Restaurant Threatens to Sell $450 Waffles & Blames Groupon for Killing Business

wafflesA good waffle shop went down this week, and they're blaming Groupon. When Back Alley Waffles in Washington, D.C. closed its doors, they used their last dying breath to claim it was all because of the "bloodthirsty business practices of Groupon."

And yeah, if you've still got your un-redeemed Groupon coupon for the waffle house? "You'll have to seek refunds from your new insect overlords" (i.e. Groupon), the waffle house owners posted on their website. "If you act quickly, you should get your money back by Christmas 2015."

Okayyyy, someone is royally pissed at Groupon. What happened here? Did Groupon kill a good restaurant? And could they also kill your favorite restaurant?

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Here's what Back Alley Waffles says happened: Supposedly when a restaurant signs up for an online coupon deal with Groupon, it can take a two or three months before they get finally paid the full amount. But meanwhile, the restaurant still has to pay for ingredients and labor.

Groupon claims that's not exactly true. They say Back Alley has gotten "2/3 of their share of the revenue" now since the deal ran two months ago. Which, um ... hmm. Still sounds like two months later Back Alley hasn't gotten fully paid. But they say the restaurant knew it would take months to get paid and they signed an agreement anyway.

Back Alley co-owner Craig Nelson admits he runs his restaurant on a shoestring budget. It's a new place, and he just doesn't have the cash to tide him over while he waits to get paid for food he served people two months ago. So can small, new restaurants like his afford to do Groupon deals? Maybe not. But they do it anyway for the publicity.

Which means maybe if I hear of a cute, new neighborhood restaurant online, I'll just give it a try with my own regular ol' money instead of with an Internet-spawned coupon. It's kind of hard to enjoy my dinner if I know the restaurant won't get paid until long after I've digested it.

Oh -- but if you're in D.C. and craving a waffle, you can still get one at Back Alley. For $450. Gulp.

Do you ever use online coupon sites for discounts on restaurants?

 

Image via The Culinary Geek/Flickr

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