If you’ve ever spent what seems like a lifetime to get a drink at a sports venue or concert, check out what Denver has to offer. At Empower Field at Mile High, thirsty football fans will spend more time watching new quarterback Russell Wilson do what he wants – and less time waiting in long lines for a drink.
That’s because TendedBar, an automated cocktail brewer based in Jacksonville, Florida, is adding Empower to its list of venues.
“I’m here to watch a game, to have a concert, an event, and that’s what I’m here for… I don’t want to stand in line” and “I’m missing my favorite song,” co-founder and chief executive officer Justin Honeysackle told Yahoo Finance during a recent automated tape presentation. At Broncos Stadium.
While you might spend 15 minutes waiting for a single waiter at most games or concerts, TendedBar has four selling points in a ten-foot-tall bar.
“The speed of service is unmatched at this point, we can serve 35 people in five minutes,” Honeysuckle said.
The company was launched in 2014 with an initial investment from Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban. But the start of the company was difficult. I stumbled badly that year at Nashville’s famous watering hole, Honky Tonk Central.
This was not deterred by Honeysuckle and its co-founder and half-brother, Jay Perkins. They funded just over $200,000 and changed their strategy. Instead of bars and restaurants, focus on high-volume places. They bought a mug, and in April of 2021 they raised another $5 million.
A few months later, the real game-changer: a bargain at TIAA Bank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Honeysuckle said he might have COVID to thank him for the recent achievement. Before the pandemic, the bar system relied on a cumbersome identification process and recipients were required to wear RFID bracelets.
“COVID hit and shut down everything, everywhere,” Honeysuckle recalls. “We couldn’t make money, but we could innovate. We evolved into Full facial recognition where you register once and you can go to any TendedBar in the country and verify that you are twenty-one with a registered credit card.”
Once verified, the process is simple.
Customers take a glass of ice, scan a selfie and choose from 10 alcoholic drinks and 18 blenders. Brands and prices are determined by venues. In Denver, one piece (1.5 ounces) costs $10.79, and double (3 ounces), $17.69. Tips are optional; 100% Go to local charities like Boosters for Families Colorado or Nemours Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville.
TendedBar also solves another problem for places: a labor shortage, which continues to plague everything from schools to trucking companies.
“Right now, the industry is understaffed at 80%,” Honeysuckle says. “And if you think[these former workers]are going to come back, I think they’ve found something else to do.”
Who are some of the other TendedBar clients?
According to Honeysuckle, the motorized rails have appeared at events at Del Mar Horse Racing Track in California, the Formula 1 Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, PGA Tour events including the Farmers Insurance Open and AT&T Byron Nelson, and concerts from the Backstreet Boys and REO Speed wagon. . Honeysuckle adds that more partnerships will be announced soon.