To Cell or Not -- While Dining Out

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 21, 2012 11:14 AM

The escalating battle over digital displays in public has reached new heights…or lows…depending on your position on personal freedom versus a modicum of civility. Between texting, tweeting and Instagram-ing restaurant meal photos, "distracted dining" is the latest scourge on the most basic of manners, the art of face-to-face conversation.

Eva Restaurant on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles is offering diners a five percent discount on their bill to check their tech at the door. "For us, it's really not about people disrupting other guests. Eva is home, and we want to create that environment of home, and we want people to connect again," said owner/chef Mark Gold. 

About half the customers at Eva, a 40-person restaurant with European nuance, take the discount. "I think once the server approaches the table and they're presented with the offer, they like the idea of actually talking to each other again," adds Gold.

Interested in wooing business in a challenging economy, and accommodating a younger, wired clientele, many restaurants now cater to diners who have morphed into "food paparazzi." Continue reading...

bubble watch

Groupon’s Wheeling and Dealing to Stay on Top

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 14, 2012 01:07 PM

Groupon, grandfather of daily deal websites and portmanteau for "group coupon" is under scrutiny after its second quarter revenue fell short of expectations, exacerbated by the frail European economy which curtailed online coupon sales.

In the biggest decline since November’s IPO, its shares fell 23% to $5.80 on Monday, leaving the company with a market value of $4.88 billion, significantly less than the $6 billion buyout offer from Google before it chose to go public. 

“We had some challenges in Europe,” commented Groupon's chief financial officer Jason Child. “Because over half of our business is outside the U.S., the strengthening of the U.S. dollar versus the variety of currencies that we transacted declined since we gave guidance last quarter.” Continue reading...

web watch

Groupon Brand: Growing Up, Slightly More Boring

Posted by Dale Buss on July 17, 2012 12:58 PM

Things seem to be a lot more serious at Groupon headquarters in Chicago these days. There are more accountants and lawyers, and fun-loving CEO Andrew Mason is cracking fewer jokes, according to a profile in Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

That's because at least two very serious things are going on at the originator of the online-enabled, locally based discount deal. First, Groupon is straining to cope with growth expectations now that later-coming rivals such as LivingSocial, Yelp and others have mimicked its local deals business model.

But second, Mason and company have become very deliberate about advancing his plan to elevate Groupon above its competition — and to ensure its long-term future and robust growth — by becoming a key digital partner to small businesses across the range of their application needs. That means not just helping them produce a quick glut of customers responding to a Groupon-advertised coupon but also becoming what Mason calls "the operating sytem for local commerce" with tools such as loyalty programs, scheduling software, and potentially a credit-card payment service.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: AB InBev, DQNY, RIM and more

Posted by Dale Buss on June 25, 2012 08:55 AM

In the News

AB InBev closes in on buying remainder of Mexico's Grupo Modelo for more than $12 billion.

Apple adds Yelp check-ins to iPhone maps app, sees Motorola Mobility patent case shut down by federal judge and retail workers described by NYT as "loyal but short on pay."

Best Buy tries to regain edge before back-to-school season.

BlackBerry owner RIM reportedly considers a plan to split its company in two.

Cadillac surprises with integration of Apple's Siri voice.

Carl's Jr. and Hardee's set Spider-Man movie tie-in.

Dewar's announces three-year partnership with TED.

Dairy Queen gripes about New York menu restrictions as it enters the city.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Apple’s WWDC News: Siri Makes New Friends But It's All About the Mac

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 11, 2012 05:31 PM

In addition to an even trippier special edition of its tie-dye logo, Apple unveiled more than one dozen new products today at the brand's highly anticipated 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference. While Apple’s main growth drivers remain the iPhone and the iPad, its Mac line remains a cornerstone.Continue reading...

social media watch

Confirmed: A Table for Four(square) at 8pm

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 4, 2012 02:02 PM

Foursquare is squaring off against Yelp, and has become a “mobile, socially powered version of Yelp," as Fast Company puts it, thanks to the Explore tool that gives users dining and bar recommendations based on location check-in.

Add the latest tweak to the tool, a proximity-based finder for maps that zooms and can be dragged and pinched at will, and Foursquare’s search iterates from present to future location. The sophistication of the app's user interface puts it ahead of Google Maps, MenuPages, Urban Spoon and Yelp.

Foursquare recently partnered with Open Table, adding a reservations function that covers more than 15,000 restaurants including hours of business and menu perusal.Continue reading...

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brand news

In the News: BP, iPad, AIG and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 5, 2012 09:02 AM

In the News

Ace Hardware debuts first-ever paint campaign.

AIG sells $6 billion in AIA shares to help repay bailout loan.

Angie's List creates rare success with paid-content model.

Apple expected to pass 100 million iPad sales by year-end as iPad 3 is unveiled this week and excitement builds for Apple TV.

BP stock rises on proposed $17.6 billion settlement in oil spill.

Carlos Slim's America Movil reportedly starting a Netflix-like online service for Mexico.

Facebook asks advertisers for big investments in exchange for expanding fan base.

Frontier low-cost airline may be relaunched or sold.

GlaxoSmithKline expands in China.

GM struggles to make Volt a sustainable business.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Most Admired Companies, Yelp, Hunger Games, more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 2, 2012 08:59 AM

In the News

Aereo is sued by major media companies alleging copyright infringement.

Apple, Google and Amazon lead Fortune's 2012 world's most admired companies ranking.

Apple could find politics on its side in China iPad dispute, while Apple and Samsung lose countersuits in Germany.

CNN was talking with Andrew Breitbart about new show before his death, report says.

Chrysler leads brand gains in robust February auto sales in U.S. market.

Disney draws criticism with governance panel.

Enterprise leverages NCAA sponsorship for March Madness.Continue reading...

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