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Manhattan Nightclub, Restaurant Hopes RFID Will Grant VIP Treatment to Patrons

13th Street Entertainment is testing a radio frequency identification solution from EZ-Nite to identify valued customers carrying RFID cards as they enter its venues.
By Claire Swedberg
May 08, 2013

Long Island technology startup EZ-Nite has developed a radio frequency identification application designed to help businesses instantly recognize VIP customers. A company called 13th Street Entertainment is currently testing the RFID system at its restaurant, nightclub and lounge in New York City, to identify guests entering through the doors of the three venues, and thus provide the appropriate service. As part of that test, which is taking place at the building in which all three venues are located, the firm has its own staff walking through the entrance carrying their RFID-enabled ID cards. But if the technology operates as hoped, says Christian Dacus, 13th Street Entertainment's creative director, VIP guests of the Beaumarchais restaurant, the Kiss and Fly nightclub or the RdV lounge will receive cards that can help earn them special treatment.

EZ-Nite developed the technology with the aim of creating an EZ-Nite-hosted online service that would be shared by multiple businesses so that their customers could obtain a single RFID-enabled card to gain access to, or obtain coupons or loyalty offerings from, the businesses they frequent.

Near the entrance to the Beaumarchais restaurant, an Impinj RFID reader, integrated in a wooden pedestal, identifies who has entered the building.

Brian Chaplin, an EZ-Nite cofounder, was introduced to RFID as a college student at James Madison University, when his roommate was conducting research on the technology for his degree. When Chaplin graduated in 2009, he went to work at supporting corporate events and began exploring how RFID could be used at the events to track such data as how long individuals spent at particular sponsors' booths. He found, however, that the expense of creating a mobile solution that would be installed and then removed at the events made his idea too impractical.

Chaplin then shifted his focus to the hospitality industry and founded EZ-Nite. "My thought process," he says, "was focused on permanent locations that could provide a customer-centric benefit" aimed at businesses seeking ways to access their valued customers.

After development work was carried out last year, the company offered the technology as a pilot to 13th Street Entertainment, which began testing the solution approximately four weeks ago.

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