I don’t know about you, but sometimes it just irks me, as a consumer, that group buying restaurant offers on daily deal sites usually come with a bill limit. You pay $10 for $20 value, but you cannot combine vouchers in a single bill. And since restaurant meals with two or more people usually cost much more than $20, as much as you want to use your three vouchers to get 50% off the entire bill, you can’t. HungryDeals‘ new eCode system allows you to do that.
Served by the folks at popular food portal, HungryGoWhere, HungryDeals was launched sometime last Dec. We profiled the new site back in November and billed it as a “Groupon + Threadless + Food” (as they also allowed voting and resurrection of deals), and in my opinion, was to be a force to be reckoned with as it leveraged off HungryGoWhere’s immense reach and database.
Changing The Daily Deal Model For Food & Beverage Industry
Four months later, HungryDeals has undergone a revamp and launched a new system that takes it away from group buying.
Their new eCode system allows the consumer to buy a code for a small sum – their first deal under this system is for the Waruku chain of restaurants, $3.75, and this code gives 30% off the bill, the entire bill. This allows a consumer to spend however much she wants instead of keeping to a fixed sum.
Partially in response to consumers’ comments that they do not like printing out vouchers, the eCode system is now made more convenient for the diner: there is no longer a need to print out anything, the consumer gets a short numbered code all she has to do is to quote the code when calling to make a reservation. After, the discount will automatically be applied to the bill. This is great for those impromptu restaurant outings you may have.
Users can also bulk buy eCodes, getting a discount on all if they buy 5 or more.
Getting Out Of The Way Of A Finer Dining Experience
This new HungryDeals model also works out better for restaurants as they take a big hit in the typical group buying structure. In the latter, while it’s great that the restaurants get traffic, the diners weren’t staying and the restrictions in spending were getting in the way of a finer dining experience.
Now, not only is it less of a pinch to buy a voucher – for example, it is SGD 3.75 for one Waruku eCode, diners don’t have to always mentally calculate to make sure they stay within the budget.
Making It More Sustainable For Restaurants
Since launch, HungryDeals has partnered with more than 50 restaurants with several running promotions multiple times. Recall, HungryDeals allowed users to vote for past deals to have them resurrected – this proved to be a popular feature and was a great feedback loop back to the restaurants, such that they went back to HungryDeals to test with different kinds of deals.
Even so, co-founder of GTW Holdings, the parent company behind the Hungry brand name, Dennis spoke with me regarding the thin margins that restaurants make and how the typical daily deal model wasn’t sustainable for them, “Because of the wafer-thin margins that restaurants typically make, some ironically hope that their daily deal doesn’t get much response. If there is a great take-up rate for their deal, more often than not, the restaurants can’t even breakeven.” And this was why the Hungry team brainstormed for an alternative model to help restaurants market themselves in a fashion that was more likely to be sustainable.
This new model is designed to “make everyone happy”: consumers have more freedom (but lower discount: ~30% vs. 50-70%), restaurants get more revenue, HungryDeals get paid for their distribution/marketing role.