Email Deals on Restaurants in Dallas: Good, Bad, or Ugly

Do you get several emails a day from companies like Groupon that offer discounted meals at Dallas restaurants?Some local businesses have experienced great success while others have lost money and have spent hours haggling with dissatisfied potential customers. One consumer asks the question

My girlfriend knows I love [fancy Italian restaurant], and she came across an offer on one of those coupon sites (Groupon/Living Social/Gilt City) recently so she bought one. Then today I got an email from a different coupon site for another deal at [same fancy Italian restaurant]. I don’t know how helpful these sites are for a business, but do you or any of your restaurant people think they are a sign that a restaurant is in trouble? Or is it just [fancy Italian restaurant] hoping to stir up some new business?

I’d love to hear from owners and customers: how has this new wave of coupon-clipping worked for you? If you could make it better, what would you do? Go.



  • yvonne crum

    Just read the fine print.. i got one from Living Social for Gordos.. it was a great deal .. it was Mayo’s birthday so I bought one for all 6 of us for the evening.. Well, you can only use it 1 per table… so I thought should I have each one of them ask for their own table and then all move to mine.. Of course being silly… but i thought it was one per customer.. and they all were not Crums. but it still didn’t work… not their fault … mine for not reading the whole coupon… beware.. I just bought one for Burger house for $7 … good for $14 of food.. not bad.. I’ll have fries with that!

  • I remember running into this story a while back.

    Looks like business owners are somewhat wary of sites like Groupon.

  • Krista Nightengale

    I recently did several deals for restaurants in a city I traveled to. One of the restaurants was a tiny hole-in-the-wall place. It was delicious. But the deal was for $96 worth of food. Try as we might, my husband and I could not order that much food. We only got up to $75. So the waitress just included her tip on the bill and tax and was going to let us walk out without paying anything. I was confused by this. Would this mean that she wouldn’t actually get a tip? I didn’t understand how that would work for her, or the restaurant. So we tipped her past the $96. I love getting the deals, but I just feel like the restaurants end up losing out. Especially those restaurants we visit while on vacation. It’s not like we’ll become regulars.

  • A. B.

    They are great for trying new restaurants or if you luck into a deal for a restaurant you would go to anyway. I’ve never had a problem redeeming them.

    I think that ‘coupon culture’ is so pervasive now that it has to have a bottom line impact on restaurants and other retail establishments. Whoever has the deal-of-the-day/week/month gets a lot of customers who don’t pay full price, and who might not ever come back and pay full price.

    With so many deal sites out there, many customers are used to using a coupon or getting some kind of deal on everything (see also: Macy’s, JCPenney and other department stores and their ‘best deals of the year’ each and every weekend. Remember when Foley’s would have a Red Apple sale every week?).

  • Amy S

    It’s also a question of whether you want your non-coupon guests bearing the cost of the coupon guests. At some point the place has to break even, if they are discounting more than their profit just to get people in the door, then the rest of the diners make up for that in the regular prices.

  • We’ve heard restaurants get good results from our DealSavers, but that’s partly because the coupons are promoted in the paper.

    What worries me is that I see some coupons for restaurants that I know will be gone before customers use them. Buyers should be warned that coupons are like gift cards — use them as soon as possible.

  • Couponing 101

    We have used 2 of these with varying degrees of success. The first was Living Social and we did $10 for $20 and it was pretty good. think we sold 450. We learned a few things and tried it again on Groupon. This time we realized that with Living Social 2 people can eat for about $21.00 so we only got a couple of dollars in oversales to help off set the “marketing” part of the deal. So this second time we ran $7 for $15 and now we get $6 to $7 over the sale. Second we made sure we had the fine print as 1 per table due to people trying to use up to 7 on a single visit. We also chose to run it for a shorter period ( 3 month instead of 6 months). The second time around we collected email adress and built our own email data base to offer deals directly to consumers that have been in before.
    Since the deal on these type of couponing is the cafe eats the difference between the $7 and $15 which is $8 and of the $7 dollars that is collected the cafe only recieves half of that then you are really getting $3.50 and giving out $15.00 worth of goods. Not a money maker. You will need to look at it as advertising to a specific clientel and realize that it will be the returning guest that will make it profitable.
    We are by no means in trouble, I just think it is important to keep our name out there and wanted to see if this was a good fit.
    One other thing to consider is putting a top limit on how many get sold, keep it managable and spread the cost over several months. Just my observations…

  • irodguy

    I am a Groupon junky and purchase many of them annually. There are coupons that have obviously been for poor under performing restaurants, but most are for places just needing more traffic.

    The groupons have introduced several new places that I “meant” to try but had not gotten to yet.

    I have had a couple of negative experiences with chef changes, and or restaurants be out of business, but overall very positive.

  • Doug

    I use Scoutmob.
    They do not charge the user anything for the feature.
    They have a cool app. They are kinda cool to begin with… I am not super comfortable going on a date and using a Groupon, but Scoutmob is different. It seems like it is less about getting a deal than getting a chance to try a new place or a place that I had not been to for a while. Groupon seems cool for other stuff though, like Golf, or a teeth cleaning.

  • Kelly

    I am also a Groupon/Saveology/Social Living -whatever junkie! I do not buy them if it is not somewhere I had wanted to try or frequent already. I would think people would use it like any other discount of one per table, and you tip on the original amount, but I know not everyone is like that.

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  • Check out TangoTab. We are an innovative, online marketing platform for restaurants and bars only. It is free for the consumer and there is no up-front charge for them. They can see deals, events and offers at top restaurants in town. Restaurants have full control of their offers, time/place/day and quantity is up to them. LASTLY, a portion of every reservation that is made goes to the fight against hunger! It’s a win-win situation for all!!!