Clifton Kitchen, sometimes you can’t please everyone

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.”

Clifton Kitchen has had some great reviews from Foodies around Bristol and beyond but also some recent ones that were a little more cautious about going back.

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.

One response to “Clifton Kitchen, sometimes you can’t please everyone”

  1. Reading various sites, blogs etc, it is clear to me that Mr Marques-Jones has serious regrets. Maybe Groupon didn’t provide as much help as they could have, maybe MR M-J didn’t explore the pros, cons thoroughly enough. One thing is for sure, in getting embroiled in a serious of tit-for-tat commiunications with a whole raft of customers and critics, he has forgotten the key phrase ‘The customer is king’. He may not always be right but he is still king! Great customer service and a lot less ego would have nipped things in the bud. Now, sadly, he has a reputation to rebuild as most folk will adopt the ‘no smoke without fire’ approach and book elsewhere. I know I will.

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