Groupon resurrects Groupon Reserve for high-end deals

Faith Merino · July 1, 2013 · Short URL:

Groupon Reserve is reborn to attract customers to high-end deals, starting with fine dining

Some 10 months after acquiring dining discount service Savored, Groupon is unveiling its newest channel: Groupon Reserve, where Groupon customers can find discounts and deals on luxury experiences, services, and products. To get the ball rolling, Groupon Reserve launched Monday with Savored’s reservations engine, which lets customers book tables at fine dining restaurants at discounts of up to 40%.

Groupon Reserve is currently live on the Groupon site in 10 markets: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Miami, and Washington D.C., and will be rolling out to additional U.S. cities and key international markets by the end of the year.

Additionally, in the future, the service will also include deals on top beauty, product, travel, and entertainment brands, and will also feature similar reservation capabilities for spas, salons, and hotels.

If Groupon Reserve sounds familiar, that’s because Groupon launched an early version of the service back in October 2011. The early iteration of Groupon Reserve consisted of invitation-only email offers in select markets on prix fixe menus at high-end restaurants and experiences, such as the Petrossian in New York City, NFL games, and more.

While the initial version of Groupon Reserve never actually went away, the new version will be accessible to all on and will expand to include more products and categories.

And while Groupon’s typical deal requires an upfront payment in advance before you can unlock the deal, reservation discounts through Groupon Reserve will not require any upfront payments. Customers will be able to book their reservation on Groupon Reserve for free (Savored experimented at one point with having customers put down a $10 deposit, but later scrapped that) and the discount will be applied to the final bill.

“As Groupon has evolved, we've seen growing demand from our customers for upscale offers and exclusive experiences. Reserve gives the most prestigious brands a new way to reach our large and desirable audience,” said Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky, in a statement, adding: “Whether it’s because of a slow night or a last minute no-show, even the best restaurants have empty tables. Reserve provides these businesses with a yield management solution to bring customers through their doors at the times they need them the most.”

Reserve currently offers discounts at more than 600 high-end restaurants across the U.S., including Le Cirque in New York City, Chaya Brasserie in Los Angeles, and db Bistro Moderne in Miami.

It’s refreshing to see Groupon focusing on its coupons service again. The vast majority of recent product launches from Groupon have focused on Goods or its Point-of-Sale and mobile payments systems.

As of last March, the number of North American active deals increased to nearly 40,000, up from 37,000 at the end of the previous quarter.

The company’s March quarterly earnings beat expectations as Non-GAAP operating income (excluding stock compensation) came in at $51.2 million, or $0.03 a share on revenue of $601.4 million. Street consensus called for non-GAAP operating income of $29 million on revenue of $591.3 million.

Shares were up 1.7% to $8.69 Monday morning. 

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