is soon time for the relaunch and customers are let in.

On relaunch, the bar is doing better with Kat having improved the most.

She is making drinks accurately and interacting with guests well.

The food from the kitchen is great and the customers love it.

David is in his suit and is mixing with customers, being the perfect host.

Jon has a word with David before leaving.


What Happened Next at George and Dragon?

Six weeks later, the business is still booming with 50% increase in sales.

David is kept busy and is in daily at lunch and dinner times, like how it was when they first opened.

George and Dragon is open.

Reviews after the episode are mostly positive with the food receiving rave reviews.

Negative reviews seem to be due to issues with service and a long wait for service.


Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Freaki Tiki / Frankie T's

Next episode - Grinders / The Cajun Belle

This post was last updated in August 2021.

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