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The Chicago Tribune reports that daily deal purveyor Groupon has come up with a new concept for restaurants - allowing them to specify in deals sold to consumers the times during which they can use their Groupons.

The idea is that restaurants offering Groupons often do so to build traffic at times when they are slow, not on, say, Saturday night at 7 pm. So, people who buy the Groupons will be limited to less-busy times.

At the Frontera Grill in Chicago, for example, where the program was tested, "Fifty-eight people used Frontera's Groupon during the pilot period, with 85 percent ages 22 to 35. The average amount spent in addition to the Groupon coupon was $38.89, and seven of 29 tables spent more than $69 on additional food and drinks. Overall, Frontera said, the Groupon deal generated $1,626.93 in revenue on tables that would have otherwise been empty during 10 days over a two-week period."

The Tribune writes that "by the end of the year, Groupon plans to roll out the model to several other 'time-based' businesses, including salons, spas and businesses that offer classes or activities."
KC's View:
Very smart. This is how Groupon and its ilk should be used … to build traffic and sales at slow times. The more targeting mechanisms can be used, the more effective these kinds of programs will a) be successful and b) be sustainable.