Formed by Alex Likhtenstein and Ian Magid, Frink’s co-founders began working together within the Manhattan college nightlife world. At one point the two ran more than a dozen weekly parties around the New York City area, eventually becoming Manhattan’s youngest nightclub owners in 2012. EVR—the nightclub/lounge which Alex and Ian had a controlling interest in—was sold in May 2014, now existing as Proper West. Beyond doing marketing and/or consulting work for a number of fine establishments, the two currently operate Company Night Out, a corporate event planning company.
While Frink is an app looking to cast a wide net, its initial launch has been in Hoboken. Promising one free drink every day at great bars in town, Frink permits “Frinksters” to order beer, wine and mixed drinks for their complimentary beverage of choice. For those curious to know more details— for example, which Hoboken establishments have partnered with Frink—a free 14-day trial is currently available.
I had the opportunity to conduct some Q&A with Alex over e-mail. With such, he clarified why there is no catch to using Frink, nicely explaining how everyone wins when Frink is using. For those looking to suggest a partner establishment or a way for the app’s overall functionality to improve, Alex included his direct e-mail address within one of his responses. In the meantime, you can follow Frink on Twitter by the handle @getfrink.
hMAG: How would you describe Frink to someone who someone not yet familiar?
Alex Likhtenstein: Frink is a useful new app that let’s you get one free drink each and every day at any one of your favorite local bars. Log in, see what bars are participating, and enjoy. We’re currently available for iOS on the Apple Store, and the Android version will be coming to the Google Play store in a couple of weeks. You can sign up to get early access to the android version on our site: www.getfrink.com.
A: No I was not, but I just looked it up. It seems similar to a lot of other discount and happy hour aggregators. I remember coming across a lot of these about a year and a half ago after I had both sold my bar and gotten out of a serious relationship. At the time, I was going out on a lot of dates, but because I was generally working late they wouldn’t start till eight or nine. I became very frustrated that all of these aggregators had specials that only lasted till seven or eight or whenever the bar’s happy hour was. They always ended too early for my purposes. Luckily, Frink solves that pain point since no matter what time you start, your first one is always on us.
H: When coming up with the name for Frink, did Professor Frink from The Simpsons ever come to mind?
A: It didn’t, but it probably should have. I was just thinking of ways to combine the words “free” and “drink” or “daily drink” — “drink a day” was actually the original working name. Frink sounded short, simple, and easy to understand, so we went with it before really doing too much research. It’s funny that you mention that though, when I made our Facebook page the first person to post on it was a friend of mine who put up a picture of Dr. Frink.
H: How did Hoboken become the chosen base for Frink?
A: Hoboken was actually the perfect place to launch. I like to call Hoboken a miniature metropolis. You have all these bars and young professionals in such a small geographical space. So you have all the advantages of a major city from our perspective, but in an area that’s small enough to be manageable for a start-up testing a new innovative product.
H: Do you remember the first bar you ever visited in Hoboken?
A: I was in college and pretty drunk, so not so much. But the first bar I REMEMBER visiting was Wicked Wolf, which not so ironically was the first bar we put on the application.
A: First, we have to make sure they meet our criteria. We don’t want to be in every bar, we only want to be in the best bars to make sure our users always have a great experience. Plus, the value proposition we have to bars doesn’t really work for bad bars that Frinksters wouldn’t want to stay at after getting their free drink. It only works for places where people actually are enjoying themselves. After we decide that a bar that is interested fits our criteria, we then test to make sure the bartenders know how the app works and are familiar with it so there’s no operational hiccups. After that, we put the venue on the app for our users to enjoy.
H: How does Frink make money?
A: Right now Frink is a subscription service so after a 14-day free trial users pay $5 a month to use the service. It’s a great deal, since for less that the cost of one drink they’re able to redeem one each and every day.
H: Money aside, what’s the most challenging part of running a start-up.
A: Having to wear every hat simultaneously. You don’t have a product manager, or a CMO, or a CFO, or a merchant relations manager, or a customer support team, or even a social media manager. You have to do everything yourself at the same time. But that’s also one of the really big advantages. You get to deal with individual users, individual bars, and even individual commenters on Instagram. That’s the best way to really learn about your product and market and adapt accordingly as you scale. Tim Cook probably doesn’t get the chance to talk to a regular person trying out an iPhone for the first time very often, let alone most of his customers. Right now I do, and it’s awesome.
H: Are there plans to expand beyond Hoboken?
A: Absolutely, we’re expanding to other areas in New Jersey over the next few weeks—think places like Morristown and New Brunswick—and we’re planning a national expansion in the coming year.
H: What is your drink of choice?
A: Don Julio with ginger ale. I know it sounds weird, but I highly recommend trying it.
H: Finally, any last words for the kids?
A: Don’t Frink & Drive. Also, we love to hear from our users, so if there’s any features or bars you ever want to see on the app, please feel free to email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or even if it’s not about the app, I love to talk to other people either in or looking to get into start-ups.