As Vinicius Vacanti, co-founder of daily deal aggregator Yipit pointed out, the New York Times ran three separate stories today on the explosion of companies in this industry.
In a piece for the Dining section, restaurant owners express their shock and awe at the number of deal sites, groupon clones and coupon brokers beating down their doors. They describe being pitched in person, on the subway and in a relentless barrage of email. The article, without citing a specific source, claims a dozen daily deal sites are being born each week.
No one, it seems, is really digging out a broad picture to give a sense of whether or not this trend benefits restaurants, an important factor if Groupon’s incredible growth is to continue leading up to an IPO.
Instead we’re left with back and forth anecdotes.
“After Ed Brown, of Ed’s Chowderhouse in Manhattan, gave a few luxe deal sites a spin, he concluded that “the discount doesn’t bring any more money to the bottom line.” He added, “There is no way you’ll ever make money on them, and we didn’t.”
“Think of how much it would cost you to hire public relations people, though you’re never sure what media will be interested,” Mr. Massari (of Piccolo Cafe) said. “But Groupon gave us a massive marketing campaign that a small business like ours would never be able to afford.”
One clear beneficiary? Sites like Yipit that have a flood of new sources to draw on each day for deals and don’t interact directly with merchants or their bottom line.