Pro's Sports Bar is on the Ropes

This year, 6,500 failing bars nationwide will close their doors for good. If things don’t change soon, Pro’s Sports Bar in Country Club Hills, Illinois will become just another statistic. In 2007, Tharon Bradley aka “Bradley” decided to fulfill a long-time dream by owning a bar in his hometown after working 25 years on the railroad. Pro’s took off immediately and for the first three months, the sports bar became a suburban hot spot. But the success was short lived and less than a year in the pressures of running the business  became too much for Bradley to handle. All the problems hit Bradley at once and he became sick, receiving a diagnosis of blood on the brain. While recovering from his illness, Bradley appointed a team of managers to help run the bar. But upon his return, Bradley was met with entitled managers who refused to respect his authority. Feeling he had lost control, Bradley began to micromanage his staff, frustrating them with his overbearing attitude. Now, a top heavy management structure and disrespect for the owner leaves Bradley two months from closing his doors for good. Before the power struggle destroys Pro’s Sports Bar, Bradley has agreed to pull back the doors, bust open the books and make the call for help to Bar Rescue.

Situated 30 miles outside of Chicago, Illinois sits Country Club Hills. With an average income of $65,000 - $12,000 more than the national average – and an average age of 41, the residents of Country Club Hills are a mature market with money to spend. Failing to attract the affluent sports of Country Club Hills is Pro’s Sports Bar. For the kitchen, Jon Taffer has enlisted the help of Chef Tiffany Derry. With Tiffany’s expertise at designing and implementing restaurant food programs, she is the perfect chef to build this bar’s kitchen from the ground up. For the bar, Jon brings in Lisa Marie Joyce, as TGI Friday’s 2013 Master Bar Trainer, Lisa Marie’s talent behind the bar makes her an expert at turning novice bartenders into skilled mixologists. For recon, Jon sent in Dan Katz and Dave Portnoy from Barstool Sports, a famous national sports website and community. Dan and Dave know Chicago sports and Chicago food, meaning they can provide a much needed local perspective on the failing bar. Jon’s friends enter Pro’s Sports Bar, a 5,000 square-foot space featuring a long, U-shaped bar, cluttered dining area and a spacious, unutilized kitchen. Unfortunately, the kitchen is also serving expired, moldy food with freezer burn while the bar is using filthy soda guns. Pro’s Sports Bar is losing almost $9,000 each month, accumulating a debt of around $1,000,000.

The Science

The whole point of management when dealing with production is speed. Cutting the time it takes to deliver drinks to guests by just 10 seconds can translate to an increase in sales of 10 to 15 percent.

Guests who are in their 40s don’t tend to eat in one venue and then move to another for drinks. Bars that serve food can attract this demographic easily and keep them in their venue for longer, increasing spend. An enticing food program supported by a successful cocktail program can turn this group into loyal guests.

Steak is not just a food, it can be an entire bar concept. Steak enjoys broad appeal, easy production, simple management and lends itself to support from a killer cocktail program. Additionally, it brings a high check price – meaning an increase in spend – and therefore a large profit contribution in dollars.

Staying with the beef theme, the browning of steak is called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction occurs when food is cooked at a high temperature, usually 300 degrees or higher. Amino acids and simple sugars within the food rearrange themselves into rings that reflect light in such a way as to give the meat a brown color. This process also produces the delicious flavors and aromas associated with baking, frying or roasting.

The Result

At first, the relaunch of Pro’s Sports Bar, now BR Steak Bar & Steakhouse, experienced a few hiccups. The kitchen and bar were almost immediately put into the weeds. However, manager Bobby stepped up and stepped into the fray, turning the relaunch around. Six weeks later, food and drink sales are up 20 percent.

To find out more about Bar Rescue episodes make sure to check out Spike TV

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