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Back Alley Waffles “closed indefinitely” in Mt. Vernon Square, Blames Groupon.

Back in April 2012 we learned that Back Alley Waffles was coming to the rear of 1209 10th St, NW in Blagden Alley near the Convention Center. A reader stopped by at 1pm on Sunday and found it closed with the sign pictured above on the window. There is a bit more info on their Website:

Back Alley Waffles
This is DC. This is world-class waffling. If you want to make it in this town, you better have a good waffle.

closed indefinitely
due to the bloodthirsty
business practices
of groupon

Waffles are now $450 each by appointment only.

Here’s what you’ll get:

a fluffy 7″ Belgian waffle with fresh-churned butter and real maple syrup
a 4′ x 4′ mosaic similar to the one shown below (which was stolen—if you can believe it—by two black guys and a white guy at around 3 a.m. one Friday night/Saturday morning several months ago) of the subject matter of your choice*
the materials with which to make the mosaic (roughly $225 at Home Depot)
the unparalleled experience of creating your own piece of art

On June 19th Back Alley Waffles tweeted:

“Welcome to Back Alley Waffles Twitterstream! We currently have a great deal with Groupon!”

PoPville flickr user thisisbossi also stopped by and writes:

“Back Alley Waffles” / “Waffles and Brew” (street address 1209 10th Street, but facing into Blagden Alley) recently closed over a dispute with Groupon. I’m not 100%, but my best guess is that the owner hadn’t capped whatever deal had been issued, resulting in a pretty substantial loss.

These coupon deals can be great for places like recreation or entertainment venues, where you’re selling a product that would have been there anyway — seats in a theater, for example. But for restaurants: you run the risk of selling your product at a net loss, so if that’s the case: you’re supposed to limit how many of the deal can be sold (that is: cap it). Then the money you lose is limited; it’s an investment in hopefully getting new customers.

For a place like this — a tasty product but hidden in an alley — it can be immensely useful at making people aware you exist… as opposed to higher-end restaurants where everyone already knows you exist, knows you’re tasty, but will *only* come when there’s a special deal. That’s how I work with places like Rasika.

But that’s really only beneficial if you cap it, reducing your risk. I’m guessing that didn’t happen here, leaving the businessowner with no other recourse but to close his business and refuse to honor the details. I hate to say it of a neighbor and purveyor of tasty fare, but unfortunately with this information I would best place blame on him. Though Groupon could’ve certainly advised them that they should’ve done an offer that wouldn’t put them under.


Photo by PoPville flickr user thisisbossi

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