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Reality Show Host Wants To Help Bars Survive COVID-19

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

First, people did without their favorite restaurants for a few weeks. Then it became a few months. Now, restaurants face month after month after month of business that is not normal.

NOEL KING, HOST:

As we're hearing elsewhere on today's show, some are profiting from their takeout business, but others are in trouble.

JON TAFFER: We're all bleeding to death. Every month, we're going to lose another 6% to 8% of our restaurants that are going to run out of the resources to move forward.

KING: Jon Taffer is best known as the harsh host of the reality show "Bar Rescue."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BAR RESCUE")

TAFFER: Your bar sucks.

INSKEEP: And we asked his advice on bars and restaurant survival.

TAFFER: We're worried about the fact that our capacity levels, of course, are cut down. Nobody is making money right now, or very few are making money right now.

INSKEEP: He says customers now play a big role, even if you can't stick around to eat.

TAFFER: Ordering a to-go meal, doing something to try to support these businesses. They're the lifeblood of our community. And whether it's a local salon or a local retailer, let's not let the virus take away Main Street.

KING: Taffer says if businesses hang on until there's a vaccine, they can start to recover.

TAFFER: And I expect restaurant capacity will be at about 50% of normal. And that, when you hear about any industry that is at 50% capacity of what the market used to handle and has an active, vibrant marketplace - that's boomtown.

INSKEEP: He says restaurants and bars do need to take steps to make sure that customers feel safe enough to return, so he is offering free classes on that.

TAFFER: Let's say you love hamburgers, and there's a great hamburger place. It's your go-to place. Post-pandemic, you go there for a burger and it's a little unclean, but the place that has your second-favorite burger is really clean, really organized, you trust it more, you're going to go eat your second-favorite hamburger. Trust has never calculated into the restaurant industry to the level that it will now.

KING: And in case you're curious, his pandemic drink of choice...

TAFFER: The past week has been spicy bloody marys - never before 6 p.m., though.

KING: Few hours until then, Jon. Just hang on.

(SOUNDBITE OF DINOSAUR JR.'S "ALMOST FARE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.