Ripper's Rock House is Being Ripped Apart

This year, over 6,500 failing bars nationwide will close their doors for good. If things don’t change soon, Ripper’s Rock House in Akron, Ohio will become just another statistic. For 9 years, local Akron boy Tim “Ripper” Owens led as frontman for legendary heavy metal band Judas Priest who sold over 45 million records, solidifying their place in heavy metal history. Tim toured the world as the lead singer from 1996 to 2003. In 2012, after many years on the road, Tim decided he needed a change of pace. After touring with Judas Priest, he toured with other bands and musicians but decided he wanted to spend more time with his children. He has limited his tour dates to roughly 100 shows per year.

Tim banded together with Michah Posten, a local businessman with a vision of opening a bar. Jumping at the opportunity, Micah made an initial investment of $170,000, liquidating 2 retirement accounts and running up 2 or 3 credit cards to do so. An agreement was made that gave Micah 60% ownership and Tim 40 percent. In July, 2013, Tim and Micah revealed Ripper’s Rock House to the Akron public, a 3,200 square-foot space with only 2 functioning service stations and a dining area adjacent to the stage. When the bar first opened it brought in $90,000 the first month and $90,000 the second month. People were coming in from all over the world to visit Ripper’s Rock House, due in large part to Tim’s name. Soon Micah realized that running a bar took more than a rock star’s name on the sign.

Desperate to turn a profit, Micah made a last ditch effort to save the business: he cut prices. Losing $4,000 a month, Tim and Micah were unable to agree on how to get the bar back on track. Now, after exhausting all their resources, Micah and Tim are 6 months away from pulling the plug on Ripper’s Rock House. If the bar fails and closes, Tim is danger of tarnishing his name. Because he tours on his name, this could lead to him losing gigs and endorsements and therefore his means of making money. In Micah’s case, the failure of the bar will bankrupt him. Tim and Micah have agreed to pull open the doors, bust open the books and make a call for help to Bar Rescue.

For the bar, Jon Taffer brings in Phil Wills, a master trainer specializing in speed and consistency. Phil’s ability to blend bold flavors and create balanced cocktails can propel any inexperienced bartender to the top of the charts. For the kitchen, Jon brings in Chef Pink, a culinary rock star with 15 years’ experience. Chef Pink’s use of fresh ingredients and her enthusiastic use of flavors can revitalize stale items on any bar’s menu.

The Sciences

  • Studies have shown that women prefer to not eat meat off of a bone, meaning that if you have wings on your menu, you should offer boneless variations.
  • Bars that have a stage should provide guests with high seating that everyone has a clear line of sight to performers.
  • With higher bar seating, the eyes of guests who are on their feet and those of guests who are seated are within 10 inches of one another. This leads to guests who are engaged with one another when the venue is packed.

The Relaunch

Rippers Rock House is now Tim Owens’ Traveler’s Tavern. Six weeks after the relaunch, the tavern grossed $113,423 in food and beverage. Tim and Micah are communicating better with one another and guests are willing to pay top dollar for the upgraded food items.

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

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