Photo: Julie Mossler / Twitter
Craig Nelsen, the owner of the Washington, D.C., waffle restaurant who blamed Groupon for putting him out of business has struck back at the daily deal site’s claims that he miscalculated the economics of the deal.In a memo on its web site titled “On the indefatigable Ms. Mossler“—a reference to Groupon PR chief Julie Mossler—the owner of Back Alley Waffles says Groupon wanted to pull the trigger on his $8-for-two-waffles deal while he was visiting his sister, who was dying of cancer:
“They reached me on my cell phone while I was out there and I said that it would be unconscionable if they started the deal while I was at my sister’s bedside (the restaurant wasn’t even open in my absence). They finally agreed to postpone the deal but it took a few calls back and forth to get it done.”
Nelson says he went out of business because Groupon took too long to remit to him the money his Groupon earned.
Mossler told us, “I and Groupon stand behind the facts as presented. We genuinely wish Mr. Nelsen the best in any future endeavours.”
Nelson mostly uses the statement to criticise Groupon as a “Pay Day Loan outfit” which absolves itself of any responsibility because the customer signed the paperwork. Although he calls Groupon “misleading” he he doesn’t outright contradict Groupon’s version of events, which is that Nelson knew or should have known the terms of the deal before he offered it.
(Also, we can confim that Mossler is in fact indefatigable.)
Here’s Nelson’s diatribe:
On the indefatigable Ms. Mossler
Mr. Nelsen initially approached Groupon and our merchant advisors structured a deal to best encourage overspend and help his business grow.
If “overspend” were encouraged, Groupon would have suggested a deal on our less-expensive smoothies with waffles purchased outright being the goal.
We also required Back Alley to cap the number of Groupons sold to ensure the feature was in the best interest of both consumers and the merchant.
I remember nothing of the sort. What I do remember is Groupon balking at my request to limit the coupons to weekdays only. They finally agreed to sell two different coupon types–one for weekdays, and one for weekends with the weekend coupons being capped. For Groupon to claim now that they “required” us to cap the number of coupons is laughable.
We scheduled his feature on his terms,
Stretching out our payment for three months was hardly our idea.
on a date he selected,
On the date Groupon selected for the campaign to start, I was in California visiting my sister who was dying of cancer. I had warned them that I would need to make that trip to see her for the last time. They reached me on my cell phone while I was out there and I said that it would be unconscionable if they started the deal while I was at my sister’s bedside (the restaurant wasn’t even open in my absence). They finally agreed to postpone the deal but it took a few calls back and forth to get it done. For them now to try to make an issue of starting the campaign on a date of my choosing is just pathetic.
under a contract he reviewed and signed.
Groupon sounds like a Pay Day Loan outfit, “Well, you signed it!” as if that relieves them of any culpability for being charlatans.
According to our records, only 132 Groupons, or 18 per cent sold, have been redeemed since Back Alley ran two months ago,
That 18 per cent represents $2,600.00 worth of waffles for which we laid out the food and labour costs upfront while Groupon collected about $7,000.00 on line, pocketed half, then took our half, and pocketed that too. For 30 days, at which point they sent us a third(!) of our money. Then we had to wait another month(!) for the next third.
and Mr. Nelsen has received 2/3 of his share of the revenue to date.
Ms. Mossler knows very well that by the time we had to shut our doors we still had not received the second third of our money. They had only sent us one third when we buckled. For Groupon to continue to cite that two thirds number is wilfully misleading.
We always hate to hear that a local business has decided to close, but the maths does not point to Groupon as the cause.”
- The Death Of This Waffle Joint Perfectly Illustrates Groupon’s Cashflow Problem
- Groupon Breaks Down How It DIDN’T Put A Waffle Joint Out Of Business
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