The long-awaited episode of Bar Rescue featuring Marshawn Lynch-owned Emeryville bar & restaurant Rob Ben’s aired on Sunday. While locals will be disappointed that the bar was touted as being “in the heart of Oakland,” they’ll surely be entertained by the local sightings and theatrics.
The bar is named after Lynch’s childhood friend and mentor Robert Benjamin who was gunned down in Oakland in 2007 at the age of 25.
In its seventh season, Bar Rescue is hosted by bar veteran Jon Taffer. The show revolves around Taffer’s efforts to help turn around struggling neighborhood bars. Likened to “the Gordon Ramsay of the bar and nightclub business”, Taffer applies his brutally honest and sometimes confrontational approach to running a business.
Taffer begins the episode by breaking the news to Lynch that his business is heading in the red to a tune of over a quarter million dollars a year and his restaurant is doomed if they don’t make some drastic changes.
Tapper notes the bar’s slow drink service, inconsistent food, and some less than professional behavior by members of their staff. “If we don’t do better, this business can’t sustain itself forever,” Taffer warns as he gets in the face of a Rob Ben’s bartender named Danté.
“Our food cost is 46%, it should be 30. Every time we serve a plate of food, we lose money. In only nine months, this bar is going to cost you $241,000,” Tapper bluntly explains to Lynch in front of a sheepish staff. “Who can afford to write a quarter of a million dollar check, again, and again and again?”
Lynch, a native of North Oakland, gives off the impression that he started the business to give back to the community and employee some family members, but he seems to quickly realize the gravity of the situation. “That’s comin’ out my pocket!” barks Lynch at Danté in his trademark drawl and menacing stare.
Tapper brings in trusted consultants to help retool Rob Ben’s menu, kitchen processes and bar. The crew gets off to a rough start, but by the end of the show, seem drastically improved and appreciative of the expertise he and his team bring.
Tapper also springs for some renovations to the space by removing the weathered cloth awnings, replacing the signage and making design tweaks to the interior. The results of Taffer’s efforts seems to pay off as the staff, Lynch and most importantly the customers seem genuinely pleased.
Despite the rough start that Taffer acknowledges, him and Rob Ben’s staff coalesce around doing right by Marshawn. “Personally, this is one my favorite Bar Rescues ever. I walked into an uncomfortable situation and I have left with a greater connection to this staff than almost any bar I have ever rescued. Character is an important part of any community and this bar and these guys have character.”
A six minute preview of the episode can be watched below on YouTube. Watch the full episode online at ParamountNetwork.com (cable provider login required).
Feature Image: Lynch and his aunties Kecia (left) and Shawny (right).