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BarMaxx RFID Solution Tracks Liquor Usage By Weight
Several bars are currently utilizing the system, which sends alerts with video footage to management if a bottle ends up missing or a pour is too heavy or light.
Jan 02, 2013—Several Miami-based restaurants and bars are employing a radio frequency identification solution that identifies and weighs liquor bottles, and then transmits that information to a server where it can be linked to point-of-sale (POS) data. In this way, management can know how much of each type of liquor is being poured, how customers are then being charged at the register, and when any discrepancies might occur, such as an over- or under-pour, a missing bottle or unbilled pours.
The company providing the solution, BarMaxx, is a spin-off of Maxx Technologies, which is partly owned by Suxessbar Systems, an Austrian provider of RFID-based bar solutions. Several U.S. companies were already utilizing Suxessbar Systems' RFID technology during the past three years, and BarMaxx was launched in October 2012 to provide American bars and restaurants with a full system designed to go one step further than Suxessbar Systems' prior offerings. The BarMaxx version provides RFID tracking not only within a bar setting, but also within a storage room. What's more, says John Zevgolis, BarMaxx's CEO, the solution has cameras integrated into it, enabling users to view video footage of what was occurring at the time of an exception report—such as a bottle's unaccounted-for removal from the storeroom.
The Forge, which has been using the solution since 2010, as well as City Hall Restaurant and Wood Tavern. BarMaxx provides passive high-frequency (HF) RFID tags (for competitive reasons, the company declines to disclose its tag supplier's identity, or with which RFID standard the tags comply) for tracking liquor bottles. A tag is first attached to the bottom of each bottle upon its receipt. The tagged bottle can then be placed on BarMaxx's RFID reader, with its own proprietary built-in reader hardware wired to a bar-code scanner. As the reader captures the tag's unique ID number, it links that ID with data from the bottle's bar-code scan, and sends the collected information to software residing on BarMaxx's server, which stores that data for the end user.
The bar staff can then place the bottle on a shelf within the storeroom. BarMaxx provides Feig Electronic RFID readers wired to its own antennas, which are installed on shelves. The antennas interrogate each bottle's tag ID, periodically forwarding that data back to the software via a wired connection. In the event that a bottle is removed, the system detects that action and allots a specific amount of time for the bottle's unique ID to be read by an interrogator located at the bar itself. If none of the bar's readers detect that tag within the designated time span, the software notifies the bar manager that a bottle has been removed from the storage room and is now missing.
The bar has readers built into scales in which a bottle can be placed. Some bottles are on display on shelves behind the bartending area, while others are located at the "speed rail" at the front of the bar, where bartenders can quickly access them. Each bottle is placed on an electronic scale fitted with an RFID reader antenna wired to one of BarMaxx's proprietary readers. The ID number and the bottle's weight—calculated to 4/1,000th of an ounce—is stored in the BarMaxx software. Every time a bottle is poured, the weight is reduced, and the software can then calculate the exact amount of that pour, based on the reduced weight.
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