Groupon Goes Mobile With Its ‘Reserve’ Restaurant Reservation And Meal Discount Pivot Play

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Groupon launched its Groupon Reserve restaurant table-booking and fine dining discount service earlier this month, and already the company is bringing that service to its mobile apps via an iPhone update that goes live today. Android and iPad versions are planned to follow as Groupon shifts its vision to adapt to the weakening daily-deals sector.

The mobile app is designed to capitalize on Groupon’s mobile growth, which resulted in mobile and search accounting for more than 55 percent of all of the company’s North American transactions during Q1 of this year, the company says. Mobile consumers also spend more, making them a good target for a new service aimed at least in part at affluent customers: North American mobile Groupon customers spend around 50 percent more than those who only browse on the web, making it a lucrative channel to exploit.

Groupon also says that the launch of Reserve has drummed up renewed interest from merchant partners, and driven a lot more traffic to its B2B sales site. For restaurateurs, the benefit of using Reserve is that it can help them change pricing to fill seats during slow hours; Groupon members who use Reserve to make reservations get a discount from their bill without requiring them to redeem any additional codes or present any coupons.

The decision for Groupon to pursue the food industry in North America more aggressively somewhat mirrors a change at LivingSocial, one of its closest competitors in the heyday of the daily-deals frenzy. LivingSocial made a pivot last year to offer takeout and delivery, taking on companies like Seamless in the U.S. It’s a very different take on how to make more money from the restaurant industry, but it’s definitely significant that both of these former daily deals giants are looking to that market to change their own fortunes.

Groupon is still casting a wide net with its Local, Getaways, and Goods sub-brands, but now appears to be funneling a lot of resources into this Reserver project, which is telling as it comes hot on the heels of founder Andrew Mason’s ouster as CEO. In addition to more mobile platforms, Groupon hopes to bring Reserve to additional cities in the U.S. and international locations in the near future.