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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Smartphone app lets patrons pay for food, drinks and cover

    Robert Alcaraz
    The smartphone application Barsential will allow patrons to pay for drinks using their phones at bars and restaurants, such as Wilko on University Boulevard. Photo Illustration by Robert Alcaraz/Arizona Summer Wildcat

    Next time your group is out for a night on the town, but can’t decide on where to go for a drink, look no further than your smartphone. Eller College of Management alumni John Rushworth and Eytan Ben-Yeoshua have teamed up to create BarSential, a smartphone application that they believe will revolutionize the nightlife industry.

    The beta test is on Tuesday and will feature special offers from Playground Bar and Lounge, Hub Restaurant and Creamery, and Sam Hughes’ Place Championship Dining.

    The app allows users to gain access to special offers and discounts on quintessential nightlife items, such as drinks, bottle service, cover charges and food. Utilizing the GPS capability of the user’s smartphone to locate the nearest deals, consumers are able to see a listing of all of specials in the area. Content can be updated in real-time by merchants, which serves to keep costumers checking often. Sign-up is fast and easy, and users can securely store their credit card information in the application, allowing for one-click purchasing of discounted nightlife essentials. Once a purchase has been made, all the user must do is show the voucher on the phone to the server.

    “It is fast-paced, speeds up the process for everyone,” said Rushworth. “Consumers can pre-buy. There are no bar codes to scan and nothing to print.”

    BarSential is in talks with several other Tucson establishments, and will be announcing agreements with restaurants, bars and night clubs in Phoenix and Scottsdale following the beta test.

    Thus far, the app is only available to iPhone users but the company plans on releasing it for the Android platform in the near future.

    For restaurants and bars, the app provides an opportunity to reach out to their target audience through devices that millions of people carry in their pockets every day.

    Andrew Record, general manager at Playground, sees it as part of a continuing effort to reach as many potential and returning customers as possible through the powerful medium that is social networking. Citing the strong presence of Playground and the Hub on Facebook, he alluded to the possibility of collaboration between the two establishments through BarSential.

    “We are really interested in digital fencing — people checking in on FourSquare or Facebook,” said Record. “And so we see BarSential as a natural extension of that, a chance to reach out to a demographic that is tuned in, to communicate with people in the area when they’re tuned in to the app.”

    Rushworth and Ben-Yeoshua credit their time at the UA for preparing them to make a major business launch so soon after college. Concentrating on finance and entrepreneurship, Ben-Yeoshua credits the analytical foundations he gained at Eller for his ability to function as the company’s chief financial officer.

    For Rushworth, the entrepreneurship program was extremely beneficial, and his extensive marketing experience gained at the UA has been a crucial element of the creative process for BarSential.

    “I’ve always had the desire to start my own business. The entrepreneurship program helped me build a business plan that was plausible,” said Rushworth. “To be able to get started so quickly is amazing.”

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