A few months ago, I posted a note about how Groupon wouldn’t work for Babette’s, but now we are signed up for Scout Mob. What’s the difference? Well, almost 25%. Unlike Groupon, with Scout Mob, the customer comes into the restaurant and pays their 50% directly to the restaurant. If the customer brings in a text or a printed coupon with the same text number, the restaurant is charged $.50 (that’s 50 cents folks) by Scout Mob. Those codes are only available on the one day the restaurant is featured by Scout Mob. After that, the discount is available on Android phones through the Scout Mob App. When the Scout Mob App is used at the restaurant, the restaurant is charged $3.00.
If the discount is $25.00 Scout Mob takes either $.50 or $3.00. For the same discount, Groupon takes $12.50. That’s it folks. That difference of $9.50 is enough to cover food cost, labor, linen and to even to put some money in the bank. The difference is just easier to swallow in principle as well, Groupon making just as much as the restaurant from the customer? One restauranteur only made money from Groupon because so many who had purchased the coupon did not use it.
I’ve spoken with other restaurant owners. Most are happy with Scout Mob, some are not. We have been very happy. We did not raise our prices to cover some of the discount. (I love my regulars.) We are not charging a split plate charge. (We never do.) We scheduled this promotion to run during the summer months, which are our slowest and when I can hire some part time students for the summer and be able to let them go before school starts. We staffed up. Production and purchasing has been the greatest challenge. We upped our pars for food and liquor, ordered more linen, glassware and china.
We’ve seen customers back that haven’t been in for a while. We’re seeing new people who haven’t tried us before. So far so good.
It hasn’t gone off without a hitch. On the first weekend, one table printed the feature page without grabbing the discount so they didn’t have the “code”. I didn’t honor it and probably should have. Last night someone forgot their printed code. I asked them to call us back at the end of the night from home with the code and I would credit their charge card $25.00 after verifying it in our book. I don’t know if they called. We’ve been so busy, a ticket was missed in the kitchen with a birthday note, so a dessert went out without the proper fanfare. Customer was not happy. A few tickets are running a little long in the kitchen, but customers have been very understanding on that issue. I think.
It’s hard. Babette’s is closed on Mondays and both my Front of House Manager and my Sous Chef came in to finish their ordering then when they had a moment of quiet. Mondays have been my only day off. A fellow restauranteur whose spot is open seven days a week is thinking of closing some Mondays just so he can get caught up on production. The cooks are getting a workout. The servers are soaking their feet at the end of the shift. And we’re all hungry. I’ll have to buy some Stouffer’s lasagna for the staff meal this weekend.
I recently received an email from a representative from Groupon who after reading my post, told me they had restructured their promotions. Each deal program works differently for the various kinds of businesses. To business owners, look at the details and know your cost of sales. For customers, go for it, there are some great deals out there.