JJ's Sports Bar & Grill / JJ'S Sports Cafe - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

JJ's Sports Bar & Grill Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits JJ’s Sports Bar and Grill in Highland, California.

JJ’s Sports Bar and Grill is owned by former bodyguard Joe and his wife Jackie.

They bought it with their life savings of 350,000 in 2017.

It was a success but they were impacted by the pandemic and have struggled to bounce back.

Joe turned to drinking with customers and staff and causing trouble with paying customers.

The staff and his family are fed up with his behaviour.

They are in debt and are only 2 months away from closing for good.

Jon meets up with Jackie to learn more about the situation.

He finds out they are in $175,000 in debt and are losing around $30,000 a month.

She tells him Jack changed after the pandemic hit, he drinks more and is aggressive.

Jackie joins Jon in the recon van and they see their son and manager Leo, bartenders Tamara and Izzy and kitchen manager Jess.

Jon has asked his friends TV presenters Maria and Keven, TV personalities and their two friends to do the recon.

Leo attends their table and Jon sees Joe have a second drink, while still wearing his gloves from the kitchen.

The table hates their drinks with one of them spitting it out and one of the other drinks was too sweet.

Joe wanders about the kitchen and bar and meets the table of Jon’s friends, insults the drinks and offers free tequila shots on the house.

Jon has seen enough and confronts him with Jackie.

Joe is in denial and blaming his wife for not training the bartenders or making the drinks.

After some raking over the coals Joe says he knows what needs to be changed.

He agrees to be breathalysed for the duration of Jon’s stay.

After Jon leaves he wants to go home because he is intoxicated and he disrespects his wife in front of everyone.

His sons tell him he needs to step up for the sake of the bar.

The next morning, Jon has a plan to tackle Joe and Jackie, who manages the front of house.

Calling the staff together, Joe outlines his duties and what Jackie does at the bar.

Jess says the job is depressing after 2 and a half years of working at it.

Leo says the business always goes home with them.

Jackie says she cannot control her staff because Joe frequently drinks and parties with them.

Jon says he will breathalyse Joe twice a day and does a test immediately.

It is zero and is some reassurance to Jackie that Joe is being sincere about promising to be better.

The experts are introduced, they are expert mixologist Phil Wills and expert chef Mike Ferraro.

Phil is training them on making a cocktail with less alcohol per volume.

In the kitchen, Mike teaches the owners and Jess to make a lettuce taco.

Both Jackie and Jess love it but Joe says the meal is not a good fit as guys will not go for it in a sports bar.

Just before the stress test Jon sits with the staff and he finds out about Joe’s resistance.

He insists he will make his tacos as well and they will see which does better.

The stress test commences and they are flooded with customers and orders at the bar and kitchen.

Many drinks are made incorrectly but Phil catches the errors.

Joe is slowing Jess down in the kitchen.

Soon customers are left waiting for cocktails as too few going out are made well.

Food is going out faster but the kitchen drops the ball with some soggy and oily tacos that Mike insists should be thrown away.

Jon has Joe and Jackie go round to apologise to customers and one buys Joe a drink, which he takes to the kitchen to dump in a sink.

Jon is happy with his growth and commends them on holding it up in the kitchen but they crash at the bar.

The night is over and Joe is happy he was able to demonstrate his dedication.

Jon meets with his experts and they decide to use signature cocktails and a spin on a Mexican hotdog to be their USP.

The next day, Phil trains them on making a new cocktail with a shot that drops into the drink.

Mike trains them on making a spicy hotdog.

Phil sits with the family and Joe who accepts that it is good to have something new on the menu.

He admits the drinking was a coping mechanism as he had a lot of stress to deal with.

The sons are happy with his progress so far and they feel more like a family again.

Jon asks his team to come in and do some work and at the end of the week they are gathered for the reopening.

Jon shows them the outside, that has a fresh paint job that makes the sign pop.

The bar has had a minor name change to JJ'S Sports Cafe

The family and staff are taken inside and they are all astounded.

The bar has been refreshed with warmer colours.

The bar workstations have been rearranged so it is better for the bartenders.

They have a new Skytab POS system, a Pathspot system and new tools and glassware from barproducts.com.

There is an Orange Door entertainment system, new video system and TVs and a lifetime subscription to Partender.

Jess has been given a new chef's jacket.

They spend some time getting ready before Joe and Jackie let people in.

The kitchen and bar are ready with Joe and Jackie holding the reigns.

On relaunch, the bar has doubled its serving time with customers already on second drinks.

The kitchen service time is down to just 6 minutes.

Jon is impressed and happy with the improvement and commitment they have made.

What Happened Next at JJ's Sports Bar & Grill / JJ'S Sports Cafe?

Six weeks later, sales are up 25% over the previous year.

Joe and Jackie have handed over the management to their sons.

Joe has stopped drinking at the bar.

He has brought back the old tacos.

JJ's Sports Bar & Grill is open.

They seem to switch between the original name and JJ'S Sports Cafe.

Reviews are mostly positive with some odd negative reviews on service.

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This post was last updated in May 2023.

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