For every big phenomenon, there’s an equal and opposite backlash. Flash deal sites like Groupon, Gilt City, Living Social, and more have been growing and multiplying by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years, raking in serious cash on a variety of deals including deep restaurant discounts. When every discount only lasts a day, it induces a sort of breathless panic and need to jump on it – but is every discount offered really worth its salt? Hardly. Tired of seeing too many innocent naïfs taken in by what can only be described as bad deals, prominent NYC restaurant critic and food writer Ryan Sutton is taking deal sites to task with a pretty excellent new blog: The Bad Deal.
“There’s been a trend among blogs to highlight and roundup good offers every day, and The Bad Deal approves of those efforts,” reads The Bad Deal’s inaugural post. “Social coupon sites, at their best, connect consumers looking to save a few bucks (or pay more for exclusive deals) to excellent restaurants looking for creative ways to improve their businesses. But there are still too many consumers wasting their disposable income on crummy offers that are never redeemed.”
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So far the site has only been up ten days, but has already taken the time to voice its manifesto and skewer three deals on Gilt City NYC and Groupon. The most recent is a $60-for $120 “Chopped and Iron Chef Tasting” deal for NYC eatery At Vermillion. As Sutton points out, At Vermillion a zero-star restaurant with overwhelmingly poor-to-middling reviews, and the items on the menu – fish tacos, a tandoori sandwich, potato ravioli – simply don’t have any primo ingredients like caviar or truffles that could justify the price. Sutton points out several restaurants who offer a prix fixe menu for less than this deal’s $120 asking price: “Le Bernardin, Daniel, Jean Georges, La Grenouille, The Modern, Picholine, Marea, Gramercy Tavern, Adour, Del Posto.” Point taken.
So far the only deals on blast are in New York, and considering Sutton is an NYC-based writer we expect it will stay that way for a while. But we’re hoping to see what dirt The Bad Deal can dredge up on other city deals as well.