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

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?


philipat Jim Sampson (not verified) Tue, 06/20/2017 - 22:32 Permalink

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....

In reply to by Jim Sampson (not verified)

Wait What Jim Sampson (not verified) Tue, 06/20/2017 - 22:43 Permalink

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.

In reply to by Jim Sampson (not verified)

WestVillageIdiot Buckaroo Banzai Tue, 06/20/2017 - 21:51 Permalink

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. 

In reply to by Buckaroo Banzai

Wait What WestVillageIdiot Tue, 06/20/2017 - 22:51 Permalink

"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.

In reply to by WestVillageIdiot

peippe shovelhead Tue, 06/20/2017 - 23:44 Permalink

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.

In reply to by shovelhead

NoDebt Tue, 06/20/2017 - 21:34 Permalink

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.     

Charvo NoDebt Tue, 06/20/2017 - 22:34 Permalink

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.

In reply to by NoDebt

HRH Feant2 (not verified) azusgm Tue, 06/20/2017 - 23:51 Permalink

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.

In reply to by azusgm

Rabidcephalopod HRH Feant2 (not verified) Wed, 06/21/2017 - 08:41 Permalink

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.

In reply to by HRH Feant2 (not verified)