Groupon sets up backbone for dining reservations system
BY SANDRA GUY Business Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org October 10, 2012 11:26AM
An iPad 2. | Mario Tama~Getty Images
Updated: November 12, 2012 11:50AM
Groupon on Wednesday launched an iPad-based checkout and management service for bars, cafes and restaurants in what is expected to be a first step in the daily deals site eventually offering a dining reservation system to compete with OpenTable.
Last month, Groupon bought restaurant reservations company Savored, setting off speculation that it would start competing with reservations leader OpenTable.
Breadcrumb could serve as a first step in that process by setting up an electronic backbone for retailers.
“There is a great opportunity for Breadcrumb to integrate with products like Savored down the road,” said Sharmeen Suri, Groupon’s head of product marketing.
The Breadcrumb service, which Groupon acquired from a New York-based startup in May, is targeted at merchants who’ve been unable to afford an electronic checkout and management system or those looking for a new system. A subscription-based plan to the cloud-based system starts at $99 a month for one checkout terminal. Merchants may use their existing equipment for the software service.
Merchants who have no electronic checkout will pay $625 for an iPad, iPad stand and a credit-card swipe device, plus another $800 for printers, a router and a cash drawer.
Software updates are free and automatic.
Conventional systems cost $1,500 to $3,000, plus $1,000 installation, Suri said.
The service offers a far wider array of services than Groupon Payments. Breadcrumb lets merchants accept payments, adjust menu items, take orders, manage employee time sheets and run sales and labor reports, among other things.
The system has been running in New York on a test basis since April.
Groupon counts food and beverage merchants as a significant part of its 250,000 retail merchant clients.
Groupon CEO Andrew Mason has said the company aims to become a major provider of technology tools to its merchants. It already offers Groupon Works, which helps merchants set up customer reservations, fill tables or seats during slow times and schedule appointments so they don’t get overwhelmed by Groupon offers.