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A DINE DEAL!

Here's a way to book the best dining deals online

People enjoy eating out in a group, whether it is with family, guests or friends. So why not use the strength of your numbers to wangle better deals from restaurants? grouptable.com is a unique website that does this for you. It negotiates and features attractive group offers from finedining restaurants in town. The members of the site get to enjoy exclusively negotiated prices and Bangalore residents can avail such offers now.

Once you become a member, you get to avail offers from the best restaurants at insider prices. You just have to select the restaurant you wish to go to and book your table. Once that's done, a mobile passcode is sent to your phone. Show up and present it to get the deal, which is usually a 30% discount on your entire bill. And if you are planning to host a party and need to book a banquet, there are exclusive offers featured on the website. Want to network over dinner? Join SocialTable and meet like-minded people. This is another unique feature of the website by which people with similar interests can book to meet over dinner.

How is this different from popular daily deals? For one, fine-dining restaurants are not featured on daily deal sites. And 30% off your entire bill is better than 50% off 300, isn't it?

For more details, visit www.grouptable.com

GroupTable Brings Group Discounts in Restaurants to the Table, Quite Literally

Come Thursday, and the missus and I start looking out for restaurant deals for the weekend. We used to look up sites like Snapdeal, MyDala, Crazeal, and the numerous other deal sites that feature restaurant deals, if at all, before we found GroupTable, is a one-stop-shop for people like us, that provides the best restaurant deals. grouptable

GroupTable is one of a kind, fine dining platform that provides connoisseurs of good food with unique value propositions at the best of fine dining restaurants in Bangalore. The model works on 25-30% discount on the regular menu prices, and 20% off on buffet prices. Apart from restaurants, you can also book banquets for parties at discounted prices. There is a quick search for a restaurant in the locality you want to dine.

"We negotiate with restaurants, on behalf of our member-diners, and get them to structure & feature exclusive restaurant deals on GroupTable platform. Restaurants & hotels are more than happy to lower their pricing if they are assured of numbers.", says Mohan Rao, co-founder GroupTable.

When asked about how different is GroupTable from a daily deal website, Rao replies: "Very different. Our model is based on solid economic logic - involving value addition both to restaurants and to diners. Daily Deal model, we must say,is based mostly on hype, and more often than not, based on inflated presentation of discounts! We have even heard of 'manufactured menu cards' - that are displayed along with the deal for inflating 'original price' in support of supposed deep discounts!"

The reservations can be made directly at the GroupTable site and you need not call the restaurant that you would have done otherwise. You do not need a printed coupon from GroupTable, a mobile passcode usually works in most restaurants. There is a small or no upfront payment to be made while booking, depending on the restaurant. Another major advantage of GroupTable over its distant cousins is that you get a discount on the entire bill, and not only on a certain amount (Pay Rs 150 to get Rs 300), as in deals from other sites. Also, unlike a daily deal coupon, you can cancel your deal four hours prior to the reservation and get the amount credited back in your account.

I remember the first time I got an sms from GroupTable, and I was excited to try it out. GroupTable had welcomed me with a sleek, clutter-free UI, offering deals for 'fine dining at affordable prices'. However, I was in for a surprise when I went in to register and was told both my number and email were already taken!

Since I use the same password across all such sites, I was quickly able to get in, but it took me a while to decipher that GroupTable is the same as GroupOff.in, the company that had started off as Group Off and had later bought the Groupon.in domain (last January), which prevented the original Groupon to launch Groupon.in for their Indian operations.

GroupOff/Groupon?

So Group Off became Group On (They used the tipping point as the turning of the Group from 'off' to 'on'), but perhaps the company couldn't compete with the other biggies in the Indian market, planting the seed for a niche deal site for restaurants. This is where most of the other daily deal sites started with, but later digressed to provide deals in all possible areas, most turning into partial e-commerce sites with discounts on. And now Group On has given way to GroupTable.

The domains groupoff.com, groupoff.in.in, groupon.in, grouptable.in, and grouptables.in, are all owned by the same people, and barring groupon.in, all redirect to GroupTable. Groupon.in also redirected to grouptable.in till about a month ago, but now it gives you a 404. GroupTables.in still says "Group On to get Group Off" in its title bar, the original caption of GroupOff. We asked the founding members last week about the transition from GroupOff to GroupTable, and still holding the groupon.in domain, but they haven't responded yet.

The concept is no doubt good, and provides a win-win situation for both restaurateurs and diners. No matter what, people will always go out to eat. Cashing in on that aspect while also saving customers a few bucks has a huge potential. The business will flourish, but what would be interesting to seen is which way would the rechristening of Group On to GroupTable head? And is the Daddy of all deal sites trying to negotiate on getting the groupon.in domain back?

The next time you plan to eat out, you may want to give GroupTable a spin and share your comment.

Get some fine dining deals

The eating-out culture gained popularity in Mumbai years ago. But with rising costs, dining with a large group of family or friends can leave you poorer by a few thousands. That's where GroupTable steps in. The service has tied up with several fine-dining restaurants in the city and offers Click Here! subscribers a minimum discount of 30 per cent on a la carte and 20 per cent on buffets. The discounts could even go up to 40 per cent at select joints. Launched in December, GroupTable has tied up with 25-30 joints in the city.

And if that's not all, patrons can also connect with like-minded individuals as part of their Social Table service "In the restaurant business, repeat customers are very important. This is because peak hours only last for a few hours and occupancy drops after that. With this structure, we offer deals as per your requirements, group size and menu at attractive discounts," says Mohan Rao, founder director of GroupTable, adding that their service is available in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

In Mumbai, Goa Portuguesa (Mahim and Andheri), Rainforest Resto-Bar (Belapur and Andheri) and Ramada (Powai) are some of the eating joints that have signed up to be included in the list. He also adds that while there is no restriction on the amount of times you use the service, restaurants ask that the minimum number of diners be four to six.

Their other service, SocialTable, helps like-minded people connect with each other. "Patrons create accounts and add interests and age groups. These groups can then turn up at these venues and avail of decent discounts here," says Rao. He adds that GroupTable is now also into concierge services and if the places on offer do not interest patrons, then they can get in touch with the people organising the deals and they will work out something that suits them. The service also plans to expand to include banquet and party halls in the future.

How it works:

  • Sign up on the website - www.grouptable.com
  • Deals constitute every type of cuisine and in every neighbourhood. The website also lists details of restaurants and the discounts they offer.
  • Choose the one you prefer.
  • If a special discount is announced, an email is sent to the patron. A code is sent to the restaurant and the subscriber's mobile.
  • Flash it at the restaurant and avail of the deal.
  • Diners are given diner points.
  • They can redeem these points at four and five star restaurants as well opt for gift certificates.