Capitalism at it's finest: the VitalLink Beverage Tracker

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived thru April 2001:Capitalism at it's finest: the VitalLink Beverage Tracker
By Msjekyll on Wednesday, April 18, 2001 - 05:27 pm: Edit

Having been a bartender for seven years, I can say this device would pay for itself fairly quickly. Although I stayed away from the hard liquor and stuck to "stealing" draft beer, My boss could always tell when I was having a bad week since the barrel never made it out the week. Of course, in a small neighborhood bar, this was not frowned upon. A happy bartender equals happy customers. Now when I quit smoking.... well that's a story for another time...

By Wormwood on Monday, April 16, 2001 - 04:42 am: Edit

I have to wonder how much booze your employees would have to be stealing before something like that would pay for itself.

By Zack on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 10:32 am: Edit

Systems like this have been in use for a while in places like Vegas at the large casinos. All the well liquor is hooked up to a "gun," kinda like the soda one. You press a button and it gives you 1 ounce of vodka, or 1/2 gin, etc. And, in the big casinos no one is concerned with the rapport between the bartender and clientele (most people never see the bartender).

By Bjacques on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 10:07 am: Edit

I think simpler versions of these devices are already in use. I saw a similar ad--for a different device--a few years ago. I've noticed in some bars the necks of the bottles have little black collars and small leashes like telephone handset cords. I suppose the collars are flowmeters.

I'm sure the corporate bars and pubs have them. They don't care much about long-term customer relationships. The owner of a single bar should rely on judgment and trust, like any competent manager. Anyway, the device looks more elaborate--i.e., more expensive--than it has to be.

By Head_Prosthesis on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 07:23 am: Edit

It's on the house!

By Don_Walsh on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 05:02 am: Edit

This gizmo is just the embodiement of the beancounter mentality as projected onto the bar business.

The bar business lives our dies on ambiance and atmosphere and a rapport between the bartender and the clientele. That rapport can be tallied in tips one way and occasional freebies the other way for regulars. No beancounting system is going to 'increase profits' if the bartenders can't do their jobs and schmooze the customers.

A good bartender is typically paid shit and makes out on tips. Same with a waitress.

The person who can cripple a business by thievery is the cashier -- but if you can't trust your cashier, you might as well close.

A good bar owner will hire good staff and not micromanage the liquor inventory. Of course bar owners/managers are not all created equal.

Marc ought to be resident expert on this. Whereyat, marc?

By Anatomist1 on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 06:17 pm: Edit

Ahhh... control. If only I could get rid of that pesky last little bit of uncertainty, everything would be great..... That machine sounds more like owner-therapy than good business. As Rabbit and PV have intimated, it sounds more like a pathetic attempt to ameliorate symptoms than address the cause, which would probably involve effort and self-scrutiny. I worked in a different kind of business for a guy who was compulsively uncertain, incapable of trusting his own judgement, and hopelessly formulaic in his thinking. He eventually promoted the biggest snake in the office, and made her his proxy, then went back to sleep....


By Perruche_Verte on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 06:01 pm: Edit

Rabbit hits it on the head. The one benefit of this gizmo is that it may cause the unionization rate among bar staff to increase slightly. Which, of course, means wages will rise, so where's the savings supposed to come from?

Getting the neon sign Rabbit described, or just having "ASSHOLE" tattooed on one's forehead would be cheaper and more direct.

My impression, not tending bar but having friends that do, is that having a little autonomy and not being watched constantly is one of the things that makes people take that job, often for rather low wages. They can give away a freebie or two. Doesn't mean they do it very often, but they can. If they really *are* ripping you off, every day, there's a reason for it and you might find it by looking in the mirror.

Can't wait to hear what Marc has to say about this one.

By Mr_Rabbit on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 03:25 pm: Edit

It will have some negative effects, I think.

I never worked in a bar, maybe it's different, but installing a system like that is like putting up a neon sign that says 'I don't trust you, you thieving bastards' in your breakroom. This does not create a happy workforce (some might steal who wouldn't have out of pure resentment.)

If I were a resentful bartender, I would fill empty bottles up with tap water when the boss wasn't around. I would dump them out, over and over again. I would do this randomly, and the boss would come to believe that pour cap chips are wildly inaccurate, as would the staff, when the Cuervo chip reported 80 liters were poured.

And of course, you could just randomly set off a little radio jammer (which are easier to get and build than you might think, and pretty inexpensive...)

By Wolfgang on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 03:21 pm: Edit

I'm not sure why but I HATE this gadget already.

I suggest a better version of the gizmo : When your bottle get 1/2 empty, it automatically send an order to S.C. ;-)


By Zack on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 11:53 am: Edit

It's true, you can't trust bartenders...I used to be one.

The best thing about those types of beverage systems is that instead of having to buy 1ltr bottles to keep on the shelf, you can buy bigger bottles which brings down the cost (increases profit margin).

The drink time/date recording thing will only be useful in a few instances. Bar owners/managers will not be checking the readouts unless the 'tender is already suspected of overpouring anyway.

By Bob_Chong on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 11:33 am: Edit

This is actually not a bad idea for bar owners. I have had more than one bar owner tell me that employees will "rob you blind" by pouring free drinks, etc. Same guys explained that's why they're always at work--b/c they can't trust the employees and they'd never make a profit otherwise. Of course, this was only anecdotal stuff from a couple of workaholics--YMMV.


By Melinelly on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 11:09 am: Edit

saw an ad for this in this week's SF Bay Guardian... picture is suspendered dude with shaved head and numerous facial piercings... caption: "Is the guy behind the bar pouring away your profits?"

"Manage your staff, manage your shrinkage, manage your profits! Your customers will never know, and the guy behind the bar will just add color, not costs, to your business."

here's a link:

man, i tell ya =) gotta love technology... although if you've got roommates, this could come in handy...

"hey Andy, you've been drinking the Serpis again haven't you?"

"me? what? no!"

"says it right here... last night you had 3.87 ounces of... hey! that's not the proper way of shutting down Windows!"


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