TNMA gathers support for ID scanning mobile app

(l-r) Steve Kaufman, Edward Angelino and Bobby Jaen.
Community News Group/Sarah Valenzuela

The Throggs Neck Merchants Association has set their sights on a new mobile ID scanner application for its burgeoning restaurant and bar community.

The app, which is an Internet-based storage program called ‘IDScan.net,’ would help bar and restaurant owners scan IDs and verify customers that come to their establishments.

The premise of the program would be to prevent problems before they occur, an idea that was thought of just days after the March 7th Vapor Lounge incident that sparked widespread community concern.

“Safety is something that needs to be addressed,” said TNMA president, Bobby Jaen. “We want people in the community and those who come to the area that they are in a safe environment.”

According to data collected by the IDScan.net website, 1% of customers cause 98% of problems at retail, restaurant and nightlife establishments in the US.

“You can’t kick someone out of an establishment without reason, but you can prevent troublemakers from coming in the door,” continued Jaen.

The app would help establishments connect with each other and identify individuals who have caused problems at their venues or who have been banned at similar businesses.

“We’re not policeman and we’re not trying to put red flags on someone with one incident,” said Steve Kaufman, TNMA legal advisor.

“We want to help merchants know if they should monitor certain customers before they come in,” clarified Kaufman.

So far the organization has gathered the interest of 15 bars and restaurants in the area including Vapor Lounge, Casa, Sapito’s, Havana Cafe, Cabo, Parq, and Mamajuana Café, who had actually began using the app.

Head of operations at Parq, Emmanuel Colon, was the one who introduced it to the rest of the merchants after hearing about it at the bar and nightlife convention in Las Vegas in February.

Colon has also been trying to gather more support for its use because the larger the network of merchants using it grows, the more effective the app will be.

In addition to identifying troublesome customers, the scanner can also verify all government IDs, helping management and security determine fake IDs.

Even the Crosstown Diner showed interest in the app to help support the merchants and the community, according to Bill Tsibidis, co-owner of the diner.

The TNMA has also established a connection with the 45th Precinct and plan to work alongside their community affairs department in the implementation of the program, according to Jaen.

Much of the work the TNMA has done recently, including their efforts to help establishments in the community with safety, have helped increase their membership, according to TNMA new member coordinator, Edward Angelino.

“They see we’re there to help merchants and the community before problems arise and even after,” said Angelino.

The IDScan programs implementation is still in its preliminary stages and the TNMA has no set start date.

The extent of the establishments on the IDScan network in the area, depend on the number of establishments that actually decide to pay for it.

For merchants interested in learning more about the Throggs Neck Merchants Associations and the IDScan app, contact Bobby Jaen at (646) 657-1312 ext. 1.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at svalenzuela@cnglocal.com.

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