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Three mates are on a mission to get bums on seats in Queenstown pubs and eating spots during quiet times, while giving punters bargain deals on food and drinks in return.
Queenstowners Rich Deane, Danny Sykes and James Apicella dreamed up new booking service, Bar Hero, while playing a friendly game of golf about 18 months ago – and it officially went live on Monday.
Bar Hero has partnered with about 14 local bars already, including Yonder, Little Blackwood, Searchlight Brewery, Bungalow, The World Bar and Rhino’s Ski Shack.
Customers jump on the Bar Hero website to make a reservation from a list of booking times, mainly off-peak.
For a group of up to 10 people, it’s $10 to book a spot for two-hours during which they’ll get 20 per cent off food and drink items.
Bar Hero doesn’t charge bars or restaurants to join the service. It makes its money through the $10 customer booking fee, of which 50 cent is donated to sustainability projects in Queenstown.
Collectively, the trio’s got a wealth of experience in hospitality and feel the service is a win-win for both businesses and clients.
“It gives the venue an opportunity to get people through the door when they normally wouldn’t,” Sykes says.
“Most bars have similar issues and most people want to try new places.”
The model is a hybrid of current discount booking services, Sykes says. It’s similar to sites like GrabOne but without the massive half-price discounts, which he believes can put “hospitality venues under pressure”.
“It’s about giving people the chance to experience venues they may not normally go to … there are a lot of places that offer happy hour, but it’s very limited in what discounted items they offer.”
The trio plan to expand into Arrowtown and Wanaka soon, and eventually around New Zealand.