A Northern Ireland tech firm behind an app allowing pub goers to avoid queues for drinks said the product will allow the hospitality industry to deal with the realities and restrictions Covid-19 has imposed.
DrinkApp is the brainchild of brothers Ryan and Mark Fegan from Keady in Armagh.
The app allows publicans, restaurant owners and others to accept drink orders from customers without ever having to go near their table or serve them across a crowded bar.
The brothers believe the app will help publicans and restaurant owners deal with the needs of social distancing.
DrinkApp has been developed over the past 18 months, originally as a solution to queue management in busy bars, clubs and events across Ireland.
But it is now seen as a piece of technology to futureproof the industry’s existence in the face of Covid-19.
Ryan Fegan said: “The idea for DrinkApp came to me about two years ago on a busy night in the bar Mark owns in Armagh.
"This small space was rammed, like most bars around Northern Ireland on any given weekend and I began to wonder if there wasn’t an alternative solution to crowded pubs, than to simply reduce numbers which would impact sales or expand, which would be a significant investment and not always possible.
“The idea that a universal app could eliminate the need to queue by allowing orders to be placed without having to leave the table came to me, and DrinkApp was born.”
While the idea for the app came over two years ago, lockdown presented an opportunity to expand and re-purpose the app to have a retail arm, which allows consumers to order a delivery from a nearby off-licence.
James Freeman, head of operations at DrinkApp added: “While Covid-19 presented a timely opportunity to develop this side to the app, it isn’t limited to life in lockdown.
"We’ve been seeing a shift in consumer shopping behaviours for years now and web/app based localised ordering is really becoming the norm – and not just for groceries, taxis and takeaways.
“Stringent performance and functionality testing has been done throughout the evolution of the app’s development and expansion with partner outlets in Armagh to start.
"This has allowed us to sell the DrinkApp as a tried and tested system for both hospitality and retail because we know it works. We are currently in talks with some of the biggest names in hospitality across Ireland with a view to getting this up and running as soon as possible in line with the reopening of the industry at the end of the month.”
The tech firm is currently working on enabling the app for food ordering as well, with the company aiming to have this function on the app at the end of June in time for the reopening of pubs and restaurants on July 3.