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What coupons work for you?

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What coupons work for you?

Postby workboy7 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:38 pm

I'm planning some advertising for my restaurant, Diggity's (located inside Pooleys), and I'd like to hear what you folks think. I'm a huge fan of using coupons, as I get to see what exactly the response is.
Our current ads include $2 and $5 off any food bill, buy one get one, and buy one get one half off. Thoughts and ideas?
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby jman111 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:10 pm

"Buy one get one half off" is never enough to lure somewhere that I wasn't already planning on going.

"Buy one get one free" is.
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:47 pm

jman111 wrote:"Buy one get one half off" is never enough to lure somewhere that I wasn't already planning on going.

"Buy one get one free" is.


I agree. The "get one half off" has never lured me in. I've always like the "buy this and you get a free appetizer" or something like that. It gives a person more incentive to try other things on the menu as well. Where are the coupons?

Have you thought about Groupon or Living Social. They're not a money maker, but they get people in the door.
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:56 pm

Every year I purchase the Bucky Book and use it a lot. Buy one, get free is the norm.
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby Athena » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:05 pm

I do Groupons. I don't use traditional coupons as I don't get a paper and I don't look at junk mail. I'll use internet coupons off a company webpage but only for places that I've already decided that I'm going to. The Groupons work though for getting me to consider other places. The default is half off. Madison.com does the daily deals that are similar. Just don't do too many of those, you start to look desperate and you'll probably lose money on it (like Cilantro did).
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby LargeMarge » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:37 pm

I will use Groupon and Living Social coupons. I like them because I can store them on my phone and won't lose the coupon. If the restaurant closes before I use them, I can get a refund. I heard that they are often bad for business. I also have used Facebook and Foursquare coupons. The nice thing about those two is that I am advertising to my friends that I ate at your restaurant. Yes, we really do say.."Hey, I saw you at such-and-such restaurant. What did you think?"

I do sometimes read the paper version of the Isthmus. I never read any other paper versions of papers. I don't know anyone under 40 who subscribes to the Wisconsin State Journal. I live in a condo. Only 2 people out of about 15 on my floor subscribe to a paper. I sometimes will look at the junk mail coupons, but I often just throw them out.

I don't care much for buy one get one half off. I like get a free appetizer or dessert with 2 entrees or buy one get one free. As someone else mentioned, I might not normally try an appetizer, but a coupon would entice me.
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby fennel » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:08 pm

I guess I've just never understood the appeal of coupons. They seem like an enticement to buy something you likely don't need. And for me, that implies wasted time, wasted attention, and wasted money.

I figure if there's some new product that really merits my attention, I'll hear about it from people whose judgement I trust and who have some sense of my needs (vs. compulsions, obsessions, weaknesses, etc). That is, not via a corporate social networking site, and not from the spam innards of a print publication.

How often do you come across coupons for bulk brown rice, for example? Now there is something that might be practical (if it didn't involve wasting time poring over lists of useless offerings like gluten-free fortified mineral water). Or a coupon that offered 30% off locally-grown root vegetables.

It seems to me that, no matter how economical one is, it's better in the long-run to just focus on prices more generally, and to consider pricing trends for a given store.
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby LargeMarge » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:23 pm

fennel wrote:I guess I've just never understood the appeal of coupons. They seem like an enticement to buy something you likely don't need. And for me, that implies wasted time, wasted attention, and wasted money.


Going out to eat is not necessary nor economical. I do it because I like not having to clean my kitchen. If I can eat out cheaper by using a coupon, that means I can spend more money on something else.

The other thing I use coupons for is oil changes. If I wanted to be frugal, I would do it myself. I appreciate that it can be done while I am work. That saves me time. Time is the one thing I cannot buy more of.
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby fennel » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:13 pm

LargeMarge wrote:Time is the one thing I cannot buy more of.
Well, really, that's a big part of my point.

I've known people who could sit and listen to farm commodity reports on the radio, seemingly for hours, even though they had no practical interest in the details. For me, that's a condensed version of hell – while for others it may be just an idle pastime, like watching passing flocks of birds.

But for me, to even spend a few seconds to read the boldface on a coupon seems like an illicit distraction. I mean, do you really get a worthwhile reward every time you read a coupon? Probably not. But what's the threshold where it becomes an expenditure that does not provide a meaningful return?

I would guess those who make and sell coupons have calculated that, and it's not the end-users who will benefit.

(But if they're happy, WTF, right?)
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby msnflyer » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:46 pm

LargeMarge wrote:The other thing I use coupons for is oil changes. If I wanted to be frugal, I would do it myself. I appreciate that it can be done while I am work. That saves me time. Time is the one thing I cannot buy more of.


I use oil change coupons too. With the $17 coupon on the Hy Vee receipt I can't do it myself cheaper esp when factoring in time to buy materials and then recycle the oil. I bought a used car from Middleton Ford, oil changes for $20 as long as I own the car.

Motorcycle oil changes are another story. At $90/hour + materials I'll take the 20 minutes to do it myself. I buy OEM filters and oil when it's on sale.

Some restaurant's coupons can't offer enough to get me in the door.
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby workboy7 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:05 pm

If Fennel doesn't care for it, I must be doing something right. But seriously, I'm approached by 5 or 6 "social" or web based ad companies a week....I should get someone better attuned to recent tech savy-ness to assist me I guess, as I have only a general theory on what twitter is.
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby gargantua » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:24 pm

Here is another vote for either 50% off or buy one get one. Thing is, the only way I'd use buy one get another half off is if I were planning to walk in the door anyway. It's not enough of a motivator in itself to prompt me to make the trip.
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby fennel » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:43 pm

It's true I don't think about restaurants in the same vein as I do oil changes. If your restaurant is in an isolated location, maybe a gimmick will help get things moving. More power to you. But if that doesn't work, I think you need to think more about fundamentals.
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:08 pm

I respond better to predictably low prices, or "specials" that are also predictable (thus making them not special, I know). I am a sucker for the Falbo's 2 slices+soda for $4 deal. You don't need a coupon, you don't need to advertise it outside your own window, just be consistently the best deal around.
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Re: What coupons work for you?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:13 pm

fennel wrote:But if that doesn't work, I think you need to think more about fundamentals.
I second this. I've been to Pooley's a couple of times. I wouldn't go there to purposefully obtain a hot dog, but I still want a tasty hot dog.
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