I’m sure this is a situation that’s starting to happen more and more often as Groupon gets bigger and bigger (what up Chicago-based start-ups!) …
Just a bit ago, (okay, it’s actually been over a month now) I went to Tank Sushi with my wife and a friend for dinner. We were going there because we had a Groupon – an expiring Groupon. As in, expiring on the day we went. (Can you see where this is going?)
We got there about 8:30 and were told it would be about midnight before we would be seated. Now, if it were just me, I’d say “funk dat!” and use the 3 hours to make up for the $20 I would have lost by not using the Groupon.
But, since I was with my wife and a friend who I hadn’t seen in a while, we were okay with waiting for 3 hours since there were plenty of things to talk about.
As we waited, the length of wait for people who came in after us was given as anywhere from 11pm to “We’re not going to be able to get you in.” The point is not the variation, though, but rather that the restaurant was staying open an extra two to three hours just to accommodate all the people who’d waited until the last minute to use their Groupons.
Here’s my solution: Give restaurants (and other Groupon offering establishments) a sign (preferably designed by either the person who does the Foursquare badge or the oatmeal [that dude is awesome]) that would basically say “You waited till the last minute and now we have too many people up in here. Let this be a teaching moment for you.”
Of course, they might just be able to turn the old Twitter Fail Whale upside-down and have all the little birds bringing the big guy down.
So, really, I guess the question is: Can something like Groupon be too big for it’s own good? Even with their “diversification” via “personalization”? People are looking to cut costs just as much as businesses in this economy…