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John Taffer – businessman prepared and tuned in to the natural ebb and flow of the economy. However, like many, he could not have foreseen a two-year pandemic that would have been a disaster for establishments across the country, especially the restaurant industry.
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Taffer is not embarrassed by this, and he does not want small business owners to be disappointed.
The ‘Bar Rescue’ star spoke to FOX Business where he explained his laid-back mindset among opening of his third Taffer Tavern Franchise in a post-pandemic world.
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“Starting a small business is harder than ever,” he said. “We have labor problems, supply side problems. The market is very noisy due to competitive marketing and promotional activities.”
SMALL BUSINESS FACING THE HEADWIND OF INFLATION FINDS NEW WAYS TO CONTINUOUS SUPPLY
“Today, in today’s bustling world, it is difficult to build a brand,” Tuffer added, noting that, in his opinion, “franchising is the best option for young entrepreneurs.”
“You get an offer through a franchise. You get all operating systems, training and procedures. All surprises are eliminated in the franchise… They can help you hedge your bet and reduce your risk,” he explained.
Taffer also shared his advice for people looking to start a new business today.
“I am convinced that any viable market will find business,” he said. “But not every viable business will find a market. This is becoming a real problem. So you need to identify markets where you can grow, but remember that there are people in America who want to buy franchises.”
“There are companies all over the country that want to sell you franchises… Go online and look for franchise sales,” added Taffer, whose franchised taverns are still separate entities.
As for post-pandemic inflation, when people may not want to spend as much, Taffer said he doesn’t find it as daunting as others.
“What if I tell you that I don’t see this as a problem, I see this as an opportunity,” Taffer said. “If you look around the country, you will see that there are many markets where restaurants are 25-30% ahead of pre-pandemic levels.
“Yes, you are right, people have less money to spend, so they need to spend it wisely. They will go where they feel best, they will go where they get the most value.”
In Watertown, Massachusetts, near Boston, his third tavern has just opened. Four months into the pandemic, Middleby Corporation announced that it had teamed up with Taffer to create a “newly developed modern tavern concept.”
The new complex in Watertown, located in Washington, DC and Alpharetta, Georgia, provided an opportunity for Taffer and his team.
“We designed Taffer’s Tavern with a labor efficiency model in mind… Finding employees has been a problem for the industry for a very long time,” he shared. “That’s why we designed a kitchen that uses computerized cooking and production technology, not people.”
Boston has plenty of tavernas that resonate with the East Coast environment. Taffer says his restaurant will stand out for its “quality and depth.” He noted, “We have created a first-class tavern…we believe we offer a $70-$80 lunch for about $35-$40.”
The extensive menu, which offers a long list of cocktails and an even wider selection of dishes, is specially designed for this place. Taffer explained, “You won’t find New York pizza at Taffer’s Tavern Boston, you’ll find a lobster roll… When we looked at our franchise models, we said, ‘Each one has to be connected to its own market.’ ‘”
Taffer says that in a crowded industry, he’s thought of everything to make his franchises stand out: “Our music is curated, not just played… Everything, the beats per minute curves, the cycling of the music, the content of the music, is curated to elicit a reaction from the guests.” He is quick to add that the visuals, including sports, flavors and cocktails, “target that very specific demographic” that his team is trying to appeal to.
Taffer also introduced what he calls “a five-Michelin-starred cooking technique” called sous vide. Sous vide technology uses temperature to provide a level of cooking precision not otherwise possible.
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Taffer says it’s his signature dish, as if he were a chef seasoning a piece of meat.