London Bar Using Facial Recognition to Stop Line Cutters

We’ve all been there. You are in a pub and trying to order a drink. Someone cuts in front or the bartender simply doesn’t see you. In crowded bars, you can end up spending most of your night just trying to order a drink.

The Underdog in Central London is claiming to be the first bar in the world to install facial recognition technology. The AI-powered system, which was developed by British company DataSparQ, will help staff see who’s next in line to be serviced.  The AI identifies each person waiting at the bar and tracks their proper place in the queue even showing estimated wait time. All of the information is shown on a big screen behind the bar for employees and customers to see.

“There’s a big screen behind the bar, the webcam captures footage of everyone coming to queue behind a bar, based on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those who’ve been waiting first get a number above your head to say you’re number one in the queue. Those who’ve been waiting least time are at the back of the queue,” said DataSparQ managing director John Wyllie.

AI Bar Facial Recognition - YellRobot
credit: Underdog London

Bar Facial Recognition Will Also Make Sure Customers Are of Age

The goal of the bar’s new facial recognition system is to eliminate people cutting in line and make ordering drinks faster. The AI will also assist in making sure patrons are old enough to drink. It will alert an employee if someone looks underage and suggest they check their ID. Customers will also eventually be able to link their face to their bar tab making it easier to pay and control who is able to put drinks on the bill.

The bar facial recognition system will also generate data such as orders per hour and average wait time. The Underdog hopes this information will help staff become more efficient.  While some customers might be concerned about privacy, Wyllie says the data collected by the webcam isn’t stored and images of faces are deleted at the end of each session.

The bar plans to use the technology at peak times. Currently, it is only available for special events as due to GDPR standards, they must obtain explicit consent from everyone entering the venue in order to use the tech.

DataSparQ Software to be Rolled Out to More Bars and Music Festivals

As far as cost, the ‘A.I. Bar’ Software will cost owners from just $250 a month and works by simply using a standard webcam, display screen, and Internet connection.  DataSparQ is not stopping with just The Underdog. They plan to bring the technology to more bars and clubs along with music festivals

“We are in talks with drinks companies and pub chain owners to roll out the technology nationwide in the next 12 months. The system can be installed anywhere and is scalable – so we are expecting it to start in bars and progress into music festivals and beyond,” said Wyllie.

Check out our articles on Universal Studios in China using facial recognition and McDonald’s testing robots.