How Jon Taffer Transformed a Bar Using Chicken Wings

July 11, 2011

By now, you've heard about Jon Taffer, star of Bar Rescue (airing Sundays at 10/9c), and how he's nothing short of a miracle worker when it comes to transforming bars. Need more proof of his skills? Check out the inspiring story from the folks at Pelican Larry's of Naples, Florida, on how he transformed their business for the better.

After winning a free consultation with Jon Taffer at the Nightclub & Bar Trade Show in Las Vegas, Pelican Larry's owner Jon Clayton put three small changes to work in his bar, and saw amazing results! Check out his testimonial -- and learn a few things for your own small business -- below:

"We attended the Nightclub & Bar Trade Show in Vegas last March, and I signed up for Mr. Taffer’s seminar. So many ideas were thrown at us; I was blown away! Immediately upon our return we implemented one of his suggestions. We started offering a larger size of wine by the glass as a better value, and, low and behold, our wine sales increased by 30%. Moral of the story: Build value as opposed to slashing your prices.

A few weeks later, we were told that we had won a free one-hour phone conference with Mr. Taffer, and we jumped at the chance to spend some one-on-one time with him on the phone. At the end of the hour, my hand was cramping from all the notes!

We have recently started 3 additional programs that were suggested during our call, and we are seeing some amazing results. They are as follows:

1. To create more traffic flow and introduce new customers to the establishment, it was suggested that we partner with local charities and nonprofit organizations. The idea was to provide them with personalized business cards stating that, when presented at Pelican Larry’s, 10% of the proceeds of the visitors check will go directly to their cause. As a test, we teamed up with The Boys and Girls Club of Collier County and The Safe and Healthy Kids Coalition of Collier County, two fantastic organizations. A few days after dropping the cards off, we started seeing people presenting them during lunch, dinner and happy hour. Most of the traffic that we received were people that have never been in before -- and that is exactly what we were hoping for. Win/Win. We will be cutting two nice checks at the end of the month, and both organizations have said that they want to do it again in the very near future.

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2. Boneless Wings!!!! We are a casual place, and one of our specialties is chicken wings. In our 13 years, I can only guess how many wings have been ordered, as it’s one of our most popular items. Mr. Taffer asked if we had a good boneless wing, and our answer was no. He explained that we were missing a great opportunity to open up another cash producer. We added them almost immediately. We got our purveyors involved and came up with a great product and BAM! We added another revenue generator that is steadily rising in our product mix. We are shocked at how well they are doing.

3. Variety. Another tip that was given was to offer more variety on the menu. For years we have had two options for our wings; an order of 10, or 50. Mr. Taffer suggested we try something in the middle -- we settled on 24 -- and let the customer pick up to three flavors. “3 Hot Chicks” was born. We implemented this new item two days after our conversation, and we have since sold a boatload of them."

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