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Groupon targets affluent diners

Groupon launched its Groupon Reserve service for fine-dining offers Friday, joining LivingSocial Gourmet and Gilt City as services targeted at customers seeking high-end restaurant experiences.

Groupon Reserve, which is by invitation only, debuted with an offer for upscale Italian restaurant Bice in New York. The deal — for a three-course tasting menu for $70 — represented about a 50-percent discount, typical of Groupon’s usual offer structure, but at a much higher price point.

The recent moves from Groupon, LivingSocial and Gilt to cater to a more affluent clientele coincide with a recent report from consulting firm Accenture Ltd. that found that daily deal use is most common among young and high-income consumers.

Accenture found that while 44 percent of all consumers surveyed subscribed to a daily-deal service, 54 percent of consumers with household incomes of at least $150,000 did so, and 47 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 did so. Of the 56 percent of survey respondents who did not subscribe to daily deals, 37 percent said a major reason why was because the offers weren’t for desirable items or services, meaning some high-end restaurants possibly could attract a few of them with a more luxurious experience.

LivingSocial Gourmet launched on Oct. 17 with an offer for a six-course tasting menu at CityZen in Washington, D.C., with wine pairings and a cheese course, for $250 per person, including tax and tip. Typically, that menu with wine and cheese pairings costs $220 without tax and tip, which would bump the final price above $250 when added.

Earlier, Gilt City, a deal site for high-end retail, acquired fine-dining reservation booking engine for an undisclosed sum on Oct. 4.

According to reports from VentureBeat and Reuters, Groupon’s move to draw daily-deal customers for higher-end offers is one strategy that executives have identified to ensure further growth while Groupon meets with potential investors ahead of its scheduled initial public offering on Nov. 4.

Groupon co-founder and chief executive Andrew Mason reportedly also told investors that the company would replace the lowest-performing 10 percent of its 4,800-person account sales staff.

Chicago-based Groupon’s valuation ahead of its IPO has been estimated at roughly $11 billion.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN

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