Beer ATMs Threaten America's "Waiter & Bartender" Recovery

Tyler Durden's picture

For 87 straight months, America's recovery has been dominated by one 'job'...

Well over 5 years ago, we first dubbed the economy under Barack Obama as the "Waiter and Bartender recovery", because while most other job categories had grown at a moderate pace at best, the growth in the category defined by the BLS as "Food Service and Drinking Workers" has been nothing short of spectacular.

How spectacular? As the chart below shows, starting in March of 2010 and continuing through April of 2017, there have been 87 consecutive month of payroll gains for America's waiters and bartenders, an unprecedented feat and an all time record for any job category. Putting this number in context, total job gains for the sector over the past 7 years have amounted to 2.378 million or just under 15% of the total 16.4 million in new jobs created by the US over the past 87 months.

As a tangent, putting the "waiter and bartender" recovery in the context of America's manufacturing sector, the following chart shows that while nearly 816,000 "food service and drinking places" jobs were created since 2014, over the same period the number of manufacturing jobs created has been just 107,000. Also, after six months of increases, in May manufacturing jobs posted their first drop since last October.


Which is why recent headlines from Vinepair should terrify policy-makers across the nation, as Climateer notes, that could all be about to end... Bartenders are being replaced by Robots...

According to Metro, Brooklyn-based Randolph Beer has come up with an innovative “Beer ATM.”

We know– we don’t understand how we didn’t come up with it first, either.

Located on South 4th Street in Williamsburg, Randolph Bar does indeed have real-live bartenders and a normally operating bar– though why would anyone spring for that when a self-serve beer ATM is within arm’s reach? As Food & Wine reports, the beer ATM functions as a self-service wall of taps.

In exchange for a credit card at the bar, the customer is given a beer ATM card; all you have to do is insert the card into the slot above the beer you’d like and choose the size of the pour. Pours range anywhere from 1 – 12 ounces, perfect for those who can’t commit to an entire brew.

The concept not only allows consumers to serve themselves, but also provides opportunities to taste-test multiple unknown beers for a fraction of the cost. Not only does the client benefit from getting a quick taste, the bartender is saved lots of time (and aggravation) from pouring multiple samples.

The pressure is totally off, and the consumer can take as long as they want in finalizing their beer decision.

Make America Drink Again?

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incharge1976's picture

All good until they get friggin' sued into oblivion when someone kills someone after buying 15 beers and driving drunk. 

shovelhead's picture

15 beers is just getting warmed up to drive drunk.

youngman's picture

I am Irish and German..15 beers is a start

Youri Carma's picture

Strange thing.

First I drunk 15 beers then 14, then 13 etc ... but the strange thing was the less beers I drunk the more drunk I got :-/

Jim Sampson's picture

There's one in Denver... it's so nice to do it yourself. Want a taste? Want a full glass? You choose. They have a limit so you can only drink so many ounces.

philipat's picture

But I bet that even with this and the trend towards massive restaurant and bar closings, the BLSBS numbers for "Waiters and BArtenders" continue to increase. Without this and the "Birth/Death "model"", they would have to start being honest! Still, there is always the "not in the labor force" scam to fall back on....

slimycorporatedickhead's picture

birth death model.. does that include the death of this horse shit service sector economy? LAWL

Creative_Destruct's picture

Now the newly unemployed waiters and bartenders will  go deeper into debt hitting-up the vending machines to drown their sorrows.

A perfect feedback loop of debt amplification.

rccalhoun's picture

the brew pub craze in north america has made alcoholism/alcoholics cool, again

targayren hous's picture

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

Wait What's picture

There's also one on the Central Coast of California. Ditto on the limit. The bots are even better than bartenders: they know how much alcohol you've had based on both ABVs and OZs, and cut you off after something like 40 or 60 OZs within a certain time frame. it's an ingenious concept that seems to be working well, though given the premium nature of the beers, can get expensive quickly.

they certainly beat the surly bartenders who expect you to "give me your credit card if you want to keep an open tab... and you'll get a beer when I say so" that is so common in bars now. you'd think service would get better considering all the help they've got, but's it's only become worse.

rpboxster's picture

and you don't have to pay 20% on top of the bill for the 'service' of having a bartender fill a glass.

GodEmperorNanner's picture

Yeah I was there the other day but too damned expensive.

Zero Point's picture

I'm an Australian. 15 beers is a quiet Sunday mowing the lawn.

RSDallas's picture

15 beers! Mate, you sure won't win yard of the month after 15 beers!

Zero Point's picture

Yeah, the busted tinny and broken down cars probably fucked me for that anyway mate.

wherewasi's picture

Same here... what about shots?

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Until these "Beer ATMs" sprout tits, or gain the ability to tell good jokes, bartenders won't have to worry.

WestVillageIdiot's picture

Thank you, Buckaroo.  That looks just awful.  How sterile?  How completely soulless?  I would just stay home and drink every night.  Why even go out to a bar, pub, saloon, or tavern?  Maybe Amazon could just drone a sixpack over to my house for some good times on a Saturday night.  At last, I could consider myself a true consumer. 

Good luck with this one.  People don't go to bars to interact with machines.  Well, maybe millennials. 

Wait What's picture

"would stay home and drink every night" I think that's called being an alcoholic. btw, people don't go to bars to interact with bartenders, they go to bars to interact with other patrons. going to a bar to socialize w/ a bartender is one of the most pathetic things imaginable; they're being paid to be there in the same way a stripper is being paid to strip, not to be your friend.


