Rockabillies / Bar Retro - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

Rockabillies Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Rockabillies in Arvada, Colorado.

Rockabillies is owned by Virginia.

She bought the bar in 2018 after her children talked her into it.

Her children were involved initially but left her and her ex-husband Jim to run it alone.

He is running it to the ground, insisting on comped food and drink just because he brought in the funding to get the business.

They are losing $15,000 a month and they only have 6 months left before it will close.

They could lose their retirement funds if the bar closes.

Jon recons the bar with expert chef Jason Santos from a surveillance van.

They worry the name is too fifties themed and is too dated.

Jon tells Jason the bar is in about $250,000 of debt.

They are authentic to the 50’s theme and only allow 50’s music to be played.

The bartenders are Nicole and Amity and Will is the cook.

He went to Cordon Bleu to train but did not graduate.

Jon and Jason are impressed by the clean, organised kitchen and wonder if the food is any good.

Virginia has had breast cancer and had back surgery a few days before filming but is still working.

Ryan Everly and Marisa Duckworth are the spies sent in to recon the bar for Jon.

They watch Jim drink at the bar and the bartender has no cocktail list.

Jon sees the bar is also clean and the staff are competent so they believe the concept is the problem.

Jim is disruptive and Virginia does nothing about it.

Jon goes in to meet his spies to find out what they thought about the bar.

They say that the food and drinks are okay but there is nothing spectacular that would see them return.

Jon meets with Jim and he acts like he does not care about the bar closing.

He is aggressive and resistant to Jon, shouting over him and eventually chasing him away.

Jon promises to come back but only for Virginia and not for Jim.

Virginia tries her best to calm Jim down to no avail.

The next morning, Virginia tells the staff what happened and Jim comes in and starts drinking immediately.

Jon gathers the staff and commends Will on his work in the kitchen and the bartenders say they all get along well.

The staff say they need a manager to organise and coordinate them as it is frustrating.

Jon has a calculation of Jim's alcohol intake at the bar.

In the time he has been coming to the bar he has consumed up to $30,000 worth of product at the bar.

He also comped $800 worth of drinks to his friends.

Using Partender Jon tells them that they lost $200,000 over a year.

Jim disagrees with the numbers and he gets aggressive with Jon once again.

He finally agrees to not come in anymore since he is costing the business.

Jim refuses to be there just to support Virginia and leaves in the middle of the meeting.

Jon is glad to see the back of his and brings in his experts - mixologist Mia Mastroianni and chef Jason Santos.

Mia trains the staff on making a 50/50 Manhattan, which they love.

The bar staff have an opportunity to practise, ready for the stress test.

In the kitchen, Jason meets with Will and commends him on the cleanliness.

He asks him to make an Elvis Sandwich.

Jason suggests they make something different and unique with chicken wings.

For the stress test, they prepare and plan their process before they get to work.

Virginia is given the task of finding the next assistant from her front house staff that will help her out.

Virginia lets the customers in and they are slammed at the bar immediately.

They quickly fall behind at the bar.

Jon and Mia are shocked to find out they do handwritten tickets that they input in the POS machine and still work from the handwritten tickets.

In the kitchen, Will is working on one ticket at a time and they are falling behind.

The bar staff are using tools incorrectly and they are confused about some of the orders.

Jon can see the bartenders are struggling but they are not stressed and are laughing and smiling through it.

Mia thinks they are working on top of each other with the poor design of the bar.

In the kitchen the oven is not working fast enough to keep up with the orders.

Virginia is made to close for the night, inviting everyone back for the reopening.

The next day, Mia trains the bartenders on making a vodka gimlet and they love it.

Nicole is brought forward to practise and she does great.

Jason takes them through making a steak sandwich with fries.

The next day, Jon sits with Virginia to help her be more assertive in the workplace.

They have a good chat and Virginia is excited for the new bar.

A few days later, Jon has them all gathered outside for the unveiling of the new bar.

The bar has been renamed to Bar Retro with a new sign for the outside of the bar.

The concept has evolved from the 50s to the 60s and 70s.

Inside, the colours, wall papers and decor are in the 60s and 70s style.

They now have two Realworks stations, a Skytab POS system with portable tabs and a Pathspot system.

They have been given bartools from, a subscription to Partender and kitchen tools from Restaurant Supply.

Ink Monster created the new retro wall paper and Paramount Audio and Video set up the audio-visual system and an orange door entertainment system.

They quickly set up for the relaunch and open to the waiting public.

On relaunch, the orders come in quick but the bartenders are confident making drinks quickly, while Will and Jason are doing great in the kitchen with a working system.

Jon is happy Virginia can select anyone of her bartenders to be the leader as they are all good.

Jim was nowhere to be seen.

What Happened Next at Rockabillies / Bar Retro?

Six weeks later, it is revealed new customers have been loving the bar, leading to an increase in sales.

Virginia changed the name back but kept everything else

Jim returned but is more conscious of his drinking and tab.

Rockabillies is open.

Reviews are mostly positive with praise for the food, drinks and service.

Some of the decor had to be redone as the finish was poor.

This post was last updated in June 2023.

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