DC Restaurant, Back Alley Waffles, Blames Groupon’s ‘Shocking Business Practices’ For Its Closure

Opening a new restaurant is never easy.  Apparently Groupon isn’t helping matters.  Three-month-old DC waffle shop, Back Alley Waffles, has gone out of business.  The co-owner Craig Nelsen blames Groupon.  This note was posted on the restaurants website along with an explanation:

DC Restaurant, Back Alley Waffles, Blames Groupon's 'Shocking Business Practices' For Its Closure

Grouponistas, sorry, but I’d rather have my hand slammed in a car door than honor your Groupon coupons. You’ll have to seek refunds from your new insect overlords. If you act quickly, you should get your money back by Christmas. 2015.


Here’s our Groupon story:


Groupon promises to send you lots of new customers. The customers buy 50% off coupons (two waffles for the price of one, for example). They send the money to Groupon, which issues them a code. The customer brings the code into the shop. The shop gives the customer the two waffles, collects the code, and then “redeems”, or verifies, the code with Groupon.


Does Groupon then electronically deposit the money that the customer paid them for the coupon into the business’ bank account overnight like credit card companies do? No. After taking a big chunk of the money as its share, Groupon holds on to the business’ share, using it while the business waits. And waits. And waits. And waits.


After about a month, Groupon issues the first of three payments to the business. By check. Then it has to “process” the check, which can take up to ten days. Then it snail mails the check. A month later, the process is repeated for your next installment. Then, a month later, the process is repeated again for your final installment.


Now, keep in mind, the bulk of the Groupon activity (i.e., the big surge in customers) occurs at the outset of the Groupon campaign. That means the business has to lay out all the money (in our case food and labor) up front to service this expensive campaign, but it takes roughly a month for Groupon to send the (deeply discounted) payment for the waffles those customers ate. And even then its only half or less of what is owed. The business has to wait for most of the remainder of its money until two months after laying out the cost of the food and labor. And for some of the money, it will be three months after honoring the customer’s Groupon coupon in the shop before the business is paid for that customer.


That’s the part that I didn’t expect and the part that put our new business out of business.


And that offer of $450 waffles doesn’t appear to be a joke.  He explains on his website that the hefty price tag isn’t just for breakfast:

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • a fluffy 7″ Belgian waffle with fresh-churned butter and real maple syrup
  • a 4′ x 4′ mosaic similar to the one shown below [see here] (which was stolen—if you can believe it—by two black guys and a white guy at around 3 a.m. one Friday night/Saturday morning several months ago) of the subject matter of your choice*
  • the materials with which to make the mosaic (roughly $225 at Home Depot)
  • the unparalleled experience of creating your own piece of art

Next waffling scheduled for July 28, and there are already only five spots left. To reserve a place, please contact Craig at 202 568 9448.

World’d Meat Consumption Chart – What Countries Eat the Most and Least Meat?

World'd Meat Consumption Chart - What Countries Eat the Most and Least Meat?Of all the countries in the world, would you have any idea which consumes the most meat per person? I’d certainly have guessed Brazil.  Ever been to one of those Brazilian restaurants where they give you a “Go-No Go” meat paddle?  Just acres of meat constantly running by.  It’s not Brazil, by the way.

And no t’s not the meat loving U.S. (we’re ranked second place) — it’s tiny European nation Luxembourg.  A country with more banks and corporations than people, one that’s only 2/3 the size of Rhode Island, eats 136.5 kg of meat per person a year, close to 300 pounds. Of the 177 countries included in the study, India consumed the least amount, at only seven pounds per person.

The information was gathered by the U.N. Food And Agriculture Organization (FAO) and analyzed by The Economist.  The analysis also indicates that consumption of meat has been on the rise worldwide over the last 50 years.  I suppose that’s no surprise given the rise in the standard of living.

Tastes have changed, too:

Cow (beef and veal) was top of the menu in the early 1960s, accounting for 40% of meat consumption, but by 2007 its share had fallen to 23%. Pig is now the animal of choice, with around 99m tonnes consumed.

Western countries still eat the most meat per person, however The Economist notes that it’s rising middle class countries like China that ultimately drive worldwide demand for it.  That and almost one and half BILLION people.

Rwanda (12 Pounds Per Year,) Burundi (11 Pounds Per Year,) The Democratic Republic of Congo (10 Pounds Per Year,) Bangladesh (9 Pounds Per Year,) and India (7 Pounds Per Year) round out the countries who eat the least meat.