Sandbar Profiled in Article on Foursquare Use

Last week, Dave was contacted by a reporter who wanted to interview us about our use of foursquare, the location-based social networking service.

I spoke with the reporter, Stephanie Miles, this week to answer a few questions. The interview is featured online at, a site that looks at the business of hyperlocal. Read it here!

We haven't done much with foursquare lately. We were one of the first businesses in Lawrence to use it, but it's hard to figure out a special to offer customers when you run a bar. Liquor laws in Kansas don't allow us to discount drinks unless everyone is entitled to the same discount, all day, so that kind of defeats the purpose of checking in on foursquare.

The first special we ran rewarded frequent customers: for every third check-in between 5-9 p.m., the customer could show their check-in to the bartender and get free jukebox credits. People love our jukebox, so this seemed like a fun way to reward them for coming in regularly on a shift where we aren't usually very busy.

Another special that we ran didn't reward the customer with anything but warm fuzzies, but it was a success. We borrowed the idea from the Legends shopping center in Kansas City. For every check-in during a period of time, we donated a buck to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. We raised almost $100 with this special, which is great.

Other exciting achievements (for us, anyway) with foursquare were when we unlocked the swarm badge for having 50 people checked in at the same time, and the night we hit 1000 check-ins and rewarded the customer with a T-shirt.

We aren't currently running any foursquare specials, but if we can come up with a good one we'll certainly do it again.

1000 Check-ins on Foursquare

We hit a social media milestone (in our eyes, anyway) last night: the one-thousandth check-in on the location-based social networking service Foursquare.

Foursquare, for the non-geeks among you, is an application that lets you "check in" at places you go- bars, restaurants, retail stores, gas stations- and share it with your friends. You can earn virtual badges for your check-ins, like the Swarm Badge we earned last spring when 50 people were checked into the Sandbar at the same time.

So last night, I noticed that check-ins at the Sandbar were quickly approaching 1000. I wasn't sure if we'd reach that number last night, but sure enough, Erika checked in and became the one-thousandth check-in.


(To be clear, these are not unique check-ins; the number of different people who have checked in on Foursquare is 372. But that tells me that a) there's still a lot of different people who have checked in to a bar that holds 49 people, and b) we have a lot of loyal, repeat customers.)

I sent a quick tweet to Erika thanking her for checking and offering her a free t-shirt. She responded almost immediately and Dave hooked her up with a prize.

See, social media can pay off with free stuff. We also have a Foursquare special that gets you free jukebox tunes for checking in, and we're working on some other fun and creative things too.

I Want to Be Mayor!

Last Saturday, I stopped by the bar for a quick errand. A group of young people were sitting at the bar with drinks, talking to Coleen and fiddling with their phones. I heard one of the guys telling Coleen that he was checking in on Foursquare and that he was trying to become "mayor."

I was intrigued, because I haven't overheard customers talking about "checking in" and "foursquare" before. I asked him if he'd earned jukebox credits yet (a free perk after checking in three times between 5-9 p.m.) and he said he thought so.

The young man then said, "I think you should get a free drink or shot for being mayor!"

Unfortunately, many people don't understand that we can't do things like that because of Kansas liquor laws. We can't give away alcohol, and we can't even discount it. A drink has to be the same price, for everyone, all day. Thus, no happy hours.

We're thinking of changing our Foursquare special soon. Any suggestions? Legal ones only, please.

Oh, and if you want to knock off Caroline as the mayor, you're going to have to keep checking in.

Free Sandbar Music with Foursquare!

Last month, we announced our jukebox specials on Whrrl, a location based social networking site. We don't know if anyone's actually redeemed jukebox credits on Whrrl, because they don't have any type of analytics available. And, unfortunately, not very many people use the service.

However, we've got some more exciting news!

Our request to add a special on Foursquare was finally approved! Foursquare is one of the largest location based social networking sites, and it's definitely the one that has the most activity in Lawrence. For those of you who aren't familiar with Foursquare, it basically allows you to "check in" when you go somewhere. Your friends- or the world- can see where you are, you can earn virtual badges, and sometimes you can even get free stuff.

And now you can get free stuff at the Sandbar. No, not alcohol, because that's illegal. But the next best thing to drinks at the Sandbar is music at the Sandbar, and now you can get some for free.

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Every third time you check in at The Sandbar between 5-9 p.m., you earn five free jukebox credits. When the special offer pops up after you check in, just show your phone to the bartender and they'll add the credits to the jukebox for you.

The special is currently only valid at the Sandbar in Lawrence.

If you're on Foursquare already, you can find our page here. Stop in sometime and make sure to check in!

Check in on Whrrl and Earn Free Music!

We have something fun to announce: you can earn free jukebox credits at The Sandbar (in Lawrence only, for now).

If you use Twitter, you're probably familiar with location-based social networking tools like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Whrrl. The big buzz about these types of networks is the growing ability for merchants to offer freebies and rewards to customers who "check in" with one of these services. Kansas liquor laws don't allow us to give away or discount alcohol, but we can offer merchandise.

You don't have to be a Twitter user to use these apps. Check out their websites for more information about how to use them.

So what are we offering?

The first service we're offering rewards on is Whrrl (because right now it's my favorite). Check in to the Sandbar between 5-9 p.m., any day of the week, and you can earn 5 free jukebox credits. You have to show the offer to the bartender, and he/she will load your credits on to the jukebox.

Here are some screenshots of what you'll see in the Whrrl iPhone app and what you need to do:

1. First, check in on your app. You can see below that I'm "checked in" at The Sandbar. Click on the section circled below in the first picture.

2. A page comes up that shows details about the Sandbar- who else has checked in, and tabs for more information. Click on the Recs/Offers tab (circled in picture 2).

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2010_whrrl offer_0002 

3. Once you've navigated to the Recs/Offers tab, you'll see our Special Offers! You can also see what users have marked the offer as "to do" or "did it." Click on the offer- if we had multiple offers available they would all show up here, but right now we only have one to choose.

4. A new page opens with the offer and a "Redeem Now" button.

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2010_whrrl offer_0004 

20100429_whrrl offer_0002 Click on the Redeem Offer Now button, and the next page that comes up is what you need to show the bartender.

This page tells you how many times you've checked in to the location, and what your status is in the "society." It also instructs you to show this page to redeem your offer.

I've requested to set up a reward on Foursquare, too, but I haven't heard back from the company about it. However, at least one customer has seen it, so it's out there. Every third check-in on Foursquare earns you five free jukebox credits. I don't have a screenshot from Foursquare yet because I haven't seen the offer.

Please be patient with our staff, and please only redeem one offer per day, per check-in service! These promotions are very new and different for us, and it may take some time for all of our staff to really understand how this works. It's a learning process for all of us!