Air Date: August 9, 2015
Season 4, Episode 30 – Put a Cork in It!
Location: Sunset Beach, California
Description: Pressure continues to build in Sunset Beach, when Jon Taffer and his experts challenge Rick Reich, owner of Brix, to focus less on being the center of attention and more on managing his finances and staff.
The Story
Jon Taffer and his team of experts head to Sunny California to rescue Brix, a wine bar located in Sunset Beach. Rick Reich, a former trucking business owner, opened Brix in 2005 when he moved him family from Washington to California. In its beginning years, Brix did very well, earning $1.2 million in their best month. However, with a lack of systems in place and no sales strategy, Rick is now in $180,000 worth of debt and loses roughly $4,000 a month. Investing all of his retirement and life savings into Brix, he needs to make a change and it needs to happen fast.
The Recon
Jon enlisted in the help of TV personality and wine enthusiast Maria Menounos and Kevin Undergaro to do recon at the bar. Maria and Kevin ask the bartender, Tina, for a wine suggestion and she suggests a red wine. When Maria asks for the price of the bottle, Tina is unable to answer. Tina was not the most knowledgeable when it came to answering questions about different wines, so she grabs Rick to have him explain instead. Maria is able to get Rick to open eight bottles of wine for her and her boyfriend to taste; eight bottles of wine is equivalent to 32 glass of wine and roughly $250. Maria then orders the pastrami sandwich, which is tasty but the flavors do not complement the wine well. Jon calculated that in 20 days $7,5000 worth of wine was being poured and only $3,000 was being made – therefore Rick was pouring away $4,000 worth of wine in 20 days.
The Stress Test
During the stress test, it is evident that Rick’s lack of leadership and assistance hinders the staff from performing their best. Samantha, one of the bartenders, is forced to leave her bar unattended when a guest asks for a beer because the beer taps are located in another section of the wine bar. Every time she leaves, it’s money and time lost. The kitchen is unexpectedly slow… only to realize the machine that generates food orders was unplugged. One the system was plugged back in, dozens of food orders came rushing through, backing up the kitchen. Rick performed very well under the stress test. He sold 12 bottles of wine with was two more than Jon asked him to sell.
The Rescue
Jon renamed the establishment Pacific Coast Wine Bar to give it a fresh start. The inside is redecorated to be more cohesive with the brand and ambiance of a wine bar. The bar tops are reupholstered in white leather to make the wine glasses “pop”. Jon also added two POS systems, to each room, from two touch and the systems connect to the kitchen making food orders easier to track. Additional beer taps were also added to the bar located in the wine room, so the bartenders will no longer have to leave the bar unattended to pour guests beer.
Four weeks later, Pacific Coast Wine Bar generated $63,514.80 in revenue and Rick implemented systems that have set up his staff for success. He is also more focused on his bottom line than being the center of attention.
Featured Cocktails
The PCH Spritzer
4 oz. Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
1½ oz Ginger Beer
Garnish with a lime wheel
The Berry Currant
4 0z. Acacia Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir
1 oz. Crème de Cassis
Garnish with a blackberry