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Reality Show Host Wants To Help Bars Survive COVID-19


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.


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."


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.