Where is Your Food Coming From?

Editor's Note: The following is one in a series of blogs provided by the experts who have worked incredibly hard to make Spike TV's "Bar Rescue" realityBar Rescue Insider program, starring Nightclub & Bar Media Group President Jon Taffer, such a success. The Bar Rescue Insider blog series will deliver tried-and-true tips and tricks to help bar owners, operators and managers solve common problems and increase their bottom line. Tune in to Nightclub.com every Wednesday for the next edition of Bar Rescue Insider!


The kitchens of some nightclub and bars seem to have disconnected from the rest of the hospitality industry. Where did all of the qualified culinary professionals go? The modern age instead is focusing on pre-packaged, pre-cooked, pre-portioned, pre-thought and pre-done foods. How did this happen?

In 1991, two blokes took over a local bar in Clerkenwell, England, hoping to modernize the “traditional” British pub concept, in which little emphasis was placed on food. The term “gastropub” thus was coined, referring to a bar that serves high-end beer and food without pretension. The “restaurant-within-a-bar” idea reinvigorated British dining and in the last decade has taken off in the United States. So how did bar owners and operators make so many strides in the right direction, only to find end up running their establishments on a massive “truck-to-table” scheme?

Why don’t we open fresh cases of romaine for a quality check as they come in the back door? Instead, we tear into cases of pre-washed, pre-portioned, pre-cut lettuce that costs sometimes double that of the fresh product.

Have we dumbed down our kitchen staff members, producing box openers rather than culinary professionals?

More and more of my clients look at larger or additional freezer space in their kitchens and storage areas. Although most kitchens require a freezer, needing space for sooooo much frozen food is ridiculous.

Instead of offering items on a menu just to fill space, let’s get a little more creative and come up with some true “signature” dishes! What’s wrong with making a dish that is totally and completely unique to your establishment? Nothing!


We owe it to our guests to serve foods that are creative, nutritious and exciting. Have fun with your menu! Excite your staff, utilize the brains and skills of the kitchen staff, and you will see a result! Your guests will thank you, your staff will thank you and your wallet will thank you, too!

Don’t get me wrong — I love my purveyors. I have had relationships both professional and personal with all of them; I still talk to some people I have not bought from in years. I don’t want you to give these guys the boot; I am simply stating that a line needs to be drawn somewhere.


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