Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How Do You Roll?

I purchased my second Groupon ever yesterday.  Groupon is a company that rips off helps local businesses by offering massive savings to get folks in the door.  The idea is that if you try the place on the cheap, you'll be back again and again.  Check it out at www.groupon.com there is probably one for your area.  Speaking generally, they set up a deal with a vendor so that you can purchase a "gift card" worth $20 that you only pay $10 for.  That's 50% off!!!!  What's in it for Groupon?  They go to a company and say "OK, if we get 300 people to purchase this "coupon," the deal is on.  We'll pay you 50% of what we collect.  When it works (and with food it often does...not so much on photography, massage and other services) the people who purchase it get an awesome deal.  The vendor (restaurant establishment) get inundated with "new" customers.  The raw deal for the vendor is that if they only get 50% of 50% that means for every $20 worth of food they provide, they're only collecting $5.  But if the idea holds true, then that's 300 new people and $1500 in their pocket, right?

So I've seen groupons for things I'd like, but was leery until a restaurant I frequent popped up a few months ago.  Pita Pit is right downtown and has pretty good food, so I jumped at the opportunity to get my lunch on the cheap.  Hummus and Baba Ganoush is even better half off!

Yesterday's caught my eye as a company concept that I'd thought of a few years ago but obviously never did anything with it.  It's called How Do You Roll, it's a sushi shop where you customize your roll ala Subway. 

When we lived in Tulsa, my then girlfriend (now wife) and I worked around the corner from a place called The Atomic Burrito.  No it doesn't exist any longer and with a name like that I'm sure you're shocked.  Honestly, it was phenomenal food.   The guys running it were way ahead of their time.  Originally it was a standard faster food Tex-Mex restaurant.  They flipped the concept to be a build your own Burrito, Taco, Quesadilla, Salad Bowl facility.  Think Subway with flavor, fresher ingredients, meat that's actually cooked in house served in a tortilla.  We now have a couple places like this all over called Freebirds and Chipotle.

When my wife and I began making sushi at home, I told her this would be a great idea for a restaurant.  Sushi Freebirds-style.  We even had a sushi party a few years ago where we taught others how to roll them and they loved being able to choose their own stuffing.  Well, that's another great idea I shouldn't have sat on. 
Ah well, I'll be enjoying some customized sushi today!  Thanks Groupon and How Do You Roll!

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