Self-Pour vs. Staff-Pour

VS. Staff-Pour

For any restaurant, bar, or other establishment serving drinks, there are a number of considerations the owner must think about in order to keep things efficient and profitable for the establishment, as well as to maintain a positive customer experience.

How often do customers buy drinks and in what sizes each time? Are patrons able to get beverages of their choice in a timely fashion? How much wastage is there? Is the amount of staff optimized for both peak hours and slow times? All of these factors need to be carefully considered in order to run a bar or restaurant in a way that increases both profit and efficiency.

In addition, there is currently a very high level of competition, and anyone in the hospitality industry must consider customer needs very carefully. Preferences have changed, and the demands of the restaurant and beverage industries are different than they used to be. Customers demand efficiency and speed for their experiences much more than they ever used to, and with many emerging technologies to fit those needs, restaurants, bars, and other drink-serving establishments have to put a lot of effort in to keep up with the industry.

This trend towards efficiency and convenience is especially driven by younger generations led by millennials, who rely on this kind of service efficiency regularly. In addition, customers in this generation like to support businesses that are environmentally friendly, locally focused and ideally unique. 

This is where PourMyBeer’s technology comes into play. It manages to resolve several of these issues at the same time, offering a lowered carbon footprint, convenience, and speed to customers. It also brings something different to your neighborhood, as self-pour is still a novelty only used at around 400 bars, breweries, and restaurants around the U.S., compared to well over a million restaurant locations in the U.S. as of 2019. 

So how are the two service structures different? How are they the same? Let’s take a look at what staff-pour and self-pour look like in practice, and how they compare to one another.


Staff-pour is what you imagine when you think of a traditional bar or drink experience. Customers order drinks at the bar or from their table, and wait on a staff member to make it and serve it to them. The majority of bars, restaurants, and other entities in the hospitality industry use this method of drink service, considered traditional. 

The problem? The time spent waiting can be long, especially during peak times. And in the case of a bar when the establishment is really busy, it can be almost impossible to get ahold of a bartender or a waiter in the first place, which can lead to lost sales. Challenges also extend to the owners’ side with things like wastage, free samples and staffing/overhead costs being significant hurdles.

And this is precisely where self-pour comes to play…

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of Self-Pour

What is Self-Pour?

Simply said, self-pour is a technology allowing patrons to pour their own beverages by the ounce. With self-pour beverage walls, customers use an RFID card or a wristband linked to their payment method to pour beverages of their choice and pay by the ounce.

Self-pour is an emerging technology and represents a major revolution for drink service. Thanks to its extremely simple and flexible model, there are a large number of benefits over traditional beverage dispensing.

Sampling is a Win-Win

Since guests taste and pay for beverages by the ounce, sampling is quick and easy. They can try many different beverages and avoid spending a notable amount of money on drinks they don’t like. Instead, they find the right drink that suits their taste with samples that cost very little. For the owner, free samples are unnecessary now, and thus no profit is lost to them.

Increased Efficiency

One of the best things about a self-pour setup is that it puts the power entirely in the hands of the customer. They can pour whatever they want, whenever they want. 

With incredibly reduced wait times and easier access to beverages, increased freedom encourages guests to experiment and drink more freely. And ultimately, guests drinking more means more revenue for the establishment.

And on the vendor side, you’re actually more able to serve customers their desired drinks with ease and speed. This means that no customers will be left waiting, and their overall satisfaction with your service is likely to improve all at the same time.

PourMyBeer self-pour beverage wall

Enhancing Your Brand

Self-pour might not be for everyone, perhaps especially for more high-end places that pride themselves on in-person drink service. But, it is a fantastic way to differentiate yourself and stand out from many types of establishments. Especially for fast-casual style restaurants, bars, or taprooms that wish to speed up their service, self-pour is a great fit. Roman Maliszewski, the owner of a self-pour taproom called Tapster (which now has three locations), says:

“Tapster is focused on creating an inclusive atmosphere, so offering wine is very important to us as a brand. Seasonally, it is very valuable to include different varietals for our customers.” He also adds, “Customers enjoy the ability to pay for the wine by the ounce, rather than buying a full glass before knowing if they like the wine. Our experience offers more freedom of choice and less pressure on our customers. I believe our dispensing method provides a more stress-free and exploratory environment for our customers, and they truly appreciate it.”

Roman Maliszewski

With places like Tapster, the concept of self-pour becomes fully integrated with the brand itself, so that when people think about Tapster, they think about the unique self-pour experience they always have there.

No Waste

Because self-pour charges for every ounce, customers are much less likely to waste anything they pour. No free samples are necessary anymore, tabs will never be left unpaid, and the POS is automated so human error is eliminated.


This is especially visible with wine serving establishments. Rather than having hundreds of bottles to keep track of as they go in and out of your bar, keep track of just a few kegs. This significantly reduces the carbon footprint of the establishment and presents a great sustainable solution for businesses that want to lower their environmental impact. Read more on the benefit of self-pour wine here.

Consistent Quality

The other benefit of keg storage is that they are vacuum-sealed and chilled, which allows drinks to be kept fresh and cold for longer periods of time. This is especially true for beverages like wines, kombucha, cold brew, and such.

Customers Love It

Self-pour also has lots of benefits on the customer side. In addition to the fact that wait times are almost completely eliminated, self-pour allows customers to consistently pour fresh drinks, sample to their heart’s content, engage with others for a fun and social drink experience, and more! Our customer locations have consistently seen high engagement from their patrons, and it’s because self-pour isn’t just loads of fun – it’s the most unique and efficient drinking experience you can get!

If you have any questions on where to get started or are interested in knowing more about the technical side of things, you can get in touch with us directly at or by filling out our contact form below.

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