Virtual bartenders serve up a shot of cool
Imagine learning the basics of mixing a Bloody Mary as you sit in front of your SAIT issued laptop.
A new computer-based software program provides the opportunity with a Virtual Bartending course through SAIT’s Hospitality Management program.
It’s meant to supplement a student’s learning and simulate the pressure in a real bar setting, enabling them to become more proficient.
“We’ve done surveys with the students and the results were generally positive,” said Ross Robinson, one of the founders of the program.
Breanne Dyck and Peter Kingdon, programmers in the Centre for Instructional Technology and Development department, helped Robinson with the technical aspect of creating the program.
Robinson said students who use the program fare better during their turn at the real bar, but cited that may also be because they’re diligent students.
The program’s goal is to allow students to “access information in a manner that is most useful for them,” said Robinson.
Not every student likes the program, he said, and they’re trying to build other tools as well, like an instructional video and flash cards.
The software offers the front and back view of a typical bar, as well as a recipe card that traces a student’s actions throughout the exercise and flags any mistakes.
Student works through all the stages of drink preparation – from glass selection, to ingredients, to mixing.
At the end of the exercise, a student receives a “bartender” rating and tips are calculated. “The faster they are the more tips they make,” said Robinson.
The program will be presented at the Games and Learning symposium at the University of Calgary during Reading Week.