Tag Archives: groupon

BBQ, Image from MorgueFile

Central’s Week in Brief: June 10

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

1)       Just in time for Father’s Day (next Sunday, June 19) comes Barbecue scented cologne, by Pork Barrel BBQ.    If your dad, grandfather, husband etc. would love to smell like smoked meat without actually having to fire up the grill, this item can be purchased for $24.95 including shipping.   If you think he’d rather eat the BBQ, check out our recipe below and keep an eye out for Central’s upcoming grilling guide.

2)       MIT has been hard at work lately working on a robot named PR2.  What does this have to do with the food industry?  Well, PR2 may be the next in a line of robots coming in to the food industry following robot waiters and cooks.  Currently, this particular robot is training on how to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch and even clean up after itself!   BBQ, Image from MorgueFile

 3)       While we did report on “A Taste of America” on our Facebook earlier in the week it’s definietely worth another mention (especially since our home state of Indiana is still in the running).  The contest, run by Capitol Hill’s CQ Roll Call and sponsored by the National Restaurant Association, is five weeks long in total  with one more round to go before the winner is announced on June 21 at We, The Pizza in Washington, D.C.  Check out the contest here and remember to vote for your favorite (again, we recommend the Indiana pork tenderloin, but we may be a bit biased).   

4)       Groupon filed to take their company public last week and now this week they went to the grocery store.   Instead of your traditional online-only deal, Groupon paired with Massachusets grocery store Big Y to load a deal for a seafood grill pack (normally $39.99) onto the buyers Big Y grocery loyalty card, the discount was then reflected when the loyalty card is scanned at checkout.  While it may just seem like another way to get a good deal to you and me, it’s really the next step in the discount system for Groupon putting them in place to compete with general coupon suppliers and partner more easily with stores that have loyalty cards. 

5)       And since it’s been getting hotter and hotter out there lately, why not kickback and celebrate the weekend with a cold drink?  Try this Strawberry Agua Fresca from Eat, Live, Run and pair it with this great recipe for Grilled Spicy Citrus Ribs from Simply Recipes (to get the food along with the BBQ smell).

 

Image from MorgueFile

Daily Deals: 3 Tips for Your Restaurant’s Experience

Image from MorgueFileIf you have the internet, watch TV, go to restaurants or have simply just been living and breathing for the past few years, chances are you’ve heard of and maybe even used a daily deal site.  The concept is usually as follows: A daily deal company pitches the idea of their company to a restaurant, the restaurant agrees, the company sells certificates for the restaurant to customers for half the price (Ex: a $50 certificate is sold for $25) and once the certificates are sold a percentage goes back to the restaurant and the rest is profit for the daily deal company.

This method has proven quite successful for companies like Groupon and Living Social , both estimated to be worth somewhere in the billions.  However, that also means there are clones of these daily deal companies popping up every day (with businesses like Google and Facebook being two of the bigger ones).

While it may seem like all of these companies would overload the market, there is still a need/want for more and more.  After all, consumers are always looking for a deal and restaurant owners are never ones to turn away business, especially in a down economy.

However, while the discount sites may seem like a win-win on the surface, this may not be the whole story.  The tips below cover just a few of the often overlooked specifics that could help protect restaurants from coming up with a losing score in the daily deal game.

1)  Be a Part of Creating the Fine Print

Businesses are often quick to jump at a chance to get people in the door with free advertising, the hope that customers will spend past the coupon amount and the promise of a nice percentage check from the sale of said coupons.  But to really make it work it is imperative that business owners are able to set restrictions on coupon use (i.e. if you’re busiest on the weekends make sure deals can only be used Monday through Friday).  At the same time, going too far overboard with restrictions can turn a customer away from the purchase (i.e. Offer is only good for a specified meal choice).   If setting these restrictions isn’t possible, restaurants could run the risk of upsetting customers due to long waits and overworking their staff on already busy evenings.

2)    Have Realistic Expectations  

Probably the most key element to signing up for a deal program is knowing exactly how much you’ll be receiving back once the coupons are sold and if it will be enough to help instead of hinder your business.

Hamilton Nolan of Gawker.com reminds, “Groupon often takes half of the money of a coupon offering for itself, and, with a 50% discount, leaves the business selling its goods for 25 cents on the dollar.”    And while even getting that small amount back may sound tempting, once normal costs like labor, food, etc. are calculated in you may realize that the return on investment is even smaller or worse, non-existent.

While considering the financial side, it’s also a good idea to think about how these deals could bring down morale as well.  In article in The Boston Globe, Joanne Chang, operator of Myers + Change in Boston warned, “Every restaurant tries to charge a price they think is fair based on what they put into it. Then to just give it away, it makes me sad. I don’t like feeling what we do is devalued.’’

3)    Coupons Don’t Create Loyal Customers

Even though daily deal programs get the word out about your business and may even increase traffic during otherwise slow times, doesn’t mean that’s where the selling to customers stops.  As noted on smartmoney.com, “They (daily deals) also introduce consumers to experiences they might not otherwise consider if they weren’t deeply discounted.”  Following this philosophy, many patrons will more than likely be stopping by for the first time which means that the deal site has accomplished their task, but now it’s up to your restaurant to provide excellent food and service in order to make the customer realize that even if no coupon was involved, your business is worth paying full price for in the future or even recommending to a friend.

While there are seemingly endless tips, tricks and words of advice available, ultimately deciding whether a daily deal site could help your business is dependent on you and your establishment.  However, sitting down and taking these tips, the advice of other businesses and the deal site sales pitch into consideration could help you make the decision to be the next big deal which, if executed correctly, could also make you the next hot restaurant.

Has your business participated in daily deals?  Ever purchased one for yourself?  We’d love to know how it worked!  Please share your tips and advice in the comments.