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jca's avatar

Why would a restaurant insist a Groupon is only for eating at the restaurant, not takeout?

Asked by jca (35989points) May 8th, 2016

There’s a restaurant near my job that often has Groupon available, for $7 for $15 worth of food (Thai restaurant). The “fine print” always specifies it’s not for takeout or delivery, it’s for “dining in” only. If they’re giving away fifteen dollars worth of food for seven dollars, what would it matter to them if you eat it there or take it out?

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17 Answers

Jak's avatar

Because they’re counting on you ordering more.

Buttonstc's avatar

If you’re sitting down to eat a meal, you’ll likely order more plus (hopefully) leaving a tip.

Also, they’re doing the Groupon basically to increase their regular customer base. If someone actually comes in, sits down and orders a meal, they’re investing time energy and some forethought to the experience and if they have a good experience, they’ll likely be a repeat customer.

When someone decides to be a repeat customer over time, it’s likely to be more than only the food which attracts them; the ambiance, the server experience, finding out more about an unfamiliar cuisine are just some of the intangibles which play a part.

Even if the food is great, it’s unlikely someone will be a repeat customer if anything else is glaringly unsatisfactory so they’re more conscious of ensuring a good experience for you.

ibstubro's avatar

Everything @Buttonstc said so well.
They’re not trying to give you $7 worth of food, they’re trying to create a customer.

Also, there are certain bargain hunters that will buy nearly any heavily discounted restaurant food, knowing that nearly every restaurant offers a non-ethnic course or two. You could buy the coupon, order a cheeseburger and fries to go, and never give them a second thought.

The majority of Americans are uncomfortable dining alone. $15 will not feed more than one person, generally.

Drinks (especially pop and tea) and largely profit, and the chances of that being part of your take-out order are slim.

Pachy's avatar

All comments above are absolutely correct. We advertising-marketing folks call it Loss Leader selling. World’s oldest upselling ploy.

Buttonstc's avatar


That’s really an excellent offer. Many places offering coupons of any type are in the 10–20% range.

Many years ago I worked for a company that did the group mailers for a bunch of businesses in a particular zip code.

They taught us to try our best to encourage the business owner to offer at least 30% or more for the greatest chance of a successful campaign.

I know that when I see coupons in the mail or newspaper, I’m just tossing the lesser ones. Not worth my gas money.

So, the Groupon deal is really excellent by most standards. And it’s high enough that people will make the effort to schedule a sit down dinner.

canidmajor's avatar

If the restaurant has a liquor license, they are also hoping you order drinks, which are a big profit maker. Most of the coupons like that don’t cover the bar, too, so the loss on the coupon is more than made up for by the booze.

Dutchess_III's avatar

For the same reason Walmart puts the bathroom scales in the hardware department instead of with other bath stuff, like rugs and shower curtains.

ibstubro's avatar

Because the display fixtures aren’t compatible??

Dutchess_III's avatar

Plumbing /= weight scales.

No, it’s because they know you will look for it in the bathroom aisle, where where common sense tells you they should be. Then you will wander all over looking for someone to help and eventually you walk through the whole damn store and pass 50 million things you suddenly realize you need. In fact, that’s one reason you can’t hardly find someone to help you at Walmart and you have to hunt them down. Shut up GailCalled! I see what I did there.
In fact, the clerk and I discussed it on the way. She said, “Yep they do it on purpose. It’s called “marketing.”
I said, “Yeah, but I know what they’re up to!......And it works anyway.” insert scowl.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Dutchess_III True, many companies deliberately put items in the “wrong” aisle to force customers to search for them. Our Walmart Supermarket puts the sodas and chips all the way on the back wall because of that.

ibstubro's avatar

And where, pray tell, would you look for a toilet seat? In the reading material aisle?

YARNLADY's avatar

@ibstubro No, reading material is near the front of most stores, you would want the hardware department.

ibstubro's avatar

You mean, by the bathroom scales, @YARNLADY?

Dutchess_III's avatar

You are being obtuse, @ibstubro.

jca's avatar

I would look for the scales in the aisle where the hardware stuff is – they have the toilet paper holders and the things that hang in the shower where you put the soap. Maybe it’s because I’m in Wally Mart so often that I just know where everything is haha.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“If you’re sitting down to eat a meal, you’ll likely order more plus (hopefully) leaving a tip.”

Just because you choose to take a meal home from a restaurant doesn’t mean the food, utensils, napkins and condiments magically materializes in the bag.

Someone, usually the bartender, has to take time and use effort to put it all together.

Don’t be a hated savage.


SecondHandStoke's avatar


As is usually the case, things are a little different with the business that is foodservice.

Restaurants want to put butts in seats, for two reasons:

1. Unconsciously, people prefer to eat in a busy restaurant for the excitement factor, the baraonda as it’s known in Italian. There’s even an Atlanta place that took the term as their name.

2. Consciously, people will assume, usually correctly, that an empty restaurant is a bad restaurant. Exceptions? Oh yes, for example any chain restaurant in Times Square.

This is also why we seat at the front windows first.

New York City exception. Just because a restaurant is near empty doesn’t mean it’s bad.

Rent in NYC is so expensive and most spaces are so small that a vast majority of business is made through delivery. In fact, were it not for delivery and take out most restaurants there would still go under even if every couvert was filled every night.

Delivery of everything, even illegal drugs, is wildly popular with New Yorkers.

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