Drink Special Apps – Do They Work?

Steven Spielberg

If you are a frequent drinker, you’ve probably searched the app store for a drink special app – something that will tell you what drinks are on special at which bars/restaurants in your immediate vicinity. Depending on where you are, you might be able to find something that halfway works, but the quality of these apps is surprisingly poor. Often they are out of date, have low coverage or local establishments, or just plain don’t work as advertised.

Why Not?

I would go as far as to say that these types of apps don’t work and here’s why. Almost all of the ones out there right now rely on individual people going to bars, writing down the specials, inputting them into the app, and then they are published. Do you see the problem here? No person or group of people can be tasked with constantly going to every place in a given area that sells alcohol every day and doing this. It’s impossible. This is why the current stable of drink specials/happy hour apps don’t work.

A New Model?

I want to propose a new method or model for doing this – one that doesn’t rely on individuals but on the businesses themselves. If there was some sort of central database where every restaurant/bar could enter their specials, it wouldn’t suffer from the problems mentioned above. If the business is managing their own specials in this “central database”, it would always be up to date and “official”. That central database should be accessible by anyone through a website or native app interface. Such a model would be highly beneficial for anyone looking for drink specials in a given town.

The Problem of Adoption

With any such idea that requires widespread use to “work” or be useful, you have the initial problem of getting people on board. In this case, businesses would have to think such a database was a good idea and begin entering their specials before their customers are using the app – that’s the chicken before the egg problem.

It’s extremely hard to convince business owners to do adopt any sort of new process or software, which goes back to human nature. People are resistant to change, and that makes it hard for innovators to succeed in promoting new tech.

The only way to solve the adoption problem is advertising – by getting a few companies on board with something, others will likely follow.

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