They know that failure to honour the vouchers could actually mean their reputation is damaged rather than enhanced.Alan Oxlade and his wife Wendy run a pub, The Shoulder of Mutton, in Playhatch, south Oxfordshire.The 50-year-old baker from Reading agreed to offer a 75 per cent discount on a dozen cupcakes, selling them for £6.50 instead of the usual £26.The cupcakes are normally a minor part of her business, Need A Cake, with sales of around 100 a month.Good news, one might have imagined, in such straitened times. Which is hardly surprising, given that he has pocketed a paltry £5.50 a head for the privilege of serving his award-winning food (glass of wine included) to some 750 of those customers.The system works as follows: subscribers log on to Groupon’s ‘deal-a-day’ website where they can buy a voucher that offers a number of daily discount deals on anything from restaurant meals to spa treatments.‘It has given me the confidence to consider opening up another branch.’ Unfortunately, there are others whose experiences are less positive.
The firm needed six new staff to cope.‘Our business is growing much faster than it would have done without Groupon,’ says Chris, 38.
Previously, she had successfully advertised discounted offers with similar ‘group-buying’ companies, such as Keynoir, and thought Groupon (the biggest player in the market) would deliver repeat business and help spread the word about her company.
Mrs Jackson-Matombe says she was then persuaded to drop the price further to make it more attractive. I feared it would be too cheap but they told me that once I had done the oven scrub, I would be able to sell customers another service — a deep clean — for our normal £140 price.
They discounted their boiler service by 61 per cent, offering it at £39, of which they kept £15.60. ‘We didn’t make very much out of it, but it was very good for the business as it got a lot of new customers in,’ said Mrs Wilson.
Another company to benefit is Revolve Studios, a photographic makeover studio with outlets in Cheltenham and Cardiff.