1. Coupons of Mystery!

    HERE’S SOMETHING that I was saving for a piece in Small Restaurateur and Bistroista I was going to call “Top Ten Mistakes New Small Restaurateurs and Bistroistas Make.” As you know, most new restaurants and bistros fail within their first year of business (It’s important to note, however, the same does not apply to cafes.) and I figured by using my expertise in this area, I might help a few new small restaurateurs and bistroistas avoid some of the pitfalls I’d avoid if I was foolish enough to open a new small restaurant or bistro. Especially in this economy.

    Sadly, Small Restaurateur and Bistroista never made it past their third issue and closed up shop just seven months after they started. Not uncommon, of course. Most new magazines fail within their first year of publishing (the exception, of course, being café-themed magazines).

    It’s just as well because these niche magazines don’t pay crap to freelancers, and these magic fingers usually don’t touch a keyboard for less than twelve dollars a word.  (Speaking of which, your monthly reading-my-blog bill is overdue, so if you can get a check off to me in the next day or so, that’d be great.)

    Also, I could only come up with one item, but I pitched it as a list of ten, and they were holding eight pages open for me. And I was like three weeks (or four or five, who knows?) past my deadline.  But like I said, these niche magazines don’t pay hardly nothing so I didn’t lose a lot of sleep over it. Though I didn’t answer the phone for a while.

    So here’s that one item:

    #4:  Include the Goddamn Name of Your
    Restaurant or Bistro on Your Damn Coupon!
    Look, there, Wolfgang, you were just browbeaten by some smarmy 22-year old into buying an ad in the “dining out section” of the local newspaper – itself a dying industry! Newspapers, not dining out sections!  Don’t get smart.

    So you spend all that money on your ad, and you include a coupon in it and then some anal-retentive freak like me clips your coupons right along the dotted line, as we’re legally obligated to, and then pins them on the Restaurant Coupon Board in the kitchen and then when I go to use it…? That’s right!

    No idea whatsoever what the hell it’s for!  None! Zip! Zilch!

    Two dollars off what?  Free entree where?  10% off who?

    That’s why your restaurant or bistro failed!  Okay, technically, it was that ridiculously discounted Groupon you were pressured to sign up for by some other kid in his early 20s that 4,673 people bought and redeemed two days later, coupled with all those negative reviews on Yel– …eh, on that social networking, user review, local search website that curiously started popping up after you declined to advertise with them that put the nail in your business’ coffin.

    But this newspaper coupon fiasco didn’t help!

    By the way, if anyone can identify what the hell restaurants these coupons are for, please let me know.  Before the expiration dates.  Unless these places are already out of business.  Then I don’t care.

    Posted by on April 22, 2011, 1:43 AM.

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