A recently launched app meant to incentivize customers to patronize bars and restaurants by paying for their Uber rides has gotten the attention of multiple Long Beach businesses.
Muldoon’s Saloon in North Long Beach and The Attic in Alamitos Beach are just some of the multiple restaurants in the city that have partnered with Freebird Rides in hopes of obtaining more business.
Freebird Rides started in 2015 but did not launch until June 2017 in Los Angeles and is currently available in Orange County and Boston, as well.
Kurt Brendlinger, founder and CEO of Freebird Rides, was already familiar with the Boston market as both of his daughters went to school in that area and introduced the app there because of its residents’ constant use of Uber.
The app allows businesses to pay for the cost of their customers’ Uber rides when customers receiving cash back automatically when they pay their bill. Users must first make a valid purchase at the establishment by using the card linked to their FreeBird account.
Restaurants and bars may offer bonus points to be converted into cash value when customers spend money there. Within five days, the money will be returned to the customer’s FreeBird account which users can transfer to their bank account.
“You can take advantage of the offers and it gets credited to your account,” FreeBird spokeswoman Michelle Sullivan told the Post.
It is free to download and only available for iPhone users but Sullivan said they expect to roll out an Android version later this year.
With Long Beach’s locally lamented lack of parking, the app allows residents to go out minus the worry of having to finding parking late at night. It can also promote more liquor sales by bars without having customers worry about driving home intoxicated.
“We wanted to drum up business for people wanting to travel to our bar without taking up more of our parking,” said Muldoon’s Saloon owner Patrick Conlon. “It makes coming to Muldoon’s an easier sell if we tell people we’ll pay for their Uber ride. This is something that will encourage higher liquor sales per person without putting anyone in harm’s way.”
Conlon said businesses can adjust the amount of money they want to subsidize to patrons. For example, businesses can offer to pay $3 or $20 a night for a person’s trip home. If it’s a slow night for the business, they can raise the incentives and if it’s a busy night, the incentives can be lowered. Muldoon’s is currently offering $5 incentives every day to get people in the habit of using it.
“The potential of this app is what is extraordinary and can truly turn into something people all over Long Beach can utilize,” said Conlon.
Other Long Beach restaurants and bars associated with FreeBirds are Legends, The Breakfast Bar, Panama Joes, P.F Changs, Pike Bar and Fish Grill, King Taco Restaurant and more.
“Right now, we’re focused on getting the word out to Uber riders and bar and restaurant owners in Boston and LA,” said Sullivan.
She said once they’ve optimized Boston and LA they plan to expand to other cities.
“We’re constantly adding bars and restaurants and improving the search functionality,” said Sullivan. “[The app] is a relatively unique form of marketing for the restaurants and bars because they only pay Freebird when someone visits their account and spends money.”