An international celebrity, highly sought-after hospitality industry
guru, and creator, executive producer and star of Spike TV’s
number-one show, Bar Rescue, most people know Jon Taffer as a
larger-than-life television personality who takes a no-holds-barred
approach to helping hotels, restaurants and bars reach their full
potential. What most might not know, however, is that Taffer’s
impressive industry experience dates back nearly four decades—
and includes everything from consulting for hundreds of thousands
of properties and Fortune 500 companies, to creating what industry
experts call “the greatest nightclub in the world,” to changing the
game of football for its fans, forever.
It all dates back to 1978, when Taffer accepted a position as the
general manager of Troubadour, one of Hollywood’s most famous
music venues, where an artist by the name Elton John was first
discovered. In 1979, after news of his success as Troubadour’s
general manager made its way throughout the area, West
Hollywood’s iconic Barney’s Beanery recruited Taffer to serve as its
lead bartender and manager. It was here, behind Barney’s coveted
bar, that Taffer fell in love with the bar industry for good. In 1980,
with a newfound love for the hospitality industry, Taffer left behind
a sunny Hollywood for his home state of New York, where he
accepted a position as the regional manager for Beefsteak Charlie’s.
As part of the new gig, Taffer underwent a 26-week kitchen training
program, which became his first official introduction to the food
business and forever changed the way he looked at restaurants.
Taffer eventually made his way to Grossinger’s Resort and
Country Club in the sprawling Catskill Mountains of Liberty, New
York. Originally recruited to be the property’s food and beverage
director, Taffer was swiftly promoted, earning a position as resident
manager. With 1,700 rooms, the world’s first-ever snow-making
machine, and a venue that housed world- renowned boxing matches
all to its name, there was no resort in the world at the time that
offered an all-encompassing experience quite like Grossinger’s—
and Taffer’s hands-on approach to management and keen eye for
effective entertainment proved to be crucial to the unprecedented
success the property saw.
In 1983, Taffer received a call from a headhunter who was looking to
open “the world’s greatest nightclub” in Glenn Mills, Pennsylvania.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Taffer succeeded in
creating a club that forever changed the nightlife game, all with the
help of a gentleman by the name of Leon Altemose—together, they
opened what quickly became the area’s most iconic and coveted
hangout: Pulsations Nightclub, a 15,000 square-foot venue boasting
10 levels, 11 bars, and 12 VIP hotel rooms.
The best part of the larger-than-life venue, though? A $400,000
custom-built robot by the name of Pulsar. Every night, a massive
spaceship ( 27 feet in diameter, to be exact), would fly over the
packed dance floor on an I-beam and open its door, out of which—
amongst a haze of fog and state-of-the-art lighting—Pulsar the
Robot would “levitate” down to the crowd, at which point club-goers
would take a spin on the robot, dancing on its base as it made it way
around the wide-eyed room. The remarkable nightly occurrence
quickly became a global hit, with nightclubs around the world
attempting, without success, to recreate the awe-inspiring scene.
Pulsar’s popularity grew so much so that producers on Rocky IV
even had a replica of the robot built for the hit box office flick.
Taffer eventually left behind the greatest nightclub in the world
(and the beloved Pulsar) to join a hotel management company
in Chicago. As part of this role, he consulted for 28 luxury-brand
hotels and broke countless hospitality industry records. His most
notable industry-changing contribution was the creation of Rooms
Inventory Management Systems (RIMS), a formulaic approach to
hotel-room pricing, which, to this day, is considered by experts to be
one of the greatest contributions to the hospitality industry ever.
“Every night, a massive
spaceship ( 27 feet in diameter,
to be exact), would fly over
the packed dance floor on an
I-beam and open its door.”
As Seen On
Transforming Everyday TV
5 Restaurant Health Hazards Revealed
on.today.com/1oV27FM Cheers to 100 Episodes!
teamcoco.com/video/petting-zoo-rescue “Petting Zoo Rescue”
usat.ly/16g2Qkz Talking Your Tech