When someone buys you a drink at a bar, there is no excuse to avoid taking the offer, especially when there is AirTab, a new app that lets you take that drink for a later time.
The app, which debuted Monday, allows users to buy someone a drink remotely and have the recipient redeem it whenever they want.
Still in its beta version, the new app is the product of Dennis Cunningham, chief executive officer of Perfect Brands LLC, makers of Perfect Vodka and Software Development Associates, which developed the application. Both companies are based in Palm Beach Gardens.
The way it works, if you haven't figured it out by now, is pretty simple. If you have the app on your smartphone, you can gift someone a drink from a participating bar (chosen by the recipient), whether that person has the app or not. If he does, it's all good. If he doesn't, then he receives an invitation to download the app through his smartphone. It's still all good. The person receives a code that they use to collect the beverage.
When the recipient goes to redeem the drink -- provided he has the app -- photographs of the bartenders working at the location are used to validate confirmation. The photos are also used to have the recipient give a rating of the bartender's service. The range is one through five, with one being the lowest and five the highest.
Gifters pay for the drink with a credit or debit card. But another feature of the app is that the transaction of receiving the drink does not pass through a point-of-sale system. Each bar has its own dashboard that keeps all transactions through AirTab. Locations must have a PayPal account to participate, but users do not need one.
Nine types of alcoholic beverages -- all top shelf -- can be redeemed: vodka, rum, gin, tequila, whiskey, Champagne, beer, wine, and Jägermeister.
The business goal is to drive qualified traffic into the bars, Cunningham says. And AirTab's goal is to allow people to gift drinks and create social media platform.
"There is no reason why a higher-end bar wouldn't jump all over this because we are bringing them clients," said Cunningham. "So far, everyone wants in."
Cunningham will also have charity drives included in which AirTab will donate $2 to $3 of every drink gifted to charity, although the plans are still being worked out. He wants to donate to the ones in most need of immediate resources.
Future updates are coming and will include bottles of alcohol, meals, tickets, or anything that can be gifted with participating members.
So far, about 500 bars and restaurants have registered between Palm Beach County to Miami, but Cunningham says he is choosing about 100 locations because he wants to keep the quality of service high for the program.
The Chicago and South Florida markets are included in the beta launch. The app will go nationwide by year's end and is expected to gain at least several million users by the end of next year.
"You want the recipient of your gift to be at the best bars in your area," Cunningham said. "Service and atmosphere are paramount."
The app is available in the iPhone App Store and will be available for Android users in two weeks. It's free to download and free for bars and restaurants.