Bypassing The Bartender

Bypassing The Bartender

Liz Barrett | Restaurant Hospitality | September 11, 2017

Today’s consumer loves convenience and new experiences, which is exactly what a self-serve beverage system delivers.

Access to a variety of alcoholic beverages when and where guests want them minus the wait time seems like a win-win for everyone. But is it right for your restaurant?

The average self-serve beverage system works like a vending machine with a loadable card or wristband.  Customers can either pre-pay, setting their own limit, or start a tab and pay at the end of their visit. A simple swipe of their wristband, or insert of their card, allows them to purchase beverages by the ounce — typically one, five or eight ounces at a time.

At JJ’s Wine Bar (above) in Franklin, Tenn., 28 different wines are available to self-pour by using a smart card. JJ’s co-owner Lisa Judd said in addition to trying wines they may not otherwise order from a wine list, guests using the self-serve system can take their time reading the wine descriptions and labels before making a decision.

“Guests can taste a very expensive wine, without committing to the entire bottle,” Judd said. “We’re able to offer three pour sizes: one ounce, five ounce and eight ounce; you won’t find that on most wine lists.”



Tapster Makes Drinking More Communal (and Creative)

Tapster Makes Drinking More Communal (and Creative)

Peter Ranvestel and Bettina Chang | Chicago Magazine |  June 19th, 2017

Don’t assume that Tapster (2027 W. North Ave., Wicker Park), the self-service drinking hole without bartenders, removes the human element from a business. If our recent visit is any indication, the opposite is true.

The bar was bustling this weekend, with some people stepping inside just to figure out how the heck it all worked. Customers pay by the ounce and can choose from 40 different beers, plus some wines, kombucha beers, and a dozen craft cocktails. Some have used this freedom to create their own tasty mixed-beer concoctions. And, the short pours and tasting-room feel gives people more of an excuse to mingle and chat about different brews with fellow patrons or a number of helpful employees on the floor. There’s also a small food counter in the back.