You know him as the host of the highly popular TV show Bar Rescue, while those he's helped out over the years see him as nothing but a knight in shining armor.
Jon Taffer thought he had seen it all, then the pandemic struck. Taffer, along with Paramount+, is now returning to his hometown of Las Vegas to put in the necessary work needed to save legendary venues and long-standing family businesses feeling the effects of COVID-19 for over a year.
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Audacy hosts Stryker & Klein last spoke with Taffer exactly a year ago when they along with the rest of the world were "freaking out, for good reason." Now with multiple vaccines available and the steady reopening of businesses, there's definitely some light at the end of the long, dark tunnel.
"There is a lot of hope out there," Taffer says. "I'll tell you, I'm in Vegas. The strip was packed this weekend... and all California license plates."
Jon has made it his mission for eight full seasons on Bar Rescue to find problems and make right what owners and employees have been unable to over their years providing service. Throughout the pandemic, he has been what amounts to a service industry version of Dr. Anthony Fauci for those in the industry hoping to reopen.
It all comes down to trust of the brands and venues that make people feel at home and welcome upon arrival. A kind of post-prohibition, party atmosphere once restrictions are lifted could be forecast as well. "It's gonna be an amazing summer and fall," Taffer foresees.
"Think about this: Let's say nationally we lose about 38% of all restaurants and bars... but when we all come back this summer with 38% less bars, it becomes Boomtown. The bars and restaurants that toughed it out and made it through this can have an unbelievably successful few months. I sort of see it as a 'Roaring '20s.'"
A major question for those who are looking to get back out on the town revolves around pricing: Will there be more specials to entice visitors, or will the post-pandemic menus put a bigger dent in your wallet?
"It's probably getting more expensive," Taffer admits. "The reason why is everything is more expensive now. I mean meats, in some cases, are up 30%. So, how does a restaurant not charge more for a hamburger? The industry is gonna face a challenge as we're dealing with these supply-side price increases and availability... I hate to say it, but your vodka tonic is probably gonna cost you a little more."
Listen to the full interview with Jon Taffer and Stryker & Klein above, and don't miss season 8 of Bar Rescue, Sunday nights at 10PM ET/9PM CT on Paramount+.
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