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The death of pubs. Is facial recognition the answer?

Posted 09 August Sarah Abraham

A cup of tea, fish and chips, and of course the British classic, the pub. All these things are typically related to British culture and enjoyed by most of us, one way or another. However, on average 14 pubs are closing every week in the UK. But how can we ensure these establishments don’t shut their doors for good?

With the rise of trendy bars flooding our high streets is it the end of an era for pub culture? Or is it just that the strategy needs adapting to meet the needs of the modern-day consumer.

It seems when in a bar atmosphere the concept if a queue goes out the window. Eagerly trying to catch the eye of a bartender to be next to be served. We’ve all been in a situation waiting for what seems like hours to finally order that G&T then someone manages to push themselves to the front and get served straight away *eye roll*.

I’ve written previously about how facial recognition is beginning to be used in retail as a form of payment. Could we now be starting to see this AI technology used in bars?

Well, the world’s first AI-powered bar has recently launched in London. The bar is powered by AI firm DataSparQ, using facial recognition to place drinkers in a ‘queue’. The technology is more commonly used by police and airport security but could be the answer to queue jumping issues that regularly occur in these environments.

This technology could be the saviour of the great British pub. With one issue of the pub structure being queues, with ¾ of Brits walking out of busy bars due to long wait times. The technology is being put in place to reduce queue wait times, jumping and speed up the serving process altogether.

The webcam installation with facial recognition keeps tabs on new arrivals. Assigning a number to each customer telling the bartender who’s next to be served. As well as creating this numbered virtual queue it also speeds up ID checks. With the screen displaying whether the customers’ ID needs checking this way they can be prepared when it’s their time to be served.

What happens if you forget your friends’ order or leave your wallet at the table? No problem, the webcam will remember your face for some time. So, if you need to check what that extra drink order is when you return to the bar your face will be recognised placing you back in your position in the queue.

The system is not just beneficial to us as customers who can queue at a bar without fear of an elbow in the face. But to the company who implements this technology. It means that more transactions can be processed as there’s a structure in place for who’s next.  The system will reduce serving times enough for the average pub to pour an additional 1,600 pints a year!

DataSparQ future plan expands from pubs and bars to music venues and festivals. Meaning ordering a drink no matter where you are will be a much easier and painless experience.

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