RFID drives the self-service pub
An application for wireless we can all appreciate
The Cheeky bar, in Georgia USA, now has a self-service bar known as the "wall of beer" where patrons can help themselves to a drink with the wave of a card.
The card is simply an RFID tag which identifies the buyer, but the system measures the amount of alcohol poured as well as requiring each drinker to prove their sobriety to the barman every 64 ounces (three pints or so). The great thing is flexibility, as RFID Journal explains, but one can't help wondering if it's a troubling trend too.
She's pouring her own beer, but there'll be no barman handy to light her cigarette
The fluid control system is supplied by DraftServ, and is an evolution from tabletop systems which have been around for a while. Such systems deliver a specific beer, in measured quantities, to a party's table, but they also require pipes laid under the floor, and limit the options once at the table.
The "wall of beer" approach allows drinkers to select their beer, and even try a small glass of something different, with all the costs totted up for payment at the end of the evening. Users can pour themselves any quantity of drink, though they have to demonstrate that they're not drunk every three pints or so.
In use it seems that users often pour themselves smaller drinks, to avoid the lager getting warm or going flat, but that they drink more overall, which is good news for the bar. Most importantly it means fewer bar staff, as the customers serve themselves.
Pulling a pint of proper beer is, of course, more complicated. British beer doesn't lend itself to electronic measuring or pumping and it's hard to imagine a row of gravity pumps along side an RFID card reader, not to mention that an RFID reader won't pretend to be interested in one's problems.
It was once inconceivable that we'd have to fill our own cars with petrol, but we got used to it surprisingly quickly, perhaps we'll get used to the lack of bar staff with equal celerity. ®
Just what we need in a recession.
Less jobs. Call me a commie but all this automated self-serve stuff is just pushing more people onto the dole, doesn't save the consumer any money (ever notice how Tesco self-serve doesn't get you a discount) and ultimately means more taxes to pay to more unemployed. So, unless you've shares in a company moving to self-service you will loose out.
Also pubs work well with real people as staff, since they can judge the age, sobriety and demeanor of the customer far better than an automatic pump. Plus, I'd much rather gaze at a pretty bar maid whilst waiting to be served than a bunch of people at a "beer wall".
good idea but
I like the sound of this, as a short, ugly, scruffy looking old (well old in my book anyway) man I struggle to get the attention of the bartenders. For some unknown reason the blonde with her boobs flopped out on the bar gets served first ...
But, there's one thing I'd like clarified first. Does the cost of my pint go down considering the bar doesn't have to employ people any more? My bank and CCard provider want me to go paperless to "save the world" but refuse to reward me for saving them money (not having to print and post my statements etc). No doubt though prices will go up "to cover the cost of the equipment" and then never go down once the equipment is covered ...
So how large are US millilitres?