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Helping Hand

Short-staffed behind the bar? There’s tech for that.

According to recent surveys from the Colorado Restaurant Association, 90 percent of Colorado restaurants are operating without enough staff. Analysts estimate it could take three to five years for the industry to fully recover. In an attempt to stay afloat until then, restaurants and bars are searching for creative ways to meet customer demand with skeleton crews—and sometimes technology.

We’re intrigued by: The Barsys Coaster

This interactive coaster and its accompanying app might just be your bartender’s new sidekick. Simply place a shaker on the coaster and follow the recipe shown in the app by pouring each ingredient into the container until the coaster changes color. Then shake or stir your cocktail, and voilà—no rifling through recipe books or losing count of jigger pours, just classic cocktails on the fly. (We see this being most beneficial to restaurants without a dedicated bartender or a bar staffed with multiple junior bartenders.)

We can’t get behind: Drinkworks Cocktail Pods

These little K-Cup-inspired pods from Keurig and AB InBev are filled with pre-made cocktail blends that, when popped into a Drinkworks machine, dispense ready-to-drink margaritas, Moscow mules, white Russians, old fashioneds, martinis, and anything else you can imagine in 60 seconds or less. Wait, is this a Saturday Night Live skit?

Editor’s note: Apparently Drinkworks’ customer base was just as nonplussed about these cocktail pods as DiningOut is—the company discontinued its cocktail machines on February 15. We’re not surprised; discussions about the product with colleagues, friends, and even a mother-in-law all ended the same way…with a baffled, “Why?” and a sip of a hand-mixed marg.

Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to askus@diningout.com

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