Your iPhone Can Now Get You A Free Drink

iphoneThe world of apps (applications) in the iPhone is limitless. But this would easily be among the favourites for a lot of people. A new app called BarBait is out and it helps people choose venues and drink for free by simply downloading the app and redeeming vouchers available there.

So, if you are in the city and do not know where to go or what to do, you apply the app and it gives you a range of venues around you with special offers. You can then hit the ‘redeem now’ and your phone turns into a coupon. Anyone that comes with this iPhone app will get whatever the offer is. And the app is available for free.

Developed by Gautam Paalep and Kris Tan, this app is, perhaps, the first of its kind catering to bars and drinks. With 35 bars on board and functional in the CBD area, it is pitched at anyone who has an iPhone. “So when someone applies the app, they can see what is around them. For example, most of our venues now have ‘free for beer’ between 5-7 pm,” says Gautam.

There are lot of freebies – from a glass of beer, champagne, cocktail to cheap discounted drinks.There is a bookmarking function in this app called ‘Save To Bucket’, so one can plan one’s evening in the morning. “You can easily get six free drinks easily with this app,” says Gautam. “There is also a good coverage of venues from themed venues – Asian-inspired, Italian to other venues with food or drink offers. There is something there for everyone,” adds Kris.

BarBait also has new ways to get users excited – holding regular competitions for users who redeem at any one of their participating venues.
The duo says the idea originated from the fact that both of them work in the CBD area. “We were out for a drink and making a choice for bars was sometimes tough. We saw bars and kept asking what is good about each one of them. We didn’t want to end up paying for a drink and not liking the venue,” says Kris.

Both Gautam and Kris started working on the idea last October. Although, it is a simple app, there is a lot of mechanics behind it – coding, decoding, etc., they say. “We hired a developing company to do the coding but we put together all the design work.” After seven months, BarBait was out.

Next, they approached the bars. “It has been a pretty east conversation with them because we are not charging anything,” says Kris. “We said if you want a particular time of the day or a particular day in a week to get busy, just offer a free drink, you will get people coming through with our application between set times that you want. And because of the tracking involved, we give feedbacks to the bar and help them make better decisions and more competitive.” So, bars have the opportunity to tap people who were not going to them in the first place as also the opportunity to upsell.
With 35 bars on board, the team is happy. “We are comfortable with the number and don’t want to overpopulate the CBD, otherwise it will lose its value and exclusivity.”
Seven weeks into it, with no marketing and pure word of mouth, the app is looking good and working, they claim. “We have got good feedbacks. We have been to venues, sat at the background and seen people coming up with it,” says Gautam.

They do realise that there is competition out there. “But we believe that we have put a lot more logic behind our product compared to some of the other apps. It’s a little more controlled and bar focussed rather than the other apps which are just waiting to get deals happening, etc.,” says Gautam.
It is a first venture for 26-year olds Gautam and Kris, both born to immigrant parents. “We have seen our parents come to Australia with nothing and then work hard, we also want to leverage off that and make them proud,” says Gautam. After university, they admit, having got to a point where they wanted to do something different on the side apart from their main profession, something “that gives us a lot to gain and not too much to lose”.

“People coming on to it now are like them joining the journey with us,” says Kris. “If you get the app now it is free forever, even if we charge for it tomorrow those who have it will have it for free. But we want to make them see the growth, the bait getting bigger. Of course, we are not out there to promote getting smashed or getting drunk.”
Taking the idea to something tangible and navigating their way through how to run a business is a remarkable story. It has been an interesting seven months for the duo, and they are optimistic that they will see the app growing. Hopefully, this will be a ticket out of our daily grind, they joke.

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By Indira Laisram