An interview with Jon Taffer about how entrepreneurs can build trust during a crisis, how his first job as a bartender made him empathetic, what successful relationships have in common, how he’s addressed his own excuses, and his best career advice.
Welcome to the 84th episode of 5 Questions with Dan Schawbel. As your host, my goal is to curate the best advice from the world’s smartest and most interesting people by asking them just 5 questions.
This episodes guest:
My guest today is the star of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer. Born in Great Neck, New York, Jon first entered the restaurant industry in 1973 as a bartender in West Hollywood, California, while performing as a drummer in a band. From there, he held his first management position at a nightclub, eventually leaving to open his first bar in 1989. Over the next two decades, he rose to prominence in his industry as the President of the Nightclub and Bar Media Group and is recognized in the Nightclub Hall of Fame. In 2011, Jon’s hit reality TV show “Bar Rescue” premiered on Spike TV and is now in its seventh season. The show’s success led to the spinoff show “Marriage Rescue”, two bestselling books, a podcast called “No Excuses” and a new restaurant chain called “Taffers Tavern”. I’ve been meaning to get together with Jon for a while now and was especially interested in his business views during this pandemic.
The 5 questions I ask in this episode:
- Jon, your industry has been greatly affected in this pandemic with many restaurants and bars that may never recover. You’ve said that the most important asset that people in any industry can build right now is trust and I agree. How can restaurant owners, or anyone else in business, build the trust that will put them in a better position in the aftermath of the pandemic?
- Even though you are a prominent figure in your industry, you started as a bartender in your youth, which is why I think you’re able to empathize with workers more than most. I also believe everyone should have a service job. I was a caterer for my temple! How did your first job as a bartender prepare you for your future in the industry?
- While your Bar Rescue and Marriage Rescue TV shows are different, both focus on relationships. Can you explain why most relationships fail and what all successful ones have in common?
- Over the course of your career, you’ve heard all kinds of excuses from people who are afraid to address their underlying issues. What is one excuse that you’ve made, how did you address it and what did you learn about yourself in the process?
- What is your best piece of career advice?
Follow Steve’s journey: