Times are a changing, we are doing more and more stuff for ourselves. Most people under forty or fifty don’t even know that gas-station attendants used to pump fuel into your car or that elevator attendants were in control of the lift to ensure safe arrival and the desired floor of a high-rise. Help was also required for getting money out of the bank, now we self-serve at ATMs grocery store check outs and a host of other locations. Another sign of the future, the role of the bartender may also be changing . . . . make that vanishing thanks to the integration of new technology in bar and food establishments.
For years now, many fast-food restaurants have made getting a soda a do-it-yourself affair. Apparently the expense of free-refills was much less than the costs incurred by having paid employees tackle the task. It’s this streamlining of processes and efficiencies that keep costs low for consumers and profits higher for corporations. Now this self-serve approach is being rolled out with beer-drinking at a restaurants and bars around the country. For a bachelor party, this type of ongoing access to beer could almost be viewed as a gift for the groom or groomsmen gifts.
A company called iPourIt has developed a proprietary system that allows customers to pour their own beer using a radio frequency identification (RFID) wristband. The idea was born from impatience. When the now business partners of this new company were at out drinking, they became antsy when their beer order wasn’t being fulfilled fast enough by the bartender -especially since they saw plenty of taps not being used. The slow service of their suds was based on the mere fact that the bartender was tending to a lot of orders, and their order was just down low in the queue.
Chief Technology Officer Brett Jones wondered, “ . . . why can’t I just walk up and pour my own beer?” And then he did something about it! Partnering with Joseph McCarthy, the two founded iPourIt, an automated pouring system that works for beer or any other beverage. Visit a location that uses this service for your bachelor party; bring along personalized glass beer mugs as your take-home groomsmen gifts!
Upon ordering a beer, the customer gives his server his driver’s license to verify the minimum drinking age has been met. The server then opens up a tab on a management workstation and brings the customer back a special wristband and a beer mug. The wristband is geared up with a special wireless RFID chip that tracks the beer poured. Once the wristband has been activated, you literally tap it at the tap it, and then fill up your mug as you please. Customers only pay for what they pour and because it is trackable to a tenth of an ounce, beer aficionados can sample little bits of beer, one after another, without having to commit to a whole bottle or pint glass.
Upon checkout, the consumer is provided their bill along with a record of the beers tasted. Armed with this information, consumers can rate and share opinions about the various beers online in community designed for beer drink. Fans of this fast-track to beer love it. One guy said that he tried four beers the traditional way (full glass) and it cost him about $25, with the beer wristband, it only cost him about $4 to sample four different varieties.
Establishments also save money because the IPourIt system accounts for every fraction of an ounce, no beer is wasted or nicked off. Additionally, with just the push of a few buttons, the bar management can see what the most popular ales, beer or lagers of the night were – and this helps
with inventory management. Seriously, if your friend is about to get hitched, grab a pilsner or beer mug from Groomstand.com and visit the land of ever-flowing hops.
In the interest of public safety, individual well-being and liability, there is a limit to how much beer you can self-serve. The point of this system is not to encourage unlimited drinking, but to give opportunities to sample and savor a repertoire of new beers and find new favorites. Configurable controls limit the number of ounces that can be poured in a given amount of time. Once the limits are reached the customer can visit with his server again who can then make the decision whether to allow more ounces of beer to be consumed or to cut him off.