Bars are trialling a new phone app that helps people to plan their evenings by getting real-time information about how busy they are.
WhatBar works by using low-energy Bluetooth beacons that tell users what the nearest bars are, how busy or quiet they are, what music they play and what drinks they serve.
Available on iOS, the app is currently being trialled in London at seven bars including Suburb in Battersea, The Clapham North and Fu Manchu in Clapham, Grand Union in Acre Lane, and The Jam Tree in Clapham and Chelsea.
It has been developed by former professional cricketer Ed Young and supported by Matt Steinhofel, former membership manager at the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR).
Ed said: “I developed WhatBar because, as a cricketer on away games, I fell into the same problem over and over again when in a new town: plenty of platforms can tell you there is a bar down the road, but they can’t tell you what is happening there at this moment in time.
“With so much competition for bars, especially in London, I wanted to create a simple solution that gets the right people in the right bars.
“If people get what they want, they are happy, and they associate those great nights with the bar they were in and the people they were with.
“By using the beacons, we know the demographics of users who are physically walking into the bars, so we can provide extensive data for both bars and users to benefit from.”
The app offers users the option of receiving personalised drink offers based on their drink preferences if they turn on the Bluetooth on their phone before they walk into their chosen bar.
Through the app, bars can specifically target the demographic they want to attract, gain customer analysis, and offer time-sensitive deals that only activate when the user walks through the door, guaranteeing custom.
Matt, who is business development director, added: “WhatBar promotes a sense of community, where users give live feedback and data for both venues and customers to benefit from.
“The app also focuses on creating urgency by providing time-sensitive personalised drink promotions that disappear after the time runs out. The value is attracting higher-spend patrons to venues and an enhanced user experience for them.”
Ed previously played with Gloucestershire County Cricket Club as a left-arm spinner from 2011 to 2013, playing over 85 first team games. After a wrist injury hampered his last season on his contract, it was terminated and he decided to pursue his idea of WhatBar.