The sound of bar staff yelling ‘who’s next?’ on a busy Saturday night is set to become a thing of the past, thanks to the launch of the world’s first A.I. powered bar.

The ‘A.I. Bar’, which has been developed by British data science product company DataSparQ, helps make ordering in busy boozers easier, faster and fairer by using the latest facial recognition technology to put punters in an “intelligently virtual” queue.

Led to a reduction in serving times

Before and after data revealed there was an overall reduction in serving times as well, equivalent to more than 1,600 pints poured over a year to the average UK pub, thanks to the ordering process being more efficient.

That’s the time equivalent of a potential 78 million additional pints poured a year, if the UK’s 48 thousand pubs used the A.I Bar technology.

The ‘A.I. Bar’ Software-as-a-Service product will cost landlords from just £199 a month and works by simply using a standard webcam, display screen and Internet connection.The ‘A.I. Bar’ Software-as-a-Service product works by simply using a standard webcam, display screen and Internet connection

AI-powered ID checks

It speeds up ID checks, if a customer looks under 25, the system will prompt them to have their I.D. ready or let bar staff know if they’ve already been checked.

The new tech is hoping to reverse the current epidemic of pub closures – a recent study conducted by The Campaign for Real Ale revealed that an average of 14 pubs are calling last orders for the final time every week in the UK.

The A.I. Bar enables bars and pubs to work smarter not harder by providing vital data including orders per hour to help them understand their demand and throughput margins, optimising their staffing requirements to make then more efficient and ultimately more profitable.

Scalable solution

John Wyllie, Managing Director, DataSparQ said: “Queuing is a part of British life that we all have to endure – but we wanted to do something to improve the experience.

“It’s the uncertainty of waiting times alongside queue jumpers that’s adversely affecting consumer behaviours in bars and pubs. The A.I. Bar ensures it’s a hassle free, first come, first served system that makes ordering drinks more convenient for both drinkers and bar staff alike.

We are in talks with drinks companies and pub chain owners to roll out the technology nationwide in the next 12 months. The system can be installed anywhere and is scalable – so we are expecting it to start in bars and progress into music festivals and beyond.”

Preventing queue jumpers

Unfortunately, queuing is an inevitable part of drinking in bars and pubs. DataSparQ research has revealed that Brits spend more than two months during a lifetime queuing for their favourite drinks.

A survey of 2000 drinkers commissioned by DataSparQ has revealed that the biggest gripe for British boozers is people pushing in at queues, with eight out of ten drinkers saying it’s their number one turn-off in bars and pubs.

Poor queuing etiquette was closely followed by long queues, with more than three quarters of punters revealing they’ve walked out of a pub or bar due to long queues.

When asked if they would stay in a pub and order if they knew exactly how long the wait to be served was, nearly two thirds of those asked said they wouldHowever, when asked if they would stay in a pub and order if they knew exactly how long the wait to be served was, nearly two thirds of those asked said they would. The A.I. Bar gives customers this clarity.

The innovative queuing system will also help to make ordering drinks in packed bars feel less intimidating for customers by themselves. More than half the participants asked said that they have felt intimidated when ordering solo in busy bars.

Reveller Katherine Rees said: “I always hate it when I’m in at the bar and groups of rowdy guys push in front of me. I shouldn’t have to get into a confrontation with strangers just to order a drink. With this new technology that’s something I never have to worry about again, my only problem now is choosing what to drink!”

Potential long term benefits

Long-time London publican Andrew Archer, who has been involved in the development process said “The true benefits to bars and pubs will be longer term. You’ll obviously decrease serve time through faster ID checks and not messing around arguing over who to serve next.

People will know how long they must wait and won’t get queue barged. In a competitive market such as bars, having an edge on customer experience will help to encourage repeat business.”

Additional functionality, which is currently being developed, includes the ability for customers to re-order their drinks while still in the queue. The tech memorises drinkers’ orders and reacts to simple hand signals if there are any changes.

Another additional feature will include the “FaceTab” – a mechanism that visually adds people to a bar tab, only allowing certain faces to order against that tab.

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