Latitudes Bar and Grill / Latitudes Island Bar & Grill - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

Latitudes Bar and Grill Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Latitude Bar and Grill in Denver, North Carolina.

Latitude Bar and Grill is owned by Patti and Steve Merkel.

They are a couple with some experience in owning businesses.

Steve bought the bar for Patti using the proceeds from his successful cookie making business.

However, he took his hands off the operations.

Their lack of knowledge, involvement and proper management has led to the bar's decline.

They brought in their son Travis to help but he is overworked.

He is also not given the authority to make necessary changes.

Jon surveys the bar in his command center with his experts.

They are expert mixologist Mia Mastroianni and expert chef Jen Murphy.

They are disappointed to see that the bar's interior and menu don't align with the Caribbean theme Patti and Steve intended.

Two local radio personalities are sent in as spies to test the service at the bar.

They cycle through drinks to order as there is no drinks menu.

When it is served the whiskey sour has to be remade but it is still bad.

The food they order is no better.

Jon decides to intervene with his experts and confronts Patti about the issues.

Mia discovers a mold-contaminated ice machine and shuts down the bar.

Jon holds Patti and Travis accountable for their lack of training and management.

Patti is visibly embarrassed and upset by Jon's criticism.

The next day, Jon meets with the owners and they acknowledge the problems with their staff.

Jon introduces them to Zip Recruiter to help find qualified employees.

The staff are not trained, have no recipes and no ingredients.

Patti has the resources and Steve that knows the importance of recipes.

Patti was a corporate trainer but has not trained her staff.

Jon brings in his experts and introduces them.

He also gives them their Partender report, which showed they lost almost 50% in revenue in drinks sales.

The experts work with the staff, with Mia providing training on drink preparation making a new cocktail.

The new cocktail is a corn pineapple margarita.

In the kitchen Jen takes through a Caribbean inspired pasta dish.

It is soon time for the stress test and the staff faces challenges and struggles to keep up with orders.

Travis is slammed with orders in the kitchens and gets flustered.

He has to be calmed down multiple times.

Jon advises Travis to prepare ahead of time to stay ahead of the rush.

One bartender, Amber, displays a poor attitude and eventually leaves during the service.

This puts a further strain on the understaffed team.

They are too behind to catch up so the test is shut down.

The next day, Mia continues training the staff on making a hibiscus-based cocktail.

Jon meets with the family to discuss their progress.

He expresses concern about Travis's commitment but is reassured that he is dedicated to helping the business succeed.

Patti and Steve also promise to support him.

Work begins on the bar and they spend the next day practicing all they learned.

By nightfall, the customers and the staff are gathered outside the bar for the reopening.

The exterior has been spruced up, with a small name change to Latitudes Island Bar & Grill.

They have rebranded it as an island bar and grill with clear call to actions so the theme is clearly visible and inviting.

The staff are taken inside and the bar finally has a caribbean/island vibe with lots of basket weaving and plants.

It is warm and inviting.

There are now 2 workstations with 2 POS systems, some Skytabs and a subscription to Partender.

There is a pathspot device, a Bluezone device for hygiene, new bar products and a new Manitowoc Ice machine.

In the kitchen there is a new hoodless frying system and chef’s jacket for Angie the cook.

On relaunch, customers are let in and they love the new ambience.

Their orders come in and the kitchen is calm making all the dishes.

The bar is making drinks correctly and quickly.

The room is served very quickly while Travis is managing rather than stuck in the kitchen.

The parents are doing much less and are proud Travis has something he can work with.

What Happened Next at Latitudes Bar and Grill / Latitudes Island Bar & Grill?

Some time later, revenue is up 25%.

Travis has stepped into his role.

Patti and Steve have been able to take time off and plan on taking a trip soon.

Latitudes Bar and Grill / Latitudes Island Bar & Grill is open.

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

This post was last updated in July 2023.

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