Florida Start-Up Uses Self-Service Screens, AI To Automate Cocktail Orders At Sports Venues
July 25, 2022 by Dave Haynes
Vending machines have grown increasingly diverse in what they can offer and the technology used for promotions and transaction, but I don’t think I’ve seen a unit until now that makes cocktails and uses AI to register and screen customers.
A Jacksonville, FL start-up called TendedBar has a kiosk unit that has drink vending stations married to self-service touchscreens and facial recognition cameras, topped with a set of those “bar-type” ribbon LCDs for promotional messaging.
Each bar has four touch screens. Event attendees can scan their driver’s license for proof of age, and input a credit card number. After that, facial recognition technology is used and all the information will be stored in the TendedBar system, so patrons will have to go through the initial process only one time.
SportTechie reports units “will be implemented at Empower Field at Mile High for Denver Broncos homes games this upcoming NFL season. The stadium began using TendedBar at concerts earlier this summer in partnership with Aramark Sports + Entertainment and will debut TendedBar’s new digital age verification tool for Saturday’s Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at Mile High.
“Concerts at Mile High this summer have offered three TendedBar stations—each 10-feet long—at locations such as Section 110 on the lower level, Section 517 on the upper level, and the West Club. The typical beverage-dispensing station includes four touchscreen units that fans can operate to select cocktail combinations across 10 liquors and 18 mixers at a time. Fans scan a QR code on TendedBar’s screen to begin the enrollment process on their mobile devices, which includes uploading a selfie, photo of their driver’s license and credit card information. The new digital age verification tool compares a fan’s selfie with their driver’s license to confirm their age before ordering alcohol. “
“TendedBar made its NFL debut last season during Jacksonville Jaguars home games at TIAA Bank Field, and it was also deployed at Allegiant Stadium during the Pro Bowl in Las Vegas. The PGA Tour also begun offering TendedBar at tournaments starting with January’s Farmers Insurance Open. TendedBar is not the first automated concessions service to reach Mile High, as the stadium also debuted Zippin’s autonomous checkout-free stores during the 2020 season.”
These sorts of autonomous customer-facing services and solutions are probably just starting, and might be particularly relevant for sports and entertainment venues that – I am assuming – have endless challenges with concessions staffing because wages are (probably) low and, with the possible exception of the busiest venues, only offer part-time and sporadic hours. The more you can turn this over to automation, the better, I’d imagine.
Interestingly, and a bit surprisingly, the company says on its privacy page how user information is handled. They’re transparent in saying information gets sold to third parties, including ad networks. So people who have concerns or issues about facial recognition systems and what they do will have to decide: “How badly do I want a machine-made Mojito for the third quarter?”