Hearne: All That Glitters…Jardine’s Hammers Groupon

Longtime KCC readers know I’ve been an admirer and staunch defender of Groupon from the get-go…

When some of you guys zeroed in on the discounting – saying it cheapens the seller’s products – I pointed to the marketing benefits. I quoted local restaurant and nightclub owners that had done well with Groupon and vowed to continue to party with the daily dealmaker.

People like Jardine’s owner Beena Raja (who’s on her third last name in the past year). Jardine’s, like others, turned its back on the local newspaper’s trusty-but-rusty Star Dining Card and found nirvana instead in Groupon’s mass email blasts.

"Let me tell you, Groupon has a solid clentele, they are up to 350,000 people locally now," Raja told me last March. "And these people are no Star Card people – these are people who will spend money and I’ve seen it. They’re younger, hipper, they know how to tip and they make reservations. I have nothing but positive things to say about Groupon."

That was then…

Today Groupon’s email list for KC today is reportedly nearly 700,000 strong but Raja’s washing her hands of it.

"I’ve changed my mind," she says. "I don’t think I’ll do it again."

Here’s why…

"The first Groupon I did was about 1,600 deals and the second one I did was 1,100, I believe," Raja says. "But this last time the type of people we got were not the same as the first time. They didn’t tip the servers. They were always complaining and trying to match their checks to the penny and not spend any more than the Groupon was for. And they were arguing about the policy and telling us we must honor it. We had a lot of complaints."

Part of the problem being restaurants like Jardine’s mostly benefit when customers come in stay and enjoy the jazz.

Unfortunately, that often wasn’t the case.

"They would come in and want their food to go instead of staying, enjoying the music and having a drink," Raja says. "You know, the whole ambiance we’re trying to sell. I think the quality (of Groupon) is gone. It’s more about the quantity now."

Therein lies the problem…

When Groupon first hit KC, early adopters were younger, hipper, Web wise sorts. The kind of clientel smaller boutiques like Jardine’s are totally out to reach. But as it grew from 50,000 to 100,000 to 400,000 and to its now gargantuan proportions, the hipness factor appears to have been dilluted by the cheapskate factor.

"They’re not cool and hip anymore," Raja says. "They used to be cool and hip. Just the whole attitude and the dynamics of the people who buy Groupons has changed. They just came in and yakked away during shows. And a lot of the first Groupon people were my regulars who I didn’t have to discount, so I wasn’t really gaining any new customers.

"The other people who came in didn’t care about jazz or anything. They just wanted the food and if I’d box it up for them, they’d take it with them. They’re not going to come back. Maybe 10 percent will come back. I mean, that’s a lot of money to give away to get just 10 percent back."

The $64 million question: How happy will the KC Symphony be when a buncha yahoos and hoo hahs show up – cellphones blaring away – mostly because they saved 51 percent on tickets to its Christmas Festival?

Raja’s bottom line: "You have to know what works for you and what doesn’t. And right now Groupon definitely doesn’t work for me."

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13 Responses to Hearne: All That Glitters…Jardine’s Hammers Groupon

  1. chuck says:

    Scott Pioli, the idiot, passes on Beena Raja
    and takes Tyson fuckin Jackson. What a dumbass. Now Beena, is not only killin it with the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers, she has time to run a successfull Restaurant and Jazz Club in Kansas City.

    Beena can definitely plug up the middle

    I will say this, in all honesty, she don’t look so fuckin hot in that uniform.

    She needs to talk to Caitlin, shoulder pads are way the fuck out.

    She looks like fuckin Sean Young in “Blade Runner”.

  2. harley says:

    chucky…go back to the rock you live under
    totally low class. Totally out of line. You’re just the type of people jardines doesn’t want. Low life/broke/
    get back in that attic.
    Groupon is good… but their business model is failing. The offers now suck. For many reasons including the
    one Beena talked about. But really…groupon is about the same as a loan shark. For businesses running short
    of cash…its okay to run with it. If you’re a business about to declare bankruptcy…it might work because you get the
    With 700,000 people…groupon now expands into including the people like chucky…low rents.
    But they do guarantee results…although its at a high price.
    Maybe go back to other forms of advertising. Hearnes an expert in media..he can tell you waht to do.
    Or better yet…hire glaze. he’s the king of getting public relations. He’s a mastermind in self promotion and
    he can pack your place every night. Seriously…with no talent the guy gets more ink than anyone in kc..
    including hearne. Hire him…he’s great at p.r.

  3. Hearne Christopher says:

    I get it; you’ve stumbled onto the local sports channel

  4. chuck says:

    No doubt, there are literally legions of business men
    all over the world, just fuckin glued to this blog, writing down all of Harley’s tips.


