Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The five ways you can survive a Groupon apocalypse

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 11:25 AM

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Groupon is the Internet version of an impulse purchase in the checkout line. You've got a limited time window (24 hours), a limited deal (some percentage off) and a pithy description of food that is definitely enticing.

While it's easy to click 'purchase,' it can sometimes be far harder to remember to redeem your Groupon. And this leads to a phenomenon coined by one of our readers, Jerry, as the "Groupon Apocalypse," wherein the final weeks that the offer is still valid finds a restaurant slammed with diners hoping to redeem their Groupon. As a result, Fat City wanted to suggest five tips for surviving the inevitable "Groupon Apocalypse."

5. Befriend everyone. Social coupons are viewed by many restaurateurs as a necessary evil. They bring in new customers but are certainly costly. That passive-aggressive appreciation of new traffic combined with concerns over revenue losses and a dining room full of coupon clippers means that everyone from servers to management can be on edge. We're all human, so a show of sympathy can go a long way toward improving your service.

4. Dine at off-times. The number of reservations may force you to eat early or late, but if you're willing to be flexible when you eat, odds are that the dining room will be slightly less crowded and you can enjoy your meal a bit more.

3. Eat early, very early. Restaurants sell out of items (particularly specials) on crazy Groupon nights. So if you're trying a place for the first time and definitely want to sample a particular entree, walk in the doors when they open.

2. Keep your party small. Groupons typically come with a limit of one per table. A smaller party gives you a better shot of getting the reservation time you want and the most out of your Groupon.

1. Eat at the bar. Because Groupons don't include alcohol, redeemers rarely camp out at the bar. The coupon-obsessed set attempts to avoid costly extras like beer or cocktails. This means that there's usually more than a few bar stools open.  

What's your strategy for surviving Groupon Armageddon?

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