Clifton Kitchen issued a Groupon voucher for two courses and a glass of wine, on May 10, at a price of £21 for what would cost £54 ordinarily . Once the voucher was bought, a second email was sent out with some amendments and then a third. A final email today announced that the deal was cancelled.
I thought that it might be volume of vouchers that were bought as there have been other ‘horrible’ stories about small business suffering after Groupon.
I spoke to owner Richard Marques-Jones and mentioned that 772 vouchers, as the Groupon page still states, seemed like a lot to cover in four months. The voucher expires in October.
“772 is way off the mark, the final total was over 1000. The volume was manageable as 10% dropped out after the first amendment email.
“The problems were caused by no-shows, we turned away full paying customers only to find that tables booked by [G]roupon voucher holders weren’t actually going to turn up.”
But it wasn’t just the volume of vouchers and the customers who booked but did not show up.
“The final straw was the threat to break my neck by a customer who ignored the emails sent out by Groupon outlining changes. This was a police issue, but there are limits to what I’m prepared to put up with”.
Following this it is unsurprising perhaps that an email was sent out from Groupon today to inform those of us with vouchers that the deal had been cancelled and refunds were about to be issued.
The no shows and the violent threat weren’t the only reason this turned out badly. Marques-Jones said that “[they] are now subject to a torrent of vitriol from a small minority of individuals, as a business owner and father of 3 I could do without this.”
I was excited to buy this voucher as I have used such special price deals previously and most were successful and quite pleasant. I had been particularly looking forward to exploring the restaurant that used to be Keith Floyd’s first bistro and it’s a shame it turned out like this.
I still intend to visit however as there is a prix-fixe offer available Sunday lunchtimes: 2-courses from only £14.95 or 3-courses from £18.95 which still sounds quite good.