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Jon Taffer's 10% Rule Is the Productivity Hack That Could Change Your Life The "Bar Rescue" superhost is back with a new season and a new crop of hospitality businesses in desperate need of tough love.

By Dan Bova

Key Takeaways

  • Taffer just finished filming his 250th episode of "Bar Rescue."
  • In the show's new season, which premieres Sunday, Taffer enlisted more hospitality experts to help out.
  • Taffer shares how AI and robotics will affect the restaurant industry — and his best productivity hack.
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Vivien Best

Okay, Jon Taffer fans, it's time to pour yourself a big cocktail. Bar Rescue is back, so let the shouting — er, we mean "spirited encouragement" — begin!

Premiering Sunday, February 25 at 10 p.m. ET on Paramount Network, everyone's favorite hospitality pitbull is hitting bars across the country to help struggling business owners and staffers get their acts together before their doors close for good. And in a new twist this season, Taffer has enlisted an all-star roster of nightlife, bar and restaurant experts, including actor Danny Trejo and Las Vegas nightspot guru Dustin Drai, to bring even more heat to these troubled kitchens.

Related: Can Jon Taffer Fix Franchise Restaurants?

Entrepreneur spoke with the outspoken motivator and business mastermind after he completed filming his incredible 250th episode to get his take on what's new in the bar biz (Are you ready for a robot bartender?) and to find out what gets him so damn fired up every time he steps inside a bar in desperate need of rescue (hint: it has more to do with families than booze.) Here are some highlights of that conversation, which have been edited for length and clarity.

Would you like some AI with your fries?

"When I go to conventions and restaurant shows, everything is about robotics and AI as a solution for the human labor that owners are having so much trouble hiring for," Taffer says. "I think many restaurants in the next five to seven years are going to be quite robotic — from ordering to delivery to preparation. AI is already used extensively for the back of the house — interpreting data, identifying trends and doing all that kind of work — but I think we're going to start to see a good amount in the front of the house as well. For instance, ordering on a tablet that interacts with you conversationally. 'What are you in the mood for? You might enjoy this.' Robots are already working fryers and flipping burgers, and that's sure to increase. And the interesting thing about robotics is it takes variable costs, and it makes them fixed. I have a fixed equipment cost; I have a fixed maintenance cost, so it alleviates some of the surprises that come up in the industry."

Related: Bar Rescue's Jon Taffer 'This One Thing Makes a Great Leader'

But humans aren't done just yet

"Robotics and AI will certainly help in the back of the house, but great restaurants are about connectivity," Taffer continues. "Customers don't connect with a tablet; they connect with great waiters and chefs and owners. At Taffer's Tavern, we're very high-tech in the back of the house, but there is no tech in the front of the house. We designed a concept to protect that connectivity. And something to think about is that there are three types of menus. The spontaneous menu is where you stop and grab a hotdog just because it smells good. The convenience menu is the restaurant that's in the lobby of your office building. Not the best food in the world, but it's easy and it's convenient. And then there's the destination menu, where you travel to a specific location. Those first two menus are going to really embrace and benefit from robotics."

Making an impact with Bar Rescue

"Purdue University did a study of restaurant reality shows like ours, Kitchen Nightmares and Restaurant Impossible, and it assessed the success ratio of each. Bar Rescue doubled every other show in terms of success ratio," Taffer says. "And that means a lot to me because behind these establishments are people. These bar owners are paying mortgages and taking care of their families. So success for a bar means that we're helping put kids through college. We are really making a positive difference in people's lives."

The benefits of helping others

"Years ago, I opened my restaurant, Alamo Grill, in the Mall of America," Taffer says. "We were opening our second restaurant in Kansas City, and I needed to pick a training team. So I pick a prep cook, a line cook, a server and a host. We put the team together, and we go on the road. There was a dishwasher named Theo, who was a local kid. The prep cook quit, so I moved Theo into the position, and he was just great. We're in Kansas City having a big meeting with 80 new employees, and each of the trainers introduces themselves. And Theo is there in a suit. He walks up to the podium and says, 'Six months ago, I was a dishwasher, and look at me today.' Man, that was a powerful moment for me. I was more proud than he was! It was a moment of real gratification for me, and when you experience something in life that is so gratifying, you seek more of it."

Related: Bar Rescue's Jon Taffer: 'Reaction Management' Is the Key to Your Success

The 10% rule

"On Bar Rescue, we do everything in four days, including assessing the business, remodeling, rebranding, redoing the logos, the food, the beverages product, the interior, the training — everything. In four days!" Taffer says. "When I talk to big corporations, I always ask, 'What the hell takes you guys so long to do anything?' So I say to everybody reading this that there is not one project, there is not one process, there is not one objective in your life that you cannot accelerate by at least 10 percent. That includes the number of phone calls you make, the number of contacts you make, the number of places that you go, the speed you write something — do it just 10% quicker, and it will dramatically increase your productivity and your time resources. That 10% can change your life."

Dan Bova

Entrepreneur Staff

VP of Special Projects

Dan Bova is the VP of Special Projects at Entrepreneur.com. He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim and Spy magazine. Check out his latest humor books for kids, including Wendell the Werewolf, Road & Track Crew's Big & Fast Cars, and The Big Little Book of Awesome Stuff.

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