Groupon has made headlines again due to a video released by its founder and CEO, Andrew Mason. The video was meant as an apology to its Japanese customers for a New Year’s deal that was less than satisfactory.
The Chicago-based company, launched two years ago, provides discounts of up to 90% to its customers for various products, services, and cultural events in local markets. Groupon entered the Japanese market with its August 2010 acquisition of Qpod, Inc.
The apology centered around a deal for the delivery of “osechi,” a traditional Japanese New Year meal. This meal requires rigorous preparation and exceptional presentation. According to reports from Yahoo! News, 500 coupons were sold and customers paid 10,500 yen ($127 USD) for the meal.
When the meal arrived, however, many customers were less than satisfied. Many voiced complaints that the meal they received did not match the website’s picture or the description provided by the restaurant, Bird Cafe. Many also reported that the meals arrived late or in “terrible condition.”
To make amends, Groupon refunded the customers and also issued vouchers valued at 5,000 yen. According to Tech Crunch, the company had successfully featured food delivery from Bird Cafe in the past. In spite of past successes, the restaurant found itself overwhelmed with the volume of orders.
Groupon has announced that it will not let mistakes of this nature happen again and is educating its customers on capacity planning. Kenji Mizuguchi, president of Bird Cafe, has stepped down from his position following the incident.
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