Here's How Bar Rescue's Jon Taffer Knows A Bar Is No Good - Exclusive

It's safe to say that "Bar Rescue" host and author Jon Taffer has a spent a minute or two inside bars. In fact, he has spent much of his professional life in and around the bar and nightclub scene, helping resuscitate failing institutions (via Jon Taffer). Simply put, Taffer knows what a bar or nightclub needs to become a successful business — and he can tell when a bar is lacking those attributes in a matter of seconds. During a recent exclusive interview, Taffer told Mashed he merely needs to take a few steps into an establishment to create a comprehensive impression of the place.

"Within three steps. It takes me probably about eight or 10 seconds," Taffer says, speaking about how quickly he can analyze a bar or nightclub. "Think of what you see in eight or 10 seconds. I hear the music. I smell the environment. I look at the tabletops. I look at the back bar, I see the organization, I see cleanliness. I see who they chose as employees. I see how those employees are dressed. I see what's on the tabletop. How is the tabletop setup? I could find the positioning and I'll tell you probably the profitability of a bar within three or four steps into it every time."

That's true not only when Taffer is judging a place of which he approves, but also when the bar is a wreck.  

These are the signs of a bad bar, according to Jon Taffer

One of the things that bothers Taffer the most is when a bar's management can't be bothered to keep the place clean. And when you think about it, he's right — you wouldn't want to patronize a filthy restaurant, grocery store, or pharmacy, so why settle for it where you enjoy your drinks?

"One of the biggest [problems] is smell, cleanliness," says Taffer. "Cleanliness is something that results from discipline. Nobody likes to clean a bar. Nobody likes to clean bathrooms. Nobody likes to do those kind of things. When you see a lack of that, it's a lack of discipline. A lack of discipline in a bar business doesn't work. It's not a t-shirt shop ... Bars have wasted product, wasted food. If I don't sell it now that opportunity is gone forever ... so, the pressure to manage product and drive revenue consistently is a huge one. And operators that don't have that discipline to really understand their numbers and work their environment, their music, their video systems, all those things, a lack of discipline causes failure every time. And the first indicator of discipline is cleanliness and orderliness."

The worst bar Jon Taffer ever saw

While cleanliness may mean something different to a lot of people, we likely all draw the line at infestations. "Probably the worst bar I've ever stepped into is Headhunters in Austin, Texas. It was an episode I did with 'Bar Rescue.' We went in, I did recon with my wife who was wearing open toe shoes and cockroaches were walking across her foot. And we found that the place had a Class 5 infestation. I had to shut production down. I had to shut everything down, put it in a tent and fumigate the entire building before we could go back in." 

"And the owner's comment was, 'Well, there are bugs in Austin.' So that was acceptable to him. So that was just outrageous. And thousands and thousands of — I mean, when we fumigated this place, it was, I don't know, two inches deep in cockroaches." With an outlook like that, it sounds like they really needed Taffer's help.

You can catch the newest season of "Bar Rescue" on TV and Paramount Network's streaming platform now.