The great entrepreneurs in history have had a number of common characteristics. At the top of that list is the ability to continually identify a need that responds to a challenge. Noted television personality Jon Taffer fits that profile.
The award-winning hospitality expert and world-renowned business consultant has teamed with Fransmart to create Taffer’s Tavern. The concept is slated to open its first unit in Suburban Atlanta this summer, and combines a sous vide-based menu and Taffer’s Safe Dining System.
With his extraordinary success in the bar business, Taffer has long realized the importance of food to drive his long time focus on beverage sales. “Two years ago, long before the pandemic, I was looking at casual dining and saw a need for a concept to respond what was becoming a new reality,” Taffer explained. “I could see the impact of a shrinking labor force, increased minimum wage and growing communication and training challenges.”
So, the star of television’s Bar Rescue and longtime hospitality visionary set his sights redesigning the fundamentals of restaurant operations. “The bottom line is that we have been able to create a kitchen and front of the house operation that can perform at 50% of the labor cost of traditional casual dining,” Taffer said.
Taffer partnered with Cuisine Solutions, the leading authority on the sous vide method of cooking and meal preparation technology, and worked in their test kitchen for 18 months to create the menu. By utilizing sous vide, every item is ready within 4 to 6 minutes. Taffer’s Tavern guest will enjoy a vast array of choices including a much talked about French dip sandwich and signature burger. Taffer’s Tavern goal with the menu was to create value. Entrees will range from $18 to $40 with a salad included.
Executing a menu that can be both tasty and safe requited the selection of an equipment partner that could share the vision. Taffer’s Tavern has teamed with Middleby Corporation to build a kitchen spec that features a full line of product including Turbo Chef ovens.
“With Cuisine Solutions’ sous vide products and technology and Middleby’s equipment, we have been able to create a tasty menu in which nothing takes more than 6 minutes to prep,” Taffer detailed. “We’ve combined blast chilling with a computerized oven and the latest robotics to lock in flavor and consistency to create what we are convinced is the next generation of kitchens.”
“We are pleased that Jon Taffer sought out Cuisine Solutions’ products for use in his first restaurant concept, which relies heavily on state-of-the-art sous vide cooking methods for the mainstay of his menu,” says Cuisine Solutions president and CEO Felipe Hasselmann. “Jon is a profound connoisseur of the bar and restaurant business, and we are delighted that our products and technology align well with his vision. His concept marries perfectly with our core brand values which include new innovations that help streamline kitchen operations to protect the health and wellbeing of restaurants, organizations, and kitchens. We are impressed by his forward-thinking development. Our goal is to help keep Taffer’s Tavern evolving.”
Taffer has also looked to his service on several hospital boards to bring restaurant food safety to another level. “The secret to food safety in post Covid-19 is food compartmentalization. We have created a kitchen footprint in which food is completely isolated from transactions.” Taffer’s Tavern will feature a manager whose sole function is to cash out guest checks. The concept will also offer a fully automated on-line option for guests to close out their checks from their cellphones.
With Taffer’s Safe Dining System, the kitchen of each unit will give both staff and dining patrons complete peace of mind. This includes no raw protein with all food sealed from commissary and not touched by human hands. The Taffer’s Tavern team will have their temperatures taken at the start, middle, and end of every shift. In addition, they will wear masks and gloves.
Taffer’s Tavern has also set its sights on reinventing dayparts. Breakfast, lunch and dinner have been replaced by lunch, dinner and late night. Late night will also include live entertainment in many of the units.
To facilitate the national rollout of the emerging brand, Taffer has partnered with Fransmart, led by founder and CEO Dan Rowe. The Virginia based company is one of the industry’s leading franchise development companies with a track record of success including the explosive growth of brands including Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Qdoba Mexican Grill, as the exclusive franchise development partner for Taffer’s Tavern. “With this concept, they can build 500 restaurants across America,” Dan Rowe noted. “Most importantly, it can generate 100 to 200% ROI in a year for franchisees.”
Taffer’s reputation has led to a solid start of franchise sales for Rowe’s Fransmart team. “We just signed in Boston yesterday and our partners in Atlanta are already talking about a second unit,” Taffer explained. “In addition, Cuisine Solutions is so committed to the project that they have bought the rights to Taffer’s Tavern in Washington, DC.”
“I worked with Jon on a ‘Bar Rescue’ renovation and witnessed firsthand his expertise and heightened understanding when it comes to the restaurant and bar experience,” said Seth Chandlee, CEO of Chandlee and Sons Construction and founding partner of Five Guys Taverns, LLC. “The idea of ‘tavern dining’ is a timeless concept rooted in community, which makes Taffer’s Tavern the perfect addition to Alpharetta’s (Suburban Atlanta) historical downtown area.”
With the impact of e-commerce and the pandemic, more premium retail real estate is available than ever before. As landlords search for a new generation of ‘can’t miss’ concepts, Fransmart and Taffer’s Tavern have that recipe for success.