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Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  591 ratings  ·  59 reviews
If theres anyone who can prevent a bar or restaurant from going belly up, its Jon Taffer. Widely considered the greatest authority in the food and beverage, hotel, and hospitality industries, he has turned around countless bars and restaurants. Raise the Bar distills the secrets to running a successful enterprise with Reaction Management, a strategy and philosophy Taffer ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  591 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership
An interesting read, made more so by the fact that I enjoy Taffer's television show. John Taffer has an exercises a number of good ideas related to doing business generally. For example, his thoughts on four-walls marketing certainly apply to the bar/hospitality business, but also apply to other retail and commercial offerings. Those in consultancies can certain embody the services they provide as well as integrate walking the talk into numerous facets of their business.

I appreciate Taffer's
Brad Bohannan
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for anyone who wants to be in the service industry. The knowledge you will gain from this will make you very wealthy if you use it.
Larry McCloskey
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
For forty years, Jon Taffer has been a part of the bar and nightclub business. For seven of those years, he has been the face of Bar Rescue a Gordon Ramsay for the bar scene who rants and raves his way through bar renovations and staffing/management overhauls. What at times comes off as satire or farce (or at least hyperbole), though, Taffer approaches with deadly seriousness. Here, he provides a glimpse into his approach and his methods and the reasons why any aspiring bar, club, or restaurant ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you're a fan of Bar Rescue you're going to love this book. It gives an insider view to what goes on in the show and how Jon works to make sure the bars have what it takes to succeed. He also gives business tips, tricks, and insider secrets to make your business (it doesn't have to be a bar) work. Relationships and customer/consumer reactions is what most companies don't put a lot of focus on but they NEED to. There isn't anyone else in the business who teaches it better than Jon within the ...more
Mark Manderson
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great info which is applicable to all business.
Top takeaways:
Businesses are defined by details.
1. Everything we do is part of a process, never a result! 
2. Every business process step or communication must create a positive customer reaction each and every time. 
3. That reaction is the product any business no matter what it is lives or dies by the customer reactions it creates. 
Business is all about creating and managing emotions for your client.
You must have standards that are clearly defined
Corey Burton
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a good first read about the bar and restaurant business. Though it is about the bar business specifically, the psychology around client experience, feelings invoked, and customer service is applicable in any business. Favorite quote: Creating great reactions in your customers and your employees is an ongoing process, requiring every aspect of the business to work in tandem. The reactions you create are your most defining moments! ...more
Sabrina Dunford
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-development
I am not in the Hospitality Industry but I knew Jon Taffer was a smart business man so I wanted to listen to what he had to say. I bought the audiobook and listened to it on my commutes in the car. I took away valuable information. Some of it wasnt relative to my business but it was interesting nonetheless.
The most important take away is that all were selling (no matter what industry) is a reaction. Everything we do should be to bring out the best possible reaction of clients. At the end of the
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Super interesting perspective on UX/experience design from outside tech/games.

Boy howdy, if I had any aspirations of buying a bar someday, this book sure disabused me of those notions. I do NOT want to deal with any of the logistics of managing that scene.

A real quick, real interesting read. Next time I'm in a bar I'm going to look at it differently.
Kyle Protho
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Evidence-based lessons for many entrepreneurs, not just bar owners

Bar owners should make time to read this book. While not every chapter is relevant to entrepreneurs in other industries, they owe it to themselves to read most of this book as well. It was reassuring to read a business book based on true facts, findings, and statistics.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not just applicable to the bar industry, although there's definitely some specific domain knowledge in there. Worth reading for anybody in a service business, if for no other reason than to give you ideas of things you should be considering.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good overview of how to make a bar work. Taffer is a bit over the top when talking about his show and the bars that he helped turn around. He says that he loves science and research and I believe that this book would have benefited greatly from some revenue tables/statistics
Jorge Lopez
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Makes you wanna go back to work on the business. Very exciting.

Pragmatic and to the point I enjoy very much the way he kicks you in to action.

