Bar Rescue - Cerealholic Cafe & Bar/The Loft Update - Open or Closed?

Cerealholic Cafe & Bar Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Cerealholic Cafe and Bar in Ybor City, Florida.

Cerealholic Cafe is owned by Lisa and Darryl Lawson.

They bought the bar in 2021 and it is based on breakfast cereals.

The theme is the 80’s and it is managed by their son Brandon.

Even the staff are confused by the menu that infuses sweet touches into normal food.

Brandon is frustrated with the direction of the cafe and bar.

He clashes with Lisa on it a lot and the family relationships are strained.

Jon is in his command centre with expert chef Ryan Scott.

They are puzzled by the cereal set up behind the bar rather than liquor bottles.

They are also confused by the bizarre mac and cheese being made in the kitchen.

To recon the bar Jon has two local radio presenters come in with two of their friends.

They sit down and there are stale corn chips on the table.

They order off the menu and aren’t impressed with the cocktails.

They taste stale and are too strong and sweet.

They order food and they are left to wait for ages.

The cook hasn’t started cooking because the ticket was thrown away by the manager.

Jon sees this confusion and comes into the restaurant.

He explains to the spies and Lisa what happened with the order and how the manager Grant threw the ticket away.

Jon tells Lisa and Darryl that he is confused by the direction of their bar.

He questions if it has been intentionally set up to lose money.

Darryl explains that Lisa was adamant about the concept.

Lisa tearfully says she will do whatever to make the business profitable, including changing the concept.

The next day, Jon meets with the family first.

Brandon is honest in his opinion and Jon agrees with him.

Jon explains the bar is cluttered with items that the young crowd of the area do not relate to.

Lisa is made to realise her concept and decisions have cost the family a lot of money.

She is asked to take a step back with running the place for the sake of the bar.

The staff are brought in for the meeting and Jon gets to know how long they have been there and what they do.

Jon shows them the Partender report and they lost $1153 over a weekend due to over pouring.

He calls out Grant for his lack of oversight as he should have noticed this.

Jon introduces his experts, expert mixologist Mia Mastroianni and expert chef Ryan Scott.

Mia is appalled by the drinks menu and takes the staff through making cocktails using fresh juices.

This is more in theme with Florida rather than the milk based cocktails they had previously.

Ryan takes the kitchen staff through making Chicken and Waffles.

Cook Tim and Brandon are pleased as they had been trying to get them on the menu for a long time.

Brandon lets the customers in for the Stress Test.

The staff hit the ground running with orders coming in but so far only water has been served.

Mistakes are made at the bar with the cocktails,

In the kitchen, hot food has been made but no one knows who it is supposed to be served to.

The ticket system is messed up and causing confusion.

The cook is doing great at making the dishes but food is not getting to the right tables.

Darryl and Ryan exchange words about the problems in the bar.

Jon is forced to shut down the bar as they cannot recover.

The next day, Mia takes the staff through making more cocktails with fresh juices that are more sweet.

Jon meets with the family and they decide Brandon will move to operations to get systems in place and grow the business.

The parents are encouraged to step back and let Brandon step up and take over.

Jon’s team work for hours on the renovations and the staff and family are gathered for the relaunch.

They unveil the new bar and it has been renamed to The Loft.

It has a redesigned entryway that is colourful and attractive.

Inside, the decor is modern, warm and classy without a rainbow in sight.

There are two Harbour touch POS terminals and new tablets.

There is a Pathspot device and a Jason Hullfish mural of a rooster with a cigar.

The family loves the changes that have been made and cannot wait to reopen.

Brandon and his mother let in the eagerly waiting customers.

On relaunch, the orders come in fast and Tim is on top of things,

The bartenders who are finally confident with Grant performing much better.

Brandon is leading and Lisa is helping out rather than leading the bar.


What Happened Next at Cerealholic Cafe & Bar / The Loft?

Six weeks later, it is revealed sales have gone up by 20%.

Things are getting better each day and the customers are still loving the space.

Brandon left the bar for another opportunity but Grant stepped into his role.

They kept the new name.

The Loft closed in August 2022.

They closed due to family issues that they needed to deal with.

Reviews were mostly positive after the show.

SpookEasy Lounge opened in its place in September 2022.


Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - JF Kicks

Next episode - AJ's on the River / Jerry's Dockside

This post was last updated in November 2022.

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