The Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pennsylvania brings over 100,000 movie goers a year. Failing to attract the pre and post theater crowds is Plush. In 2003, Bruno Smoje got the financing to buy the bar by taking a $250,000 loan on his grandmother’s house. After opening Plush, Bruno hired his now ex-wife, Shari to help manage the bar. For a while, the two got along well in the workplace by working as a team.
Plush’s nightclub vibe took off immediately, bringing in $50,000 a week. All Smoje’s bills were paid within the first 10 days of the month. Eventually success of the business faded and the bar drove Shari and Bruno’s marriage apart. In 2013, the two filed for divorce. Shari was the personality of Plush and once she left, so did customers.
After Shari left the bar, Bruno struggled to manage the business. He was left with a careless staff, a dilapidated bar and $250,000 in debt. During the divorce settlement, Bruno owed Shari and their 10 year old daughter $65,000 which he has only been able to make $300 in payments total.
On the outside, Plush has no visual appeal; it’s dimly lit and completely unexciting. The lettering is also crooked on the signage; it is very uninviting all together.
Inside plush is even scarier. The employees consistently drink on the job, can’t handle pressure and are extremely rude to customers. There are no systems at Plush and the staff has no technique behind the bar.
The biggest problem Plush has is the owner, Bruno. He has excessive anger issues and does not manage the bar whatsoever. Bruno stays in the kitchen and ignores the problems out on the floor.
Taffer brings in Mia Mastroianni to teach the bar staff cocktail techniques and speed. Mastroianni put together a list of dessert cocktails to accommodate the post theater crowd.
Bruno was then told to manage rather than hiding away in the kitchen; therefore Taffer appointed an employee named Chris as cook. Chef Nick Liberato taught Chris the art of simple Italian dishes to compliment Bruno’s heritage and attract the theater crowd.
Liberato explained to Chris the culinary process of sweating. Sweating is the gentle heating of vegetables in oil or butter. The flavors of the vegetables are drawn out slowly and become concentrated which in turn intensifies the final flavor of the dish.
Taffer also brought back the personality of Plush, Bruno’s ex-wife, Shari. At first this did not go over so well with Bruno, but once he accepted that he was fighting for Plush to stay afloat and his daughter’s future, the two began to actually work together.
Taffer decided to turn Plush into his own translation of an Italian Bar, to compliment Bruno’s heritage. Plush was transformed into Osteria Calabria, ‘osteria’ meaning bar/tavern/pub and Calabria being the area in Italy which Bruno’s family comes from.
Plush was transformed into an inviting place where people will go before and after the theater. Six weeks after the relaunch, food and beverage sales have gone up 21%. Bruno has paid 7 months on the $65,000 owed to Shari and he has also started making payments on his grandmother’s house.