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Heads up! Etete is featuring a deal of Groupon right now.

 

Does anyone else think that Groupon and Living Social have become little more than a signal that a restaurant is either: (1) not doing well financially and, therefore, may not be as good as it once was due to cost-cutting measures (the dreaded "death spiral"); or (2) was never very good to begin with? I swore off both "deal" sites quite a while ago, but I haven't unsubscribed to either's email list yet. I still look at the "deals" periodically, but only to know what restaurants should be on my "avoid" list.

It's funny how flawed this business model is given that nearly everyone, including me, thought these sites were the "next big thing" only a short while ago. It turns out, good places don't want to offer deep discounts and places that want to offer deep discounts generally aren't good places. It seems obvious . . . now.

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Does anyone else think that Groupon and Living Social have become little more than a signal that a restaurant is either: (1) not doing well financially and, therefore, may not be as good as it once was due to cost-cutting measures (the dreaded "death spiral"); or (2) was never very good to begin with? I swore off both "deal" sites quite a while ago, but I haven't unsubscribed to either's email list yet. I still look at the "deals" periodically, but only to know what restaurants should be on my "avoid" list.

It's funny how flawed this business model is given that nearly everyone, including me, thought these sites were the "next big thing" only a short while ago. It turns out, good places don't want to offer deep discounts and places that want to offer deep discounts generally aren't good places. It seems obvious . . . now.

I agree with you for probably 90% of the cases (sometimes a restaurant just needs an infusion of cash for start-up, expansion, etc. - but that would fall into my 10%).

Groupon is largely a hospital for restaurants, and the more coupons you can buy + the further the expiration date is in the future, the riskier things become.

I'm pretty sure that if you scroll up in this thread, you'll find that I wrote pretty much the same thing you did. There wasn't a bigger buyer of these coupons in the country than I was when they first came out (heck, I was going to these places anyway), but that only lasted about a year.

I, too, stopped buying them, years ago. Largely because I began to feel cheap (Entertainment-book cheap) by using them. (And I never thought they were the next big thing!)

And yet, Arrowine uses these coupons for non-wine items. At this point, Arrowine's cheese has gotten so expensive that I can't see *not* using a coupon - and honestly, even with a 50%-off discount (which I usually forget to use), their cheese has become too expensive for me.

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Does anyone else think that Groupon and Living Social have become little more than a signal that a restaurant is either: (1) not doing well financially and, therefore, may not be as good as it once was due to cost-cutting measures (the dreaded "death spiral"); or (2) was never very good to begin with? I swore off both "deal" sites quite a while ago, but I haven't unsubscribed to either's email list yet. I still look at the "deals" periodically, but only to know what restaurants should be on my "avoid" list.

It's funny how flawed this business model is given that nearly everyone, including me, thought these sites were the "next big thing" only a short while ago. It turns out, good places don't want to offer deep discounts and places that want to offer deep discounts generally aren't good places. It seems obvious . . . now.

I think there are a lot of reasons how and why businesses, including restaurants, and especially restaurants might use grouponse and LS's.   Clearly among them are the financial reasons stated above. One additional reason is that the eyeball reach of both groupon and LS in this region is HUGE.  I believe they are both over 1 million in total.  I have no idea if they are growing or shrinking.

On the restaurant side its pretty crazy.  Think about it this way w/ a restaurant w/ 100 seats total and capacity for 2 evening sittings and 1 lunch sitting.

That means capacity is 300/day or 2100/week or about 109,000 seats/year.  That would be great to fill that.  Possibly Rose's is doing something like that.  Some other hugely popular places.  But most don't get near that.

How do you reach 100,000 diners/year?   Groupons and LS's can help.

Whether or not the eyeball reach or email lists are growing or shrinking I've heard that responses are less.   People might not be checking the deals.  I don't.  I'm overwhelmed by the volumes of emails by both of them.  Consumers could be becoming fatigued by deals.

On the business side there have been examples where businesses have "beaten" the problems innate to LS and Groupon--and they benefit from the huge and additional exposure and spurt of business.

There are processes that could work that enable the businesses to benefit from the exposure.

Just think...some of the "deals" might have nothing to do with a desperate need for cash...but might represent clever methods to reach new customers and then bring them on as regulars with good service.

Of course I wouldn't know.  I virtually never look at them and then even more rarely use them.   But I do know you could turn them to your advantage if you've fully worked out a lot of issues before ever issuing the LS or groupon.

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Sushi Taro is running a deal right now open for a few more days. Good only on certain days and early in the evening or last seating so I'm guessing they are just trying to even out the service flow through out the night and week. I think they used to do Savored too and only had slots early in the evening or for the last seating. Sure hope it's not a bad sign...

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Sushi Taro is running a deal right now open for a few more days. Good only on certain days and early in the evening or last seating so I'm guessing they are just trying to even out the service flow through out the night and week. I think they used to do Savored too and only had slots early in the evening or for the last seating. Sure hope it's not a bad sign...

Yes, see, something like this is no different than happy hour (or having lower prices at lunch than dinner). It keeps your cooks and servers working during off-days and off-hours.

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Restaurant.com has some decent coupons that we use for the greater Cleveland Park/Woodley Park/Van Ness area.  We recently used one for St. Arnold's Mussel Bar, which is solidly decent for a low key meal when we just feel like going out in the hood.  Knocks some bucks off our order, which tends to be a couple apps, split a pot of mussels and frites, and drink a couple of beers.  We certainly aren't regulars, but its in our rotation.

If they put the coupons up online, I have no problem using them.  

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If they put the coupons up online, I have no problem using them.    

As well you shouldn't - that I feel cheap is my problem. Management *wants* people to use these; I just get tired of that "slight hesitation" from servers when they find out you're a coupon customer. :)

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Groupon now has a Taiko Sushi offer -- $30 value for $18, plus you can qualify for 15% more as a bonus deal, so I scored one for $15.30. Will be checking it out soon.

The offer ends this Sunday, Aug, 30, 2015.

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Does anyone else think that Groupon and Living Social have become little more than a signal that a restaurant is either: (1) not doing well financially and, therefore, may not be as good as it once was due to cost-cutting measures (the dreaded "death spiral"); or (2) was never very good to begin with? I swore off both "deal" sites quite a while ago, but I haven't unsubscribed to either's email list yet. I still look at the "deals" periodically, but only to know what restaurants should be on my "avoid" list.

It's funny how flawed this business model is given that nearly everyone, including me, thought these sites were the "next big thing" only a short while ago. It turns out, good places don't want to offer deep discounts and places that want to offer deep discounts generally aren't good places. It seems obvious . . . now.

I agree with the general point.  We do buy them for Curry Mantra, Passage to India, London Curry House, Pete's, and BGR from time to time though.  All places that still seem good IMO.  The BonChon in Annandale even offered one recently.  Pickings are fairly slim otherwise.

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Groupon now offers Groupon+.  You don't need to buy anything. Just add the participating restaurant and anytime you use a linked credit card, you'd get a refund.  

I just got 20% back at Asian Origin over the weekend.  

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In STL a few weeks ago I was looking up the Lewis and Clark boathouse on google maps and saw and ad for Group On tickets for $6 instead of $10.  Went ahead and bought those and they marked them used via my phone.. First time using groupon in a while.

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It's interesting to read through this thread, and see how things have changed.

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