A Guy Walks into a Bar

Jun 23, 2013

As the name implies, the students at Virginia Tech are pretty ‘tech savvy.’ And that means more and more of them are eager to create their own start-up companies.

OK, a guy walks into a bar.  The place is packed. And the chances of catching the bartender’s eye are not great with all that competition. So this is what occurred to Drew Stegmaier, outgoing President of the Entrepreneur club at Virginia Tech.

“I turned 21 last summer.  So in August in Hokie House I remember being at the bar and it was a pain, I’m going, this is dumb, and I was really thinking like, why couldn’t I do this on my phone because I saw the point of sale and I’m like, if there was a way I could send them the order, they wouldn't have to mess with a credit card or anything like that and it would just be easier.  And that just kind of went in the idea log."

Stegmaier graduated in May with a degree in management. He didn’t even discover the Entrepreneur Club until spring of his junior year, but he says club gave him the tools to do what he really wanted to do:  start his own company.

 “So the one I’m working on now, the company is called “Drink Up” and it’s a mobile application that you can order and pay for drinks on your smart phone.”  

This app seems perfect for Stegmaier’s demographic.  But there’s more to it than a sophomoric desire for partying with convenience. Here’s the business model.

 “So you don’t have to wait inline and, it increases the through-put for bars. And they also get better customer relationships because they know who those customers are. So the total transaction time at a bar between ordering and finish is 120 seconds. Only 30 of those are making the drink, the other 90 go into hearing the order, because it’s loud, there’s music, turning away from the customer and touching stuff into the point of sale system and it’s outdated.”

His dad suggested he think about working for another company first; learn the ropes before going out on his own.  But there are three R’s in the word entrepreneur and they all stand for “risk.” Stegmaier says what better time to try this kind of thing, before you have too much to lose.  He's  hoping to interest a local bar in testing his app some time this summer.