Restaurateur creates Groupon rival


Portland restaurant owner Adam Milne designed ZapHour.com as a more restaurant-friendly group coupon-buying site.

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Portland restaurant owner Adam Milne designed ZapHour.com as a more restaurant-friendly group coupon-buying site.

Milne owns Old Town Pizza. Groupon deals didn’t pan out for his two Portland restaurants, he decided to make improvements.

Fellow restaurant owners had shared the downside — that while such sites may attract thousands of potential customers, businesses must split the profits and can’t control when coupons are redeemed. That means, for example, that loyal customers may be stuck in line on a busy Saturday night as servers are swamped by newcomers who might never return without a coupon.

A better system, Milne concluded, would be to allow restaurants to offer discounts while they were looking at empty tables. ZapHour.com, a 4-month-old site, allows restaurant owners to fill out a quick form and post offerings based on exactly what they need: A slow Monday night? Offer four half-off coupons from 6 to 9 p.m.

“In this economy, consumers are looking for offers and restaurants are looking to make offers, but you need something that is good for both of them,” said Milne, who is offering the service on a free trial period for new business partners. Eventually he plans to charge around $1 for each downloaded deal, calling it akin to a lead-generation fee.

Read more at OregonLive.com.

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