    “Maybe go back to other forms of advertising. Hearnes an expert in media..he can tell you waht to do.
    Or better yet…hire glaze. he’s the king of getting public relations. He’s a mastermind in self promotion and
    he can pack your place every night. Seriously…with no talent the guy gets more ink than anyone in kc..
    including hearne. Hire him…he’s great at p.r.”

    What a gem, “Maybe go back to other forms of advertising.” stands alone, as a singular and bellwether event, in the promotion and sales field, that will stand the test of time, through the ages.

    “Hey, remember that day, on that blog, when Haley said, “Maybe go back to other forms of advertising.”? That, that right there, is what inspired me to this very day, to do my best, and excell in everything I do.

    Thanks, Harley, for changin the world.

    *muffled sounds of thousands laughing up their sleeves*

  5. Orphan of the Road says:

    Feeling better
    Just took a big ol’ harley.

  6. chuck says:

    Sheesh, ya can’t make this shit up.
    “Or better yet…hire glaze. he’s the king of getting public relations. ”

    Your killin me Harley (JoJo), “…the king of getting public relations.” Glaze, the KING OF PUBLIC RELATIONS!!!

    HARLEY (JOJO): *answers phone* “Harley’s PR Firm, we get public relations, and sometimes when we can, we make your relations public, or try and fuck your relations, if their hot chicks, like my girlfriend, whom I have imaginary sexual relations with, in my mind, in my mom’s basement, can I help you??

    What a fuckin hoot.

  7. chuck says:

    Me too Orphan,
    then I wiped my JoJo.

  8. Orphan of the Road says:

    Groupon is a good thing to bring in new customers. Not so good in the long run as it doesn’t bring in the customers a business depends upon.

    Pony Express was once cutting edge, lasted less than two-years thanks to new technology. While we celebrate the pioneer spirit we often forget how many graves are along the pioneer’s trails.

    Tools are out there to be used but if your only tool is a hammer, then every problem is a nail.

    Chuck, they took out harley’s office phone. No longer a pay phone at Independence and Askew.

  9. Super Dave says:

    This selling method never fails

    If what you have is good then people tell others and here they come. But to be honest I wasn’t impressed with Jardine’s and the party I was with wasn’t either and they are jazz lovers. So Groupon isn’t going to make me want to go back nor did we use Groupon to begin with. I find it stange that anyone would do a Groupon deal such as Jardine’s and have it not apply to take out. Many many places I know and love to go to have in house specials that very clearly state does not apply to take out and it sure don’t seem to hurt anyones feelings there.

    Just for the record the food was ok nothing outstanding, music was ok not a huge jazz lover outside of New Orleans style jazz myself so the service was our main issue or the semi lacking of.

  10. constantine says:

    this has nothing to do with sports. why is it on this sports blog?

  11. harley says:

    Problem with jardines
    the problem with jardines is not that they used a groupon…which if they listened to hernia they would have known that the luster was off the
    people who responded.
    The problem is that they appeal to an old crowd.
    when you bring in marilyn maye for 5 or 6 nites you get a bunch of old people. Noone under 50 knows who this lady is.
    So when you bring in these old acts you get old people. And when the food is marginal you lose customers.
    I’ve been there and was disappointed. The place needs to attract some of the younger people with money. Old people
    don’t go out during the week…they don’t spend money on the weekends.
    So with all the big money out in joco..many who have never heard of jardines…you need to bring in some fresh new talent.
    The old jazz singers jardines has on their lineup (like mcbeth) don’t appeal to young people who will spend $100 on
    guys like hearne don’t spend the money they got from family…they keep it. so jardines probelm is not that they blew the groupon promotion by not working with potential customers its the fact that they still cater to an old crowd.
    Bring ins ome younger acts. Bring in someone who would appeal to a 25-40 year old. Maye…mcbeth etc. are known to older people who just are not going to spend the money.
    Bring in a dance act…after 10:30 move the table and bring in some classy local band that people can dance to. Not the same old
    crooners that only older people know.
    It’s real simple. If you don’t change to the times you go out of biz. If not you are destined to fail.
    Jardines has been around a long time. I’ve seen some great jazz there. But jazz is so segmented of a following that they need to
    expand their customer base.
    Jazz clubs have not done well here in kc.
    Some did well but went under because of bad ownership. I hope jardines makes it…but they have to change with the times to get out of
    their rut.

  12. Hearne Christopher says:

    You must not get out much, unless you only attend geezer shows. Jardine’s has a ton of younger artists like Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Mark Lowrey, Valency, Barclay Martin and Megan Birdsall.

    Marilyn Maye is like a once, maybe twice a year deal at most.

  13. Lanie says:

    Beena is a trashy whore, she ruins everything she touches. Anyone who has to change their name because of all the turmoil they cause should just be sent out if the country. I hope karma brings her ten times the pain she has cause to the people she has hurt. She belongs in the gutter, she is complete trash and I hope to say that to her face someday.

    Written by the daughter of the married man she is having an affair with.

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