Dear Groupon: Zagat-rated isn’t an honor, it’s something you get by virtue of being open. It’s like boasting that you took the SATs. It’s akin to saying, “Hey, I applied to Harvard today.” We’ve been through this before, and much to no one’s surprise, you’ve used this Zagat-rated expression to boast about restaurants that don’t deserve to be boasted about.
But here’s the funny thing, Bistro La Promenade (originally La Promenade Des Anglais) is actually a pretty great place to eat. Pete Wells of The New York Times gave it a glowing two-star review and Ryan Sutton (that’s me) of Bloomberg News awarded a solid 2.5 stars.
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So the fact that your selling point is Bistro La Promenade being “Zagat-rated” either means you’re so unplugged from our culinary scene that you don’t know the difference between an actual honor and a non-honor, or it means that you just don’t care. I’m inclined to say the latter scenario is the case because you do in fact quote a local publication (Time Out New York), but you relegate TONY’s compliment to the bottom of your writeup, right by where you say Bistro La Promenade has 722 Facebook fans.  
Sure, Zagat-rated is just a single phrase (used twice) in a deal that quite frankly is a pretty good deal (half-off a great place to eat), but really, if you want to counter the notion that Groupon commoditizes individual restaurants into a generic class of cheap, don’t use a phrase that actually does taxonomize restaurants into one single, generic class of cheap.  
One last thing: If you tell us a restaurant is Zagat rated, maybe tell us what the rating is? Just an idea. In a related development, my cousin totally took a pregnancy test yesterday. 

Dear Groupon: Zagat-rated isn’t an honor, it’s something you get by virtue of being open. It’s like boasting that you took the SATs. It’s akin to saying, “Hey, I applied to Harvard today.” We’ve been through this before, and much to no one’s surprise, you’ve used this Zagat-rated expression to boast about restaurants that don’t deserve to be boasted about.

But here’s the funny thing, Bistro La Promenade (originally La Promenade Des Anglais) is actually a pretty great place to eat. Pete Wells of The New York Times gave it a glowing two-star review and Ryan Sutton (that’s me) of Bloomberg News awarded a solid 2.5 stars.

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Coupla Things:
How fancy can Groupon Reserve actually be if they’re offering meal tickets to the cheap section of Le Cirque (The Cafe) rather than the actual dining room? 
Dinner at Le Cirque Cafe costs $38 for two courses ($76 bucks for two). So why does Groupon charge $95 for two courses apiece? Because you’re paying an extra $19 for a cookbook & four chocolates. BFD.
Lunch at Le Cirque is normally $28 for two courses. Again, you’re paying $75 for lunch because you’re paying for the Le Cirque Cookbook.
Apparently, you don’t get a box of chocolates at lunch.
In Summary: You don’t go to restaurants to buy books you go to restaurants to eat food. Groupon is charging $19 more than you’d normally pay at Le Cirque just so you can get a lousy cookbook. Better to go on your own dime, and use the extra dough you save on drinks or dessert, rather than literature. 
Yep, it’s a BAD DEAL.

Coupla Things:

  1. How fancy can Groupon Reserve actually be if they’re offering meal tickets to the cheap section of Le Cirque (The Cafe) rather than the actual dining room?
  2. Dinner at Le Cirque Cafe costs $38 for two courses ($76 bucks for two). So why does Groupon charge $95 for two courses apiece? Because you’re paying an extra $19 for a cookbook & four chocolates. BFD.
  3. Lunch at Le Cirque is normally $28 for two courses. Again, you’re paying $75 for lunch because you’re paying for the Le Cirque Cookbook.
  4. Apparently, you don’t get a box of chocolates at lunch.

In Summary: You don’t go to restaurants to buy books you go to restaurants to eat food. Groupon is charging $19 more than you’d normally pay at Le Cirque just so you can get a lousy cookbook. Better to go on your own dime, and use the extra dough you save on drinks or dessert, rather than literature. 

Yep, it’s a BAD DEAL.

Here’s a pop quiz for aspiring “social media marketers.” Would you rather: 
a) Save “$698” by taking a $99 course on how to use Twitter. 
b) Save “$3,798” by taking a $199 course on how to use Twitter. 
c) Use Twitter for free. 
Throw computer out window to reveal correct answer. 

Here’s a pop quiz for aspiring “social media marketers.” Would you rather: 

a) Save “$698” by taking a $99 course on how to use Twitter. 

b) Save “$3,798” by taking a $199 course on how to use Twitter. 

c) Use Twitter for free. 

Throw computer out window to reveal correct answer. 

The Bad Deal receives more “coupon” emails from David Burke than any other chef, period. We’ve seen his venues on Living Social, Groupon, Google Offers, etc. So we’re glad Bloomberg Television's Pimm Fox asked Burke about discounting. The chef says he uses Groupons to fill empty seats, but we wonder what impact such frequent dealmaking has on the perceived value of his regular prices. Fast forward to 3:35 for Burke's comments.  

Here’s another sad example of Groupon using stock photos to make every business look the same. 
So if you’re a masseuse, think long and hard about whether Groupon will really help differentiate you from the competition. Quite the contrary, the daily deal company will make you indistinguishable from the competition. The only distinguishing factor the customer can really see in this email ad is the cost: $39-$59. You’re no longer a business with your own story to tell. You’re now just a number in a range, giving away a portion of your sales to the corporate behemoth that put you in that range. Good luck with that guys. 

Here’s another sad example of Groupon using stock photos to make every business look the same. 

So if you’re a masseuse, think long and hard about whether Groupon will really help differentiate you from the competition. Quite the contrary, the daily deal company will make you indistinguishable from the competition. The only distinguishing factor the customer can really see in this email ad is the cost: $39-$59. You’re no longer a business with your own story to tell. You’re now just a number in a range, giving away a portion of your sales to the corporate behemoth that put you in that range. Good luck with that guys. 

Dear Groupon: “Zagat-Rated” Isn’t an Honor. It’s Something a Restaurant Gets by Being Open.

Claiming that a restaurant is Zagat-rated is like saying “Hey, I got a son who goes to school, and you know what? They gave him a REPORT CARD! Wonder if the other kids got one?”

See, it’s what’s on the report card that counts. I bring this up because I see you’re running a deal for the (ahem) “Zagat-rated” Gente Ristorante, but you’re not actually showing the Zagat ratings. Kinda curious, don’t you think?  So we took a looksie and it turns out Zagat ratings for Gente are 19 for food, 16 for decor, and 21 for service. Those are all out of 30. Not too good eh? Maybe that’s why you’re boasting about the report card and not the grades?

Oh, Groupon! At it again.  

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Dear Groupon: Out of curiosity, what part of your deal making “expertise” led you to believe this plate of mystery slop (with lemon) is what couples want on a date night? I’d really like to know. REALLY. 
I’ll admit you have me at a disadvantage, because I have absolutely no idea what this is a photo of. In my nearly eight years as a food critic, I’ve seen a lot, but I sure as shinola haven’t seen this. So, nice work. Sort of.   

Dear Groupon: Out of curiosity, what part of your deal making “expertise” led you to believe this plate of mystery slop (with lemon) is what couples want on a date night? I’d really like to know. REALLY. 

I’ll admit you have me at a disadvantage, because I have absolutely no idea what this is a photo of. In my nearly eight years as a food critic, I’ve seen a lot, but I sure as shinola haven’t seen this. So, nice work. Sort of.