NEW YORK — Down a shot of tequila at The Blind Burro and the second round may cost you more. Or less. It all depends on what everyone else is drinking.

Tequila prices at the San Diego bar and restaurant can change every five minutes based on demand. If more people order one tequila brand, the price of another might drop. Software, created by Los Angeles-based The Drink Exchange, tracks what drinkers buy and flashes the changing prices of more than two dozen tequila brands on TV screens hung on the bar’s walls. On a recent night, a shot of Espolon Blanco tequila was $7.75 one minute and fell 50 cents to $7.25 a few minutes later. At the same time, another brand rose a dollar to $12 a shot.

The quick change in prices is known as dynamic pricing. It’s a strategy airlines have used for years, charging more for flights on summer weekends or ahead of Thanksgiving and other busy holidays. Cab hailing app Uber does it, too, raising fares when more people need a ride.

Now other industries are doing it, including zoos, sports teams and producers of live shows, and even more will likely join them thanks to software that can crunch data and tell businesses when prices should go up or down.

The software companies say they have seen rising demand for their services. The Drink Exchange, for example, is in more than 20 restaurants or bars.

“In the old days, dynamic pricing was thought of as a pricing technique used in fixed capacity industries such as airlines,” says Rafi Mohammed, a pricing strategist. “But the new thinking is dynamic pricing can be used in any industry where demand or supply fluctuates.”


That means you’ll likely pay more to visit a zoo, catch a ball game or watch a Broadway show on a Saturday, when everyone else wants to go. But it can also mean paying less if you go on a weekday. Businesses that use dynamic pricing say they make more money from those paying top dollar. The Blind Burro, for example, says that tequilas featured on its TV screens sell better than those not listed on the screens.

Besides more money, businesses say dynamic pricing has other benefits, such as controlling crowds.

Dynamic pricing also helps deter scalpers, who buy several seats for live shows to resell for higher prices

Back at The Blind Burro, falling tequila prices didn’t tempt Lindsey Dekuiper. The stay-at-home mom visiting from Chicago stuck with one drink.

Still, she couldn’t keep her eyes off the changing prices.

“I should be paying more attention to my husband but I’ve been watching the screen,” she says, looking at her husband and laughing: “Sorry.”

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