Groupon has launched a new adaptation of its Reserve program, aimed at
capturing more well-heeled customers.
The daily deals site said Monday the new version of the program will offer reservations at a variety of popular restaurants for up to 40 percent off. Much like Hotwire.com does for hotel rooms or car rentals, Groupon will offer tables at restaurants that would otherwise have gone unfilled, boosting the restaurant's business while allowing customers to get a cheaper meal.
"Whether it's because of a slow night or a last minute no-show, even the best restaurants have empty tables," CEO Eric Lefkofsky said in a statement. "Reserve provides these businesses with a yield management solution to bring customers through their doors at the times they need them the most."
The program will use the reservations engine of Savored.com, which Groupon acquired in 2012. It will exevntually be expanded into high-end hotels, salons and spas. It doesn't require pre-payment like other Groupon deals.
The previous version of Reserve, which launched in 2011, was invitation only, through e-mail offers in a handful of major markets. The new version will be accessible through the company's website, allowing it to offer a wider variety of restaurants to customers.
Groupon has been trying to move more toward "pull" marketing methods that attract customers to its site rather than "push" marketing that sent a few select deals out to subscribers as a way of growing revenue.
The Reserve program was first tested in Chicago in May.
Reserve is now offered in 10 markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Groupon plans to expand into more U.S. markets and large international cities by the end of the year.
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