Super recommended for any entrepreneur.
James Gale
Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it
A business book on successfully eliciting an emotional response. If Bourdain wrote the book on cooking (Kitchen Confidential) and Danny Meyer did hospitality (Setting the Table) I suppose this is the economic side of restaurants.
Ricardo Mendoza
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book

This book is great. It's filled with great knowledge and best practice for running a bar and by extension a business. The knowledge in this book can be applying to other business sectors. It's a great read.
Michael Nemcik
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Some good points but too many anecdotes. Would've been more useful given a more empirical data and methodology.
Gregg R.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Quick, Fun Story, I haven't seen the show, but I'm in the restaurant business and I found this book intriguing.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding very informative

Any new business owners should read this reading again to make notes this time on things I found interesting and important
Bonnie Evans
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. A great direction to go from his television show. It certainly made him more lovable. It also served me well in my career as a restaurant manager in Boston.
Andrew Tollemache
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of my guilty pleasures is watching the show "Bar Rescue" and since the guy wrote a book that AMZN thought to include on its new Unlimited plan, I thought why book.
It is not too bad of a read. He avoids just recapping a bunch of show episodes and really puts a lot of straight forward service industry mgmt techniques into print and lays out some core principles and concepts. I might not run a bar or ever will, but a habit I picked up from my Dad is trying to appraise how different
Cole Watts
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was amazed by the thoroughness and authenticity in this book. Coming from a background in the service industry, I found all kinds of glaring defaults in the establishments I had been employed at. Needless to say, this book was an eye-opener. Although I no longer work in restaurants/bara/hotels, I was hoping to find general information about better running my business with a priority in customer service. I learned this and more. The book was a little tedious in the spots that dealt with service ...more
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
I enjoy his show. I like learning new things, especially the "bar science" that is always being referenced to in his shows and the title alluded to. Turns out there wasn't much of that in this book. Sure, there's a nugget here and there, but if you were looking for lots of details, this wasn't it.
It's an easy read and a lot of it is filler about Bar Rescue shows that you've probably already seen. But the bread and butter of his business is omitted since it is probably still his bread and
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: management
3.5 stars. I get that the audience is fans of the TV show or bar owners, but if you strip away that stuff, you still have an interesting and useful management book. There is common sense thought applied to owning and running a business that can be applied across many industries and at many different scales. As a person who likes systems and standards, I found the discussions about providing consistence to be welcome and entertaining. I am torn on the opinion of was this written by or with ...more
Justin  Whitfield
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was featured on his show Bar Rescue. Muscle madness is the episode. After spending time with Jon Taffer while filming, I decided to get his book. I must say it was an easy read because of the interesting content. Jon really knows his business. Being a bar owner for a decade now, I was still able to learn new ideas and be a better owner through his teachings. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to better themselves as a boss or bar owner. Even restaurant owners will learn much ...more
W.  Frazier
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. There's a lot of great information in this book. Think Freakonomics sits down for a really good drink. Taffer gives an all-points overview of how to create a great bar or restaurant. (It's really interesting from a customer's point-of-view as well.) The book supplies extremely useful information backed by research and practical experience. It's like hiring a consultant for the price of a book. The narrator of the audio book is good, however his voice just doesn't match Taffer's distinctive ...more
Stephen F
Apr 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, business
Being a fan of Bar Rescue I figured this book would be a hit with me, sadly it wasn't. The book is well written with a very easy to read format but it took 3 months to get through it. Maybe not being in the hospitality industry is the reason that I had such a hard time with it. Will I continue to watch the show? In a single word "Yes".
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book for anyone in business! Primarily written for bars and restaurants, and other hospitality businesses, Raise The Bar contains a lot of great insight to Reaction Management and Perceived Value for creating long-lasting, customer-satisfying, and profitable relationships with your customers! Highly recommended!
Kevin Silva
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't even own a bar...yet.

This is a great book about life, success, and the American dream. The methods discussed by Jon in this book can really be applied to more than the hospitality industry and has inspired me to be the owner of a fine establishment in the future. Thank you Mr. Taffer.
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! I won't look at bars or restaurants quite the same. The best parts of the book describe the many examples of doing simple things in a top notch manner and what that does to the customer experience/bottom line.
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you like Bar Rescue, you will like this book. At times an easy going writing style can be aggravating, but it works for Taffer's book. You will get some good insights into business and people in general.
Margaret Sankey
Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Absolutely, this guy is an asshole, but I have a strange interest in the inside workings of businesses, so hearing about Bevintel weighing bottle and various schemes for pocketing money out of the register drew me in.
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JON TAFFER is chairman of Taffer Dynamics (, president of the Nightclub & Bar Media Group, and host of Spike TV's wildly popular Bar Rescue.

News & Interviews

April is the most hopeful of months, promising warm days and sunshine just around the corner. The weather is a little unpredictable, sure, but tha...
78 likes · 21 comments
“You cannot have a great business without creating one great, positive reaction after another.” 1 likes
“Bar Rescue uses Esri (, a geographic information system (GIS) and mapping software that provides location analysis, to look at buying habits within specific population clusters.” 0 likes
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