Groupon is poor value

I bought a $30 coupon to Hobee’s for $15. I spent $67 with friends. However, since we ordered 2 $9 mimosas at half off, we couldn’t use the Groupon. Rather than Hobee’s accepting the fact that I spent well over $30, they charged me the full price for the Mimosas, making my net savings at Hobee’s $6. That’s less than 10% of my total bill.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. Tandori Oven of San José and even my beloved the Mmoon have weaseled out of Groupon’s or similar by negating anything that remotely seems like a deal at their stores.

I feel like a bunch of restaurant owners bought into the “Groupon” marketing concept and saw their (I imagine) already slim margins, get even slimmer - so they are making Groupons unusable.

Here’s the math, as I’ve understood it:

  • You buy a coupon: $10 for $20 of an item.
  • Groupon gets $5, the store gets $5.
  • The store is effectively discounting something by up to 75%.

What these stores fail to understand:

  • I’m discounting my meal by a non-trivial amount.
  • In return I buy more than I need to.
  • I also tip their employees a bit more.
  • I will stop going to their store if they attempt to nickel and dime me.

So I’m going to hold off on Groupons unless I go somewhere where I always pay the same price and they have no “specials” or “deals” that I might get side tracked with. The process is a horrible user-experience, for moderate savings.