Pubs can now use facial recognition to see who’s next in the queue

Coming soon to a drinking den near you

Updated on 02 August 2019 • Written By Eamonn Crowe

Pubs can now use facial recognition to see who’s next in the queue

A new technology has been introduced at a London pub which helps bartenders know who is the next person to be served.

If you’ve ever had someone push in front of you at a busy bar, you know how frustrating it can be to have to wait even longer to order your pint. The problem of navigating pub queues could soon be a thing of yesteryear though, thanks to new facial recognition technology.

The software can identify punters ages. Image: Jeff Moore

The technology is being trialled at the 5cc Harrild & Sons cocktail bar in the City. It uses a webcam which is connected to the internet and equipped with face scanners to keep tabs on new arrivals, with each customer assigned a number. The number is then flashed onto a screen behind the bar, letting bartenders know who should be served next.

The facial recognition technology doesn’t just help with the age-old ‘who’s first?’ question though. The software can also identify whether a customer looks under 25 by scanning hundreds of biometric data points, which could be used to help make checking IDs simpler.

Another feature which DataSparQ plans to introduce is a ‘FaceTab’ function, where a customer’s facial features are stored on the pub’s in-house system, so that the customer can rack up a tab without having to hand over their credit card.

The technology uses a webcam to identify guests. Image: Jeff Moore

Naturally, the technology raises questions about privacy and the potential for the information stored to become a catalyst for criminal activity such as fraud. DataSparQ has an answer for this though, reassuring sceptics that all data is wiped from their system after closing time. “When each session ends, as well as the IDs and images being deleted locally, they are also deleted from the cloud” says John Wyllie, managing director of DataSparQ. “Nothing is ever permanently stored and cannot be cross-referenced anywhere else.”

So, there you have it – a beer in London might still set you back a fiver, but at least you’ll be served quicker.

If you’d rather avoid the queues altogether, check out these fantastic cocktail recipes which you can try at home.