New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
So, say you’re a guy in your early 20s and you want a certain girl to meet you at a bar.
Instead of sending her a text, you send her a voucher for a free drink with your iPhone and she agrees to hang out.
No waiting on a long line at a bar, pulling out your credit card – or eye contact required.
A new app, called BarEye, lets users do all of those things, and if former New York Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma gets his way, it will be coming to a bar near you.
“BarEye is a new cool way to socialize with your friends and buy drinks via the application,” Vilma, now with the New Orleans Saints, told the Daily News.
The app, created by Vilma’s business partner, Andrew Bennett, allows you to order and pay for drinks in a bar that you’re in, or send a drink to someone else in a remote location using your smartphone.
The idea is to create a social network of BarEye members who check in, socialize and make purchases using the app.
After a successful test run in Tallahassee, Fla., Vilma – who owns a bar in Miami and a restaurant in South Beach – and Bennett are now bringing this bartender-in-your-pocket to five cities – New York, Atlanta, Austin, Los Angeles and Miami – the tech partners will announce Thursday.
Bars pay nothing up front to become part of the BarEye network, but give up 20% of their tab to the tech company. Each bar is given an iPad where bar-goers can scan their iPhone and get their drinks.
The mobile apps for bars field is new and has yet to gain traction in New York. Other players include names like Coaster, BarTab, TabbedOut and FlowTab.
“The opportunities are huge. Alcohol is a big space,” Coaster CEO Inderpal Singh told the News.
The big challenge is getting bars to adopt the technology. BarEye is hoping to expand quickly by pursuing a franchise business model. *
Instead of incurring the cost of staffing up and marketing the app locally and in other cities, the company is looking to sell territories to local entrepreneurs for $ 2,500 each. BarEye will then share its commission with the franchisees.
Vilma, who was suspended from playing football for the 2012 season for an alleged role in a bounty scandal – his suspension has since been lifted – said he was initially skeptical about the idea when his childhood pal, Bennett, approached him.
But then he thought about his young bar customers.
“As soon as they order, they are right back on their phone,” Vilma said. “This is how they interact. I felt this is a really good way to capture this audience. Instead of checking in on Foursquare, they can check in on BarEye.”