Anyone who has spent any time in taverns in their lives knows the glory of the Buy Back, that wonderful moment when the bartender smiles upon you and the generous tips you’ve been raining down upon them and buys a round for you and your friends. The music drops in volume, the heavens open, and for a glorious moment you are King of the Bar, handing out shots and pints with wild abandon because you’re not paying for them.
Now imagine there was an App for that—no, seriously, imagine it, because there is. Frink is a new App currently available in the Apple Store for iOS (with an Android version coming within the next few weeks) that is literally all about free drinks (free drink = Frink, get it?). The App is launching in Hoboken, which means we get to be first on the block anywhere to use it.
Frink is pretty simple: They have a list of participating taverns in Hoboken. You download the App, sign up, and then choose a bar. Go to that bar and redeem a free drink (beer, wine, and mixed drinks). That’s it. One drink per bar, one bar per day. If you sign up now you’ll get your first two weeks free. After that the service costs $5 a month, which if you do the math means you could have a drink every day of the month for about 16 cents. Obviously, it’s all about promotion for the participating bars, who also hope that once you’ve warmed a stool soaking up a free drink you’ll stick around and spend more money. Everybody wins! But especially you.
We were so excited about the prospect of free cocktails (although saddened that the website explicitly states we can’t order a fine 25-year old Scotch), we contacted Frink’s main guy, Alex Likhtenstein, to talk about the App.
LIH: What was the inspiration for Frink—was it just the idea that it would be cool to find a way to get cheap/free booze, or was there a specific event or experience that inspired it?
Alex: It was actually the opposite. I used to own a bar in midtown, and getting your first drink for free was a promotion that I had put a lot of thought into doing. After I sold the bar I got more into the tech space and realized an App would be the perfect way to deliver this service to people on a larger scale.
LIH: How was Hoboken chosen to be the launchpad for Frink?
Alex: Hoboken in many ways is like a miniature metropolis. You have all these bars and young professionals in such a small geographical space. So you have all the advantages of a big city from our perspective, but in an area that’s small enough to be manageable for a startup testing a new innovative product.
LIH: Is it just you, or is there a team of people behind Frink?
Alex: I have a co-founder whose been my business partner since we were 19 named Ian Magid, and we’ve been able to put together a great team of talented developers and designers who share our vision and have been integral to the launch.
LIH: Is this the first App you've developed?
Alex: I’ve been a marketing consultant for various Apps before but this is the first one where I’ve actually developed the product from start to finish.
LIH: Can you tell us a few of the local bars that will be part of the Frink service?
LIH: On your website you note that you can't expand into NY because it's against the law to discount liquor by more than 50%, which is kind of crazy. Did you experience any other legal or red-tape problems when getting this into the Apple App Store?
Alex: We have a great legal team behind us that helped us create a product that’s 100% compliant everywhere that we plan on being. We submitted our App store application on a Friday, and were live by Monday. So it was pretty quick and seamless.
LIH: You're picky about the bars you partner with – what's your criteria when a business approaches you about getting on Frink?
Alex: Right, and we’re keeping the number of partner bars per city very limited. We don’t want to be at too many, it wouldn’t make sense for our venue partners that way. We also don’t want to be at any bad bars, it wouldn’t make sense for our users that way. So we choose the most popular bars, with the best reputations and operations. That way our users know that anywhere they go on our platform will be a place worth staying after they get their Frink.
We’re grateful to Alex for taking the time to answer a few questions. Frink is planning to add a few more bars in Hoboken over the next few weeks, so check out their web page or Twitter stream to stay updated on this very 21st century way of getting a free drink! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go set up my Frink profile and then sleep outside Little Town Social tonight so I can be first in line.
The FRINK app gives you a FREE drink at any of the bars listed everyday. Use our code HBKNLIFE and try it for free for the first month, it's only $5 a month after that.
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