Everyone knows that daily deals websites have sprung up like coupon-touting kudzu over the past few years. And many know that some of the coupons they tout don't really offer good values. As Bloomberg's Ryan Sutton, perhaps the most vociferous critic of online deals, told the Huffington Post in July, "Lower prices and 'good deals' won't solve the problems of a bad restaurant."
But now, it seems customers are starting to catch on to the fact that they aren't getting their money's worth. Tracy Duryee of All Things D writes that 41% of the deals on Lifesta, a website that lets customers offload unwanted online coupons, are for food and drink. This is significantly more than any other category, including health and beauty, which Groupon has said is their biggest. This indicates that customers are likely to be taken in by the delicious-sounding copy on discounts at restaurants and bars -- only to regret their purchase later, maybe after their hunger subsides.
The pervasiveness of restaurant deal remorse is a good argument for a shift away from buying meals in advance and toward on-the-go discounting. Increasingly, as HuffPost Food wrote in late July, deals sites are offering super-limited-time offers that are advertised in a specific geographic area. Such deals, which are often redeemed on cell phones, let customers shorten the limbo between shelling out money and getting food, decreasing the chances that they'll have second thoughts on their purchase.