3 Technologies Reshaping the Bar IndustryBetter manage inventory, eliminate waste and save time.
Bar owners have to balance everything from customer service to employee management and inventory. Here’s a few budding bar technologies that could help make your job easier and cut back on costs at the same time.
Just as robots are making their way into back office functions, they’re also setting up camp behind the bar. Robotic bartenders or “robotenders” will measure, mix and pour cocktails for you and are as easy as using a soda fountain.
Robotic drink makers let a bartender select the drink a customer ordered from a touch screen — be it a cosmopolitan, martini, margarita, whiskey and soda, etc. — and a perfectly made cocktail dispenses into the glass below. With the simple push of a button, the machine makes precise measurements, releasing the perfect pour without spilling a drop.
While robotenders do take out some of the profession’s “flair” of mixologists pouring drinks in flashy, yet unmeasured ways, the technology can decrease waste caused by guesswork. No more accidental (or intentional) over pouring, and no remaking a cocktail if the bartender didn’t get the proportions or preparation quite right.
U.S. movie theater chain Regal Cinemas is currently trying out this new bar tech. Maya Pino, associate manager of Regal Avalon in Alpharetta, Georgia, said she appreciates how easy the machine has made managing the bar.
“There’s no stealing, nothing’s free, and you can track every drink that is made, resulting in minimal waste,” she said. She doesn’t have to constantly monitor the bar for over pours, free drinks and waste. What’s more, she said, “the machine tracks how much is left in each bottle,” which largely automates inventory responsibilities.
As far as employee training goes, you don’t have to test employees on drink memorization and making or have to constantly look over to make sure best practices for your bar are being followed.
“Anyone can do it, and it’s really efficient. It can make anything; there’s no training,” Pino noted.
Wine by the glass — without opening the bottle
Another new gadget hitting the shelves lets you pour wine from a bottle without pulling the cork.
This new technology, created by the brand Coravin, inserts a needle through the cork of a wine bottle, enabling you to pour out a sip — or a full glass — of wine. When you’re done, the needle simply retracts and cork reseals itself, allowing you to let customers sample a wine without the hassle of opening a new bottle, so a customer can order just one or two glasses of wine, while still preserving the seal and integrity of the wine for future consumption.
Since the device does not break the airtight seal, you can stop throwing out wine that has turned due to oxidation — which means less waste for your bar.
John Collins, general manager of Cru Wine Bar said, “It’s great because you can taste a high-end bottle of wine, and it lasts a couple of months.” In addition, he said, “customers are really impressed by the device itself.”
While similar products partially suck air out of an open bottle and form a semi-seal after opening, the “needle-in-cork” approach seems to work best for wine preservation.
Self-measuring, Bluetooth-enabled pouring spouts
Imagine tilting a bottle of liquor over to see the precise amount of alcohol fill up the glass then stop the pour automatically.
While bar owners have previously had access to physically self-measuring pour spouts, these upgraded spouts from Bernooli use Bluetooth technology to make mixing drinks as easy as possible. Once the bartender selects the drink order from the Bernooli app, LED lights illuminate the spouts of the relevant ingredients and measure out the precise amount needed to make the cocktail.
Because bartenders can simply turn over a bottle and the device auto-pours for them, this gadget prevents waste from free-pouring drinks, not to mention taking out the time and hassle of using jiggers to measure the old-fashioned way.
However, according to Chad Bailey, manager at Ceviche Taqueria & Margarita Bar, there are some applications in which this device is more valuable than others:
“Inventory systems, especially electronic ones, sometimes take out the human element of bartending,” he said. “In my 13 years of experience managing bars, an occasional heavy pour or free shot for regulars pales in comparison to what they spend on a regular basis. However, if you are throwing a large event, or a mobile event filled with new clientele, these inventory systems are extremely effective because the biggest challenge in settings like these is typically theft.”
Whether you choose to add robotic bartenders to your staff or invest in new pouring gadgets, there are lots of opportunities to give your bar an upgrade.