On the Money

Tapping into self service, with beer as the tool

Tapping into self service
Tapping into self service

Why should kids get to have all the fun? While bulk candy and frozen yogurt are often found in self-service establishments, beer has remained behind the counter.

Now, that is beginning to change, along with the role of bar tenders. Pour My Beer is a company that sells the software and hardware to bars that facilitates self-serving beer and wine.

One night at a busy local bar with a couple of friends, Josh Goodman told CNBC's "On the Money" that he "couldn't get a drink and I said there has to be a better way." Goodman is the founder and CEO of Pour My Beer.

The solution was taps with touch screens that let customers play bar tender. To start, the customer purchases a pre-paid card from the bar. Then they go to a tap and fill their glass as much as they would like, paying by the ounce.

The system even includes what is known as a "responsibility limit:" After every two drinks, service is paused until a staff member deems a customer can be re-served.

Adam Berry | Getty Images

"Guests love being interactive and touch screens and having control of what you want to taste, and how much you want to taste," said Jacqueline Munson, the founder of Paloma Rocket, the first bar in New York City to use Pour My Beer's technology.

Meanwhile, concept is taking off. Pour My Beer's technology is now found in 280 locations around the globe, including Caesars and MGM in Las Vegas, and both the O'Hare Airport in Chicago and General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee.

"We're now on cruise lines. We're doing some things in Brazil for the Olympics," Goodman told CNBC.

The end of bartenders?

As the new technology takes off, there are worries about bartenders losing their jobs. However Goodman said they play an important role in the new system.

"Bartenders are always going to have a home in our concept," he said. "We found we are actually taking the wall down between the bartender and the consumer, and we're letting the bar tender leave behind the bar and go interact with the customers."

Goodman added: "They're able to tell them a little more about the beers and build more rapport."

And tipping is here to stay. The price per ounce includes the tip.

On the Money airs on CNBC Saturdays at 5:30 am ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.