2012 07 22 - 0003 - DC - Back Alley Waffles
"Back Alley Waffles" / "Waffles and Brew" (street address 1209 10th Street, but facing into Blagden Alley) recently closed over a dispute with Groupon. Some more information is available at DCist (yay first-find hat-tip!) and Washington City Paper. The remaining information below is part of my original caption, drawn from my best guess after reading the flyer & knowing of some other similar stories:
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 good 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 deals. 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 him that he should've done an offer that wouldn't put them under.
...so many mentions across varying media outlets and I have yet to see one mention of or comment about Marge Simpson's pretzel business. But responding to a couple comments: yes, this place has been a bit rocky for all of its three months: awkward closures during posted business hours & staff that's friendly but seems unsure and confused. But I did eat their waffles the previous weekend and I can testify that they were quite good.
2012 08 13 - Used by DCist
2012 08 10 - Used by DCist
2012 08 06 - Used by DCist
2012 07 26 - Used by DCist
2012 07 23 - Used by Prince of Petworth