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Business Mistakes and Restaurant.com Coupons

Yesterday, I purchased 3 coupons on Restaurant.com for a local pizzeria. They were $25.00 coupons that were purchased for $10 and I got an additional discount through my company.

The coupons have a $35.00 minimum purchase, and last night, I had an interesting experience trying to use them.

My expectations were simple: go to the pizza place, take a few people with me, have a good time, hand over the coupon, pay the difference, tip the server, and walk out a happy customer.

I’m no extreme couponer, but the experience still fell terribly short of my expectations. I had wanted to try this place for a while, and these coupons were just the thing to get me in the door!

The Big Moment

With my family in the car, we made our way to the pizza place. Once there, we began walking up to the door, coupon in hand. I reached for the handle of the door, just to read a sign that stated in large letters “We no longer accept Restaurant.com coupons issued after 8/21.”

What a terrible business tactic! I appreciate that they didn’t let me walk in the door and order before giving me the bad news, but they certainly shouldn’t be allowing Restaurant.com to sell their coupons if  they aren’t going to honor them! What a disappointment!

The Business Was Losing Money

Besides the obvious and unspecific “you’ve disappointed your customer” reason, there is a more specific reason that this decision is terrible for the business. Before I get into it, why might a business do this? Most likely, the business was probably losing money on the deal. This is the only good reason I can think of for doing this.

That seems like a good reason to not honor the coupon right? No! They limited the purchase of this coupon to 3 per customer, and you could only use 1 coupon a month. So, why should they have honored the coupons if they were losing money? Because they might have earned a repeat customer.

Why This Is a Terrible Business Decision

I’ve wanted to try this pizza place for about 5 months now, but haven’t yet. In fact, I’ve ordered pizza’s from all the big box pizza places around them, but never had the motivation to commit to trying them, and this coupon accomplished that. This coupon offered me the motivation to not only go to this pizza place, but bring other people who might have become return customers.

By not honoring the coupon, this pizza place not only lost my potential repeat business, but they lost my brother-in-laws future business. In addition, I will never suggest that place to anyone, even though they might have had the best pizza in town! All-in-all, not accepting the coupon might make sense in the short-run, but it is a short-sighted business decision in that they lost a lot of future business from multiple parties.

In addition to that loss of business, I took my family to another local pizza place and we had an excellent experience, so that doubles the damage to this pizza place. Not only did they lose my business, but their competition reaped the benefits of their shortcomings.

Restaurant.com To The Rescue

This was my first time using Restaurant.com’s service, and was afraid of the long battle I was about to wage with them. In fact, I might have shrugged the lost money off just because I figured it would take forever to get my money back anyways, but then I couldn’t write about my experience for you to read.

This is how my experience went:

I called them at 8 PM and my first call was disconnected after about 15 minutes before reaching anyone. I call a second time at 8:15 and finally reached an agent named Kim at 8:39 PM, the issue was resolved by 8:42 PM. Kim was awesome, and apologized profusely because this was my first experience. In addition, she stated that they are under contract, and should not be turning the coupons away.

She resolved my issue, and said they were also going to contact the business to find out why they are not honoring their agreement. It took a little while to reach an agent, but Restaurant.com was amazing throughout the process. They understand the lesson I’m trying to teach: give your customers an awesome experience. Even if you lose money on the first deal, you’ll make it back up the road. Great job to Kim, and Restaurant.com.

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