The Groupon Theory

by Ryan @ MRPR on June 14, 2010

To paraphrase Haley Joel Osment, I see dead restaurants.

About a month ago, I was asked on Twitter what restaurant I thought would close next.  My response: “I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this, but if you want to know who’s next, just go to http://www.groupon.com/miami/.”

Well, I never got in trouble for this thinly-veiled reference to Pacific Time, which was at the time a featured coupon on the website.  (For a little background, Groupon is a website that sells coupons for restaurants, massages, dental exams, you-name-it at a steep discount.  The theory being that the coupon does not “unlock” unless a certain number of people purchase it.  Once they do, everyone gets the coupon and the restaurant or other vendor gets some cash up front.)  I bought a $60 “Groupon” for $25.  Fortunately, I used the coupon last week.  This week brings news that Pacific Time is closing (hat tip: Eater Miami).

Back to the Groupon Theory: The restaurant is getting a bit of cash now but stands to take a hit later when you actually use the Groupon.  I don’t tend to have much confidence in the long-term viability of a place that makes this offer.  Plus, once you eat $60 worth of food at Pacific Time for $25, why would you ever go back and pay full price?  (The only other Groupon I’ve purchased was to Minibar, also in the Design District.).  In my opinion, the very act of signing up with Groupon speaks volumes about a restaurant.  It is a total confidence-buster for patrons and seems to represent a restaurant’s last gasps for air.

That being said, Pacific Time will be sorely missed.  It was once an excellent restaurant, especially in its newer Design District iteration.  While Michael’s Genuine was the catalyst, Pacific Time lended credibility to the idea that this new neighborhood had arrived.  I’m glad I got a chance to return last week and if I had known it was about to close, I would have poured my beer out on the ground out of respect.

This is not to say that Chef Eismann doesn’t have tricks up his sleeve.  Pizzavolante is still a favorite, the Brooklynese Calzone is meant to be washed down with a Mexican Coke.

Eater Miami also reports that Eismann will team up with Team Chodorow to bring an El Scorpion to the Design District and to bring Q to South Beach.  You’d think that Miami Beach and Miami are two different cities hundreds of miles apart.  Sometimes they feel that way.  Now I’m just waiting for Mango’s to open up in the Moore Building.

{ 1 comment }

sungod June 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm

These daily deal sites are poping up everywhere….

http://www.dealon.com/miami/deal/today

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