Home > Business, Personal Life, Process Improvement > Open Letter: Chicago Bagel Authority (CBA)

Open Letter: Chicago Bagel Authority (CBA)

I first came to the Chicago Bagel Authority (CBA) because of a Groupon.  I loved the place!  The food was great, and the staff was friendly.  I was left with an extremely positive perception of the CBA.

Saturday, I returned with a few friends of mine.  I was excited to show them what the CBA was all about.  Although, when I tried to use the second and last Groupon I had purchased, I was unable to use it. I was told I could not use a Groupon on the weekend. Concerned, I looked at the terms and conditions of the Groupon and could not find wording which indicated the Groupon could not be used on the weekend, or wording that would allow the terms to be changed post-purchase.

I asked to speak to a manager and was told he was not in. I then asked to speak to the manager-on-duty; I was told there was not one and that every employee was a manager of the co-op.

My positive perception of the CBA quickly changed.  The customer behind me in line also came to use his Groupon.  He decided to leave; not paying for the food he had ordered.  Trying not to ruin my fiends experience I decided to stay and paid cash.

From what I can tell, your business does not like Groupon, as indicated by your staff, your terms changes, and your website indicating a post-Groupon party.  Holding a grudge against a company that your business agreed to do business with is quite off-putting.

Although business may have been financially painful during the Groupon period, the Groupon had the opportunity to built your customer base quite substantially.Whether or not the decision not to take the Groupon during the weekend had much, if any, negative impact, I do not know.  What I do know is that it will be hard to measure what positive impact the Groupon may have had when it is likely negative sentiment was created for an unknown quantity of customers.

My goal here is not to tell you how to run your business, but to tell you that trust is extremely important.  As I mentioned before I was a fan of the CBA before Saturday.  Today my feelings are much different.  Although the food and atmosphere of the CBA are highly desirable, at this point I do not know if I trust your business enough to ever return.  My friends, which also liked their food, feel the same way after they witnessed what happened.

Ed Hayes

  1. January 17, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    I would just return the groupon if that was my experience:

    • January 19, 2011 at 3:31 PM

      I copied Groupon on the E-mail, and they ended up refunding my order pretty quickly.

  2. bif
    January 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    I would have been fine with it if they were upfront and said “we can’t afford this anymore – our deepest apologies”. Instead they treated their customers like they were the assholes who put them in this situation.

    • January 19, 2011 at 3:34 PM

      I agree. CBA made me feel like it was my fault they poorly negotiated the promotion with Groupon.

      CBA could have done what many other business do; offer different redemption values on weekend days vs. week days.

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