Bar Rescue - Champs Sports Pub - OPEN

Champs Sports Pub Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Champs Sports Bar in Burbank, California.

Champs Sports Bar is owned by former teacher Joe Handy.

In 1983, he cashed in his life Savings to open Champs, the first sports bar in Burbank, California.

Joe has been involved in sports and has coached teams so he thought he could own a sports bar.

At that time, there weren’t any other sports bars around.

For five years, the bar was packed and money was pouring in.

Helen says they were doing around $60,000 a month.

Two years ago, new corporate sports bars began emerging.

Since then, Champs sales have been on the decline.

Feeling overwhelmed by the dwindling business, Joe has checked out and lets his wife Helen run the books.

In an attempt to bring in customers, Joe and Helen have hired a group of rowdy, young bartenders.

The new bartenders quickly took over the place.

They’ll buy people drinks and give away free drinks as well.

Joe and Helen are only six months away from closing Champs for good.

Joe and Helen make a call for help to Bar Rescue.

Burbank California has a population of over 100,000 people, making an average of $67,000 per year.

Burbank caters to a young, hip entertainment industry crowd.

Jon has called in chef and restaurant owner Brian Hill to go into Champs undercover.

Champs is a 3,400-square-foot location with features a linear bar with one service station.

There are 14 beers on tap and a massive viewing station with TV-lined walls.

Brian enters Champs.

He asks the bartender for a drink list and orders a scotch with soda.

Brian orders a burger and nachos.

The nachos are not good as the cheese is sour and the chili tastes bad.

The burger tastes bad and Brian spits it out into a napkin.

The bartender is overpouring times four.

Jon tells Brain to leave and he goes inside the bar.

Jon asks to go in the office with Helen and Joe.

Jon explains what Bev Intel is.

The last three days, they gave away $1,640 in liquor, and sold $2,400.

Jon says they should’ve taken $4,000.

The next morning, Jon meets with the staff.

Jon calls out the bartenders for how they are overpouring.

They apologize to Joe and Helen.

Joe continues to make excuses for the way his bar is, understanding why his bartenders take a lot of his money.

One of the bartenders quits.

Jon brings in Tobin Ellis, who has 22-years’ experience with making cocktails.

Jon brings in Chef Brian again.

Tobin says that there is a lot of sanitation issues with the bar and the kitchen is filthy.

It’s obvious that Joe doesn’t really know who his workers are as people.

The staff doesn’t respect the owners and there is a lot of neglect.

Jon says that with good management, the employees would be fine.

Tobin begins testing the bartenders abilities to make good drinks.

The bartenders need a lot of training.

Jon meets with Joe and Helen to discuss the new concept.

He meets with his experts to solidify the new concept.

Jon wants to change the layout of this bar.

Right now, the TVs are on a wall, facing away from the bar.

He says they can make more money if the customers weren’t facing away for the majority of the time they spend in Champs.

Jon tells them he wants ballpark foods.

Tobin wants to create some drinks that will go along with the ballpark theme.

Chef Brian comes in the next morning with fresh supplies to make the foods on the new menu.

They make the new food items and let the staff try them out.

The staff loves the new food items.

Tobin meets with the bartenders to continue training.

He shows them the proper way to pour drinks.

They start to get the hang of pouring properly.

Tobin introduces new drinks including the Honey Badger.

Jon meets with the staff to show them how their inefficient bar is costing them money.

He puts down blue tape and whenever the bartenders cross the blue tape, they have to ring a bell.

Jon puts a dollar in a jar every time the bell is rung, to show them just how much money they are losing.

Jon tells Joe that he wants them to help out with whatever the bartenders need.

Champs opens up for the soft opening.

Right away, the bell is being rung many times.

Customers are waiting around 10 minutes just to order and another 15 minutes to get their drinks.

The bartenders are struggling to get a handle on the new drinks.

Joe isn’t helping out.

Customers are waiting too long for food.

The bartenders are beginning to run out of drinks.

They run out of Heineken.

After closing, Jon meets with the staff to discuss what went wrong tonight.

The next day, Jon takes Joe and Helen to go see how a successful bar is run.

Jon meets with the staff to show them their new bar.

They have kept the original name.

The bar looks incredible on the inside.

There is more room for food storage in the cooler now.

Jon moved the beer taps so it’ll be easier for the bartenders to move around and make drinks for customers.

Jon installed a system that will be like a trivia game for customers.

Jon says Friday’s makes millions a year from this alone.

The staff of Champs prepare the bar for reopening.

There is a huge crowd outside of Champs waiting to be let in.

Champs opens up for the first time since remodel.

On relaunch, the customers think this bar will be a lot more fun.

The new drinks are a hit with the customers.

The bartenders are pouring properly despite the number of customers.

The crowd loves the new stadium inspired menu and ticket times are great.

Joe is checking on the staff from time to time.

Jon shakes Joe’s hand and says that his work here is done.

Jon brings back Bev Intel to show them how their new management style has improved their sales.

Their original score was around 68%, now they are at 91%.


What Happened Next at Champs Sports Pub?

Champs Sports Pub is open.

Reviews are good with reports of reasonably priced drinks, a popular Happy Hour and good entertainment.


Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - The Chicken Bone

Next episode - The Canyon Inn / Canyon Saloon

This post was last updated in September 2021.

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