Bullshit. I introduced mr. winky to a hot beertender this past weekend. Definitely gonna go back there again.

land_of_the_few's picture

Is this like Mystery Shopper or something?


Wait What's picture

I call bullshit on that "introduction". prove it or be labeled another BS artist. no pics means it never happened.

Implied Violins's picture

What really scares the shit out of me is that some of those Japanese robot waitresses look fuckable...I fear beer goggles and AI may be the end of the human race.

techpriest's picture

It will only be the end of part of the human race - the part that would be happier with an android that did everything it was told, as opposed to a human that requires a lot of patience to build a good relationship with.

Now, of course, if artificial wombs come into existence, then all bets are off.

Arnold's picture

Within memory. the bartenders in Hilton Head were learning to pour liquor.
Before that, all of it came in those cute little snack bottles.

peippe's picture

my somewhat scientific personal sample proved 11 beers was perfect before a ride, 

15+? maybe for seated driving, trouble is there will have to be a pit stop on the way home, 

my bladder has it's limits. Ounces are ounces & they got to go somewhere........

Wetting yourself isn't cool, on two wheels or four. 

Keep your pants dry my friends.

Spaznets's picture

The way the one works in Denver is they give you an RFID card that you scan, but it limits you to 25 oz. Then you pay per oz. that the RFID card registered.

grunk's picture

I prefer self checkout.

Cash, and no paper trail.

azusgm's picture

JPM will be happy to sell the info to the auto insurers.

Wait What's picture

did you forget they've got you on camera, too, grunk?

you can't get away from big brother, not matter how hard you try.

Arnold's picture

Is there a Dope dispenser as well?

Pure Evil's picture

Jeez, take a chill pill Nancy

xtremers9's picture

not sure why this wasn't invented before. doesn't seem to be hard

wisehiney's picture

And I do not have to tip them if they are too stupid to laugh at my hilarious jokes.

NoDebt's picture

Universal Basic Income.... because the alternative is gonna be too ugly for politicians to stomach once there are NO JOBS to occupy the uneducated/uskilled masses.

You think single-payer government-run healthcare is where this shit is going to stop?  Oh, no, my friend.  That's already baked in the cake.  It's a done deal.  The real game is being played where we truly have to take care of about 50% of the population like helpless domesticated animals that can't lift a hoof to support themselves.  Total care and feeding, 24x7.  




shovelhead's picture

It would be a lot easier if you could just buy em like in the good old days.

NoDebt's picture

You mean like back in the carefree days of slavery?  We're already back there.  But this time it's the color of your credit score, not the color of your skin.


LetThemEatRand's picture

Or military service.  Our politicians are cooking up lots of jobs in that field as we speak.

FoggyWorld's picture

They can create job OPENINGS but it doesn't mean snowflakes are about to join up.

bluskyes's picture

Canada is already there. Ontario is mailing out the applications now

Charvo's picture

Universal basic income, while great in theory, would mean the death of the US dollar as a reserve currency because there would be no semblance of fiscal control anymore especially when everyone gets a check in the mail every month.  In controlled settings where there are donors beyond the government making contributions for these payments, I can see it working.  Would the top 1% have their taxes increased in order to balance it out?  No way in hell would they accept it.  It would not work in America because there are too many people.  America is already lucky that the currency is still maintaining its high value while deficit spending for years and years while also have trade deficits with every major trading partner.

We're heading towards a miserable situation for the majority of the people in America who are not in professions in demand.  They will be relegated as government wards where they would be dependent on the government for their life sustenance.  This would be a form of basic income, but it would just be enough so that folks don't riot and shoot up the place.


Basically, most folks would end up like what black males are going through with their skyhigh unemployment rate.  It's no wonder the suicide rate for white folks is at a record level.  White folks don't usually accept this kind of existance.

slightlyskeptical's picture

Change the money system and we can eliminte income tax and take care of those that need it. 

azusgm's picture

Change the attitude in families so that the elderly might be invited to live with their kids or share housing and expenses with their siblings.

Works fine at my house. Control of the kitchen is the only real item.

HRH Feant2's picture

I agree. I offered to go in on a custom home 10 years ago with daddy dearest. He said no because he was in love and had a new skirt to chase (at 74). Two years ago, when I offered to help him with advanced planning, he refused my assistance because he assured me he wasn't going to die. Last year he sold his house because no one told him all he had to do was fill out a simple form with the county tax assessor's office to get an income / age waiver for property taxes. Yes, I could have filled out that form for him but he had not granted me POA nor did he listen to my advice when I begged him to not sell his house.

Now? He is 84 and the so-called friends he was around have cleaned out his bank account and now he is dependent on the VA, Medicaid SNF care, and a local boarding home. Some families work and some don't. Too bad my father didn't put more time and energy into developing relationships with his adult children rather than chasing skirts and doing drugs.

Not a happy Father's Day weekend at my house. Just saying.

Rabidcephalopod's picture

Sorry to hear that. Wasn't much talking between my parents and I either, but they did listen to me about the end of life stuff. They didn't keep me in the loop at the time, but they definitely took care of business. They're gone now and I miss them. Make the best of whatever time you have with your dad. As much as we may want to, you can't go back.'s picture
Q: What did the man with slab of asphalt under his arm order? A: "A beer please, and one for the road."

NoDebt's picture

That's a really bad joke.  Green arrow.


youngman's picture

I usually go for the goodlooking girls and the Tand A.....