Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Where everyone really does know your name!™
  (+7, -2)
(+7, -2)
  [vote for,

I've always thought that it would be cool to walk into my corner bar, plop down on a stool, have the bartender greet me by name, and say "the usual." However, what is distinctly uncool is being a blithering alcoholic, and that's what usually happens if you visit a big-city bar often enough for the wait-staff to actually learn who you are and remember it reliably.

Of course if you live in a tiny town with only one pub, this naturally happens even without any digital enhancement required. I'm aiming this invention at pubs and restaurants in bigger towns that have a much larger client base and higher turnover among employees.

Give each employee a small portable computer, with a web-cam discreetly hidden in their cap (or bouffant hairdo, or parrot-on-shoulder as the theme requires). It would have a touch screen for taking orders. (Deluxe model features heads-up display integrated into the wait-person's glasses so they can maintain eye contact). There's also an ear-piece for a voice interface.

It is key that this whole system be discreet, and what parts of it that are visible look just like a normal restaurant order-taking system.

As the waiter/bartender talks to you, the web-cam image of your face is fed through a recognition algorithm, and your record at this establishment comes up on the wearable/portable computer. In this record is everything you ever ordered and when, sorted by occurrence, along with some miscellaneous notes.

As the record is called up, a text-to-speech algorithm can feed top info out of your record to the employee via the earpiece. //zzz...his name is Tim// "Hi, Tim, how are you?"

So when you say "the usual", what to bring is right there on the top of the list on the handheld, and the waiter just taps it and says "coming right up". --even if the fellow was just hired yesterday, and your usual is some bizarre food item only known to half-bakers. That is, as long as you've been there at least once before.

Further, when the waiter/bartender disappears to take care of your order (as they often do) they can add notations to your record based on their conversation with you. This is exactly like professional contact management software that many sales people use. So if you talked about your wife, that will go into the record. //zzz....his wife's name is Theora// "So how is Theora doing?"

The end result is that every employee of this restaurant knows who you are and what you like, and you feel very at home starting with the SECOND time you go there, instead of the fifty-third. It also frees up a whole lot of conversation time with the bartender or waiter to be spent on more entertaining things like football scores.

krelnik, Oct 15 2002

Definition of CRM http://www.wikipedi...tionship_management
[krelnik, Oct 15 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       CRM for waitstaff.
bristolz, Oct 15 2002

krelnik, Oct 15 2002


       There are three ways that you can be known in a big city bar (I know because I work in one) You can either A) spend a shitload of money there. B) be a regular with strange habits Raincoat man knew every one of us by name and walked around getting money off the floor, he kinda freaked us out so I dont think the bouncers let him in anymore, also with this method you get an undesirable nickname. C) you can work there, everybody knows your name and know exactly what you drink, you can walk to the front of the line every night, and even go behind the bar and fix up your own drinks, as well as being able to get friends in ect.
Gulherme, Oct 16 2002

       How about lets simplify this? You carry the computer. It has your name, drink preference, wife’s name, etc. in memory. When you touch the bar top this information is transmitted through your body by high frequency link into the pub’s computer. A display discreetly placed informs the bartender of your name and other data so that the illusion of familiarity is maintained. Then, when you stagger home blind drunk, upon rattling the doorknob, the flat’s computer tells you that you have the wrong door -- and perhaps where to go as well.
ldischler, Oct 16 2002

       How does every customer having to carry a computer simplify this? In my design only the half dozen employees of the bar have to carry anything, and the customer ideally doesn't even know it exists.   

       I think the latter is key. If I *know* the waiter is being fed info, it ruins the effect.
krelnik, Oct 16 2002

       It simplifies matters because you are not depending upon recognizing a face that is not in your database; the customer does not have to participate if he doesn’t want to have the computer on him; and you can scan his data as soon as he touches the doorknob coming in, allowing you an extended NOOOORRRRMM. The first thing is the most important, considering how you might look after a night of pub crawling, not to mention that you could exchange data via a handshake with other patrons.   

       As for not knowing what the waiter is doing, you'd have to be pretty far gone not to realize what was going on.   

       Here's another suggestion: nametags.
ldischler, Oct 16 2002

       //you'd have to be pretty far gone not to realize...//   

       Well, it _is_ a bar we are talking about after all, isn't it?
krelnik, Oct 17 2002

       Wow, just imagine every branch of a pseudo-personable multinational chain (*cough* StarBucks *cough*) did this. (They don't need any of the wireless gadgetry - they're behind a counter looking at a screen already.) I think you'd come to consider the amorphous corporate entity to "know" you. How neuromanceresque. And what fun it would be to sabotage.
"Hey, how's your wife .. Gretchen?" - "Still very dead, thank you."
jutta, Oct 17 2002

       A universal scan-card standardized among all restaurants/bars might work better. Those supermarket customer loyalty cards already do this, displaying your name and giving rewards based on how many pet or baby items you buy. Could also second as a debit card for your bar tab.
hinkle, Oct 18 2002

       I like that word "neuromanceresque". Can I have it?
ldischler, Oct 18 2002

       I was wondering about that one myself.   

       ...you wanna go where everybody knows your screen name..
Mr Burns, Oct 18 2002

       i agree, creepy... i guess we should implant computers in all of us, hook it up to some main computer, and get it over with...
aquamarine, Nov 05 2003

       //can feed top info out of your record to the employee via the earpiece// "Lager Shandy... Mister Anderson?"
Fishrat, Nov 05 2003


       Another way to get remembered (as well as [Gulherme]'s ones)is to be friendly, sit at the bar, don't be stingy with tips and be a generally pleasant person. It only takes three or four goes and then the barkeep actually *does* know who you are if he/she's worth his/her salt.   

       Sounds to me like this is for lazy bastards who can't be bothered or who are too unpleasant to actually make aquaintances or friends and would rather make do with pseudo friends. Rather like those men who can't be bothered or who are too unpleasant to find girlfriends and make do with the blow-up variety.   

       I would hate to have someone pretend to be my mate because it's part of their job. *shudder*
squeak, Nov 05 2003

       //Another way to get remembered...//
I think some of you (slightly) missed the point of this invention. Please re-read the second paragraph, wherein I agree with you that this is totally unnecessary in a small neighborhood pub.
krelnik, Nov 05 2003

       <walks into bar with boss and supervisor from work>..."of course I never usually drink at lunchtime" <barman> "Hi dobtabulous, the usual?"
dobtabulous, Nov 05 2003


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