I was lured to Riviera31 at The Sofitel with the offer of free drinks and the introduction to a new app targeted for restaurants and bars called BarFlySC. BarFly Social Club falls under the purview of apps like Fourquare/Swarm or Tastemade. If you’re unfamiliar Foursquare it provides information on restaurants, bars and services, while you give real-time data on your whereabouts by “Checking-in”. Your received points and digital rewards for sharing your information. I’m fond of the app but the recent subdivision of Foursquare, that include the sub app called Swarm, makes the experience tedious and less fun. The other negative element about the Foursquare app is its rapacious data mining!
The premise of Tastemade, you are the star or an advocate/critic of your favorite dining establishment by making a simple one minute video. Tastemade’s HQ is in Santa Monica and I’ve been to a couple of their sponsored themed foodie events. They have a lot of creativity and are really trying to engage their base. I find making selfie styled dining videos a little tedious and time-consuming. The app also has a mandatory number of video slots that have to be filled for the pre-designed format to work properly. Recently, it’s been discovered that people who take a picture of their food at restaurants slow down service because they are messing with their phones, not deliberating of dinner choices. Imagine what making a video would do to slowing down service! Tastemade is cool because it adds a personal touch to dining, but it’s apparent that they have some hurdles to over come for an expeditious experience.
BarFlySC is slightly different. BarFlySC helps you dial in on the restaurant or bar of your choice by a curated digital list to make an order. The the prices of the food or drinks instantly available for you to choose from through the app. The app offers different levels of interactivity, with three different subscription or membership levels to choose from. There’s the entry/free level “Neoflytes”, a monthly subscription called “Flyers” for $10, followed the top-tier “Superfly” with a $25 subscription per month. The various levels offer different drink and food discounts. These subscriptions are limited in each city; allowing the benefits to be much more desirable and attainable for the subscribers.
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The app offers a curated list of 50 different establishments for its “Social Hours’ and the after-party experience. In a given area BarFlySC offers the opportunity to meet face to face, not only digitally, so as to enjoy a longer and more intimate experience with those members you connect with during these “Social Hours”. These “Social Hours” extend to 10PM nightly. The app also offers the opportunity to seek out new relationships with like-minded individuals in a congenial atmosphere. BarFlySC tries to connect a real-time experience as an extension to the digital world as a seamless interface between both worlds. “Everyone commends the online communities for connecting people, but the result in many cases is that the online community replaces “real life,” says Lance Stacy (BarFlySC CEO) and Chuck Speed, BarFly Social Club’s COO. “We see the opportunity to use technology to encourage people to go out into the real world on their own terms and interact in a more organic sense. For us, it is important to stay active in the community and continue making new friends.” It’s easy to see how BarFlySC could be handy for the busy professional or even the devoted social butterfly.
My experience was accented by Lance dropping by my table for a quick meet and greet. I believe this was precipitated by my real-time tweeting on Twitter about the BarFlySC app experience. Lance was engaging from the very moment we met. We spoke of the apps performance targets and he divulged a surprising insight as we spoke of where the app would be introduced in the near future. Lance mentioned San Francisco would be introduced in the next couple of weeks. I mentioned my friend Paul had assisted in an episode of “The Layover“. He mentioned that Anthony Bourdain would join in at some point as part of the BarFlySC’s curatorial experience. The app will be available on Monday, August 18, 2014 on i-Tunes: Although, it was available publicly on Friday the 15th. This is all a simple testimony to the power of social media engagement. Lance offered a lot of great insights to this new social app. Lance after leaving me engaged the crowd that had developed about the perks and benefits of BarFlySC. Some of those benefits were for both the app users and wait staff. A member’s purchase through BarFlySC adds a 20% tips for your server, which is civilized by any standard, and both patron and server gets points to use for gift cards and travel. Both make for a very positive experience for user and server. You can check out the BarFlySC app by clicking the hyper-link here. Cheers to guided and interactive social experiences through BarFlySC!