MGM Hates Bartenders, Too
MGM Resorts International, owners of Aria, Bellagio, Circus Circus, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, and Vdara, have been aggressively instituting new cost reduction programs throughout their collection of resorts under the name Profit Growth Plan.
The Profit Growth Plan program includes standardization of hotel room toiletries and linens throughout all hotels listed above, penalizing guests who book via online travel agents and hot and heavy internal discussions about monetizing self parking.
In addition to new fees and streamlined operations, MGM has concentrated their efforts on reducing costs and increasing revenue at bars via variable weekend/event drink pricing and cutting back on comp booze offerings.
The elimination of the two shelves of booze isn't just about saving a few cents on wholesale beverage costs per unit, but part of a larger plan to replace live bartenders with automated pour systems. Yes, you'll still be able to go to a bar and have a human being mix you a drink, but the service bars - back of house drink mixing stations where wait staff disappear with empty trays - will be replaced with automated digital bartending systems. watch this video from Berg Liquor Controls Company to see how a gigantic rig like this works. Berg Liquor Controls, the company that makes the devices in the video touts MGM Grand as one of their clients.
You ordered rum & coke? The waitress goes to the service area, grabs a glass, presses the rum & coke button, squirt... rum & coke. Bourbon & soda? Grab a glass, press the bourbon & soda button, squirt... bourbon and soda. Gin & tonic? Glass, button, squirt, lime. Vodka, rocks shaken hard with vermouth kissed ice and three stuffed olives? Your guess is as good as ours. Should you find yourself at an Aria blackjack table, order it and tell us what happened.
Using the Berg system, drink recipes are managed via computer interface and mixed with incredibly precise, digitally controlled pours. Recipes can be adjusted in real time as well, just like surge pricing but tightening up the amount of booze that goes into the drink. Eliminating the bartender reduces human error, waste, and eliminates shrinkage with total information awareness. The system will be able to track every single drink poured, when they were poured and who served it.
Just like live dealers, bartenders cost money. They also get sick, they need health benefits, they don't show up, they drop and break bottles of booze, they drink on the job, they make mistakes and they show their gratitude to good tippers by pouring heavy and often. All of this human behavior comes at the expense of the company's bottom line.
A slot machine that gives out paper with a bar code on it, not money? Then I take that paper and put it in a machine that counts out money and change and gives it back to me? That'll never happen!
A blackjack, poker table or craps game? With no dealers, no chips, cards or dice? Are you kidding me? That'll never happen!
A bar comp system with no cash, no bottles, no bartender or even a bar? One where I swipe my comp club card, wave my mobile device or insert a barcoded ticket that came out of a poker slot into a scanner which reads it, deducts comps from my balance and automatically squirts out the drink I've ordered? No cash, no bartender, no waitress, no bar, no stools, no matchbooks? Are you kidding me? That'll never happen!
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