Jon Taffer Actually Hates Screaming At People

The red-faced host loudly and forcefully berating a hapless business owner and their staff is a staple of reality-TV restaurant and bar makeover shows like Jon Taffer's "Bar Rescue," but that approach does raise questions about whether aggressive posturing is an effective motivational tool.

According to some research, there may be an upside to yelling at people as a means of improving performance. A study published in 2019 in the Journal of Applied Psychology, done through the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, involved the halftime motivational speeches delivered by 50 high school and college basketball coaches. The study discovered that the more negative the halftime speech, the more the team outscored its opponent in the game's second half. However, if the speech got too negative, the team performed more poorly in the game's second half, showing that there is a point at which too much excoriation is counterproductive. Nonetheless, Professor Emeritus Barry Staw, a leader of the study, told Entrepreneur Magazine that while the study results shouldn't be used to justify behavior that is too egregious, going negative can improve the performance of a team, even in the business world.

As a counterpoint, a 2022 article in Harvard Business Review by business consultant Scott Edinger, while acknowledging that anger can be a productive component of business leadership, also cautions that yelling can cause people to become very defensive, or even to shut down. A better strategy, Ediginger suggests, is to calmly address issues and seek input from others involved in the problematic situation.

But what does Taffer himself think about the yelling?

Jon Taffer: 'When I do yell, it's deliberate'

In the world of TV makeover shows, it's hard to find anyone who raises their voice more often or more loudly than Jon Taffer, creator, and host of the Paramount Network hit "Bar Rescue." Typically, it's just minutes into the hour-long show when Taffer unloads at high volume on a bar owner or manager who's called in the noted hospitality expert for help in retooling a failing bar. Bartenders, chefs, and other staff also are frequent targets of Taffer's high-decibel haranguing. And it's not just the yelling that marks a Taffer visit to a failing bar. His reconnaissance of often-dirty bar kitchens includes punctuating verbal outbursts by dramatically sweeping dirty pots, pans, and outdated food onto the floor.

Taffer, though, insists he doesn't like to scream at bar owners, managers, or staff members, and in fact, gets tired of doing it. In a question-and-answer session at his website,, Taffer responds to a query about his screaming by saying it's a deliberate means of working toward solving a problem at the bar he's working to turn around. Taffer added that yelling caused him to lose his voice while shooting one "Bar Rescue" show, although not directly due to any anger he was expressing. Instead, he explained, the episode was shot on Bourbon Street in New Orleans during Halloween — almost as festive and loud as the city's famed Mardi Gras — and he had to yell to make himself heard over the crowd of revelers, to the point of damaging his voice.