Mill Cafe and LivingSocial?

By 17 January, 2012 11

I’d like to get some thoughts and feedback from the Rioters about Mill Cafe in Civic.

I’ve always walked past this place to get to other eateries and never really felt the urge to go in and try their food. It always seems quite empty with only 1 or 2 tables filled.  

Our story begins with a LivingSocial deal for this place. Yes I know there have been many horror stories about LivingSocial but I’ve only had good experiences so far. The point of this post is not for LS but to reveal the incompetency of the Mill Cafe’s owner. 

We paid 14 dollars for 37.80 worth of “Breakfast or Lunch for Two including a Main, Coffee and Sweet Treat Each”. Conditions on the voucher said “Not valid on holidays” and “No bookings needed”.

This is what our collective experience has been:

 - A friend tried to use her voucher on the 24th of December and was refused due to it being a “holiday.” This point is arguable I guess.

 - We tried using this early January. The man grunted at us to look at the sign on the register. We had to call a mobile number to book for LS vouchers… cafe was empty with the exception of two seats. We were so tempted to be a smartass to call on the spot!!

 - Our voucher expires on January 20th. Tried calling today to explain the situation even though they’re booked out this whole week. They said to call Thursday to see if they could work some deal out. Here’s the clincher – They are apparently exploring options to help with this demand by charging an extra five dollars to extend the deal past the expiry dates.

Seriously, what the hell? Some people will say it’s only a small amount of money but I’m pissed off based on principle. Google the reviews and there are around 8 people so far with the same bad experience as us, with rude service/bad food for those who actually had food there.

What do you guys reckon? Obviously they can’t cope with the demand so they should have placed better conditions for this deal. We’ve asked for a refund from LS (who haven’t responded) but the part in bold is the interesting bit. They are apparently going to be disadvantaged due to these LS vouchers taking place of their “core customers”. WHAT core customers because I sure haven’t seen any!

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11 Responses to Mill Cafe and LivingSocial?
#1
TheDancingDjinn9:45 am, 17 Jan 12

This isn’t the first LS debarcle i’ve read about here – I assume you have to tell LS that you want to be in their website/coupon book – right? – Why take the time out of your life to set that up just to not honour it?

#2
Darkfalz9:59 am, 17 Jan 12

I’m not buying the Entertainment book this year. Saving a few bucks just isn’t worth the hassle and indignation of the almost always sour response when you hand over the vouchers to staff. If all you use is the vouchers for large chain stores it’s fine, but restaurant and especially cafe owners definitely have the wrong idea about these vouchers (treating you like a cheapskate for using it rather than taking an opportunity to get your repeat business). I’ll just stick to restaurants I know and trust and not try new places.

#3
powerpuffpete11:17 am, 17 Jan 12

People never seem to know what they’re getting when they buy something on LS. It seems to me that if the deal seems really good, chances are that it won’t be honoured or the details of the offer are incorrect.

Anyway the only eateries that end up on that site are the ones that can’t draw enough business. That’s why I find it odd that Mill cafe supposedly has “core customers”. How could such a $hitty looking cafe compete with the long-standing Essen, Gus’s and Milk and Honey?
I find it laughable that they even have a reservation system.

#4
Nightshade12:05 pm, 17 Jan 12

powerpuffpete said :

Anyway the only eateries that end up on that site are the ones that can’t draw enough business. That’s why I find it odd that Mill cafe supposedly has “core customers”. How could such a $hitty looking cafe compete with the long-standing Essen, Gus’s and Milk and Honey?
I find it laughable that they even have a reservation system.

Can’t comment on the LivingSocial deal, but I like the Mill in general, and I like their spicy morrocan chickpea dish. I’ve never had rude service either, though their helpers don’t seem very experienced. It’s true Essen and Gus’s have been there a long time, but they don’t look that great either.

I’ve also had an Entertainment book for the first time this year and haven’t experienced any problems or rudeness when using it. I mainly use it in restaurants; my partner and I go out for dinner at least once a week so it’s been a great incentive to try some new places, and we’ve added one or two to our list of “regulars”.

Interestingly, we went for dinner at Flavours of India in Civic recently, and the waiter asked upfront if we had a LivingSocial voucher. We didn’t, but it sounded like they had some special arrangement in place for them.

#5
TheDancingDjinn12:38 pm, 17 Jan 12

powerpuffpete said :

People never seem to know what they’re getting when they buy something on LS. It seems to me that if the deal seems really good, chances are that it won’t be honoured or the details of the offer are incorrect.

Anyway the only eateries that end up on that site are the ones that can’t draw enough business. That’s why I find it odd that Mill cafe supposedly has “core customers”. How could such a $hitty looking cafe compete with the long-standing Essen, Gus’s and Milk and Honey?
I find it laughable that they even have a reservation system.

Gus’s – really? The food is so terrible!! the service is nice, the guys there are nice boys ( the ones who serve us usually are anyways) but other than that its on a busy corner where people walk past smoking or screaming down their iPhone and again – their is food yuck!! I drop past sometimes as my sister in law likes the place and we stop for a quick refuel while we do our shopping or getting our hair cut, but there is no way i would reccomend it, or even go out of my way to go there.

#6
p996911turbo1:59 pm, 17 Jan 12

I’ve had no trouble with redeeming my Mill Cafe vouchers. And while they’re not quite up to the standard of their somewhat classier competition, I still like them.

Sometimes people make bad decisions. Getting involved with LivingSocial clearly hasn’t worked for Mill Cafe and I feel sorry for them rather than pissed off at them.

#7
Felix the Cat3:09 pm, 17 Jan 12

I’ve never been to Mill Cafe or ever purchased or used any LS vouchers but heard a lot of similar bad stories on RA (and other forums) about simialr group buy vouchers not being honoured of staff snarling because you try and use one.

#8
JimiBostock3:55 pm, 17 Jan 12

While there is no excuse for any rudeness, etc as reported in the story, the cafe is just the latest victim of the LivingSocial / Groupon scam.

Well, that’s probably calling it a bit to strongly. These group buy sites can work for certain types of businesses or those in early start-up with some spare capita – AKA not needing cash-flow to survive in the period of the offer.

For businesses down in the full operational stage where cash-flow is the difference between life and death, getting involved with the group buying sites can be the final straw.

The rush of demand, once it appears on your doorstep, is a lot different to what it looks like on paper. You might be delighted to have sold 500 vouchers but when they all turn up at the same time you can be in a whole lo of trouble – just as this place is now that we are discoursing on its shortcomings on RA

The authorities tasked with keeping businesses honest probably need to go harder on the group buying trade. I believe that high-pressure sales techniques and misleading info (you can mislead by omission) are in play.

Hope it’s not too late for the Mill Cafe, as it has been for a growing number of small businesses worldwide

#9
chewy144:46 pm, 17 Jan 12

Felix the Cat said :

I’ve never been to Mill Cafe or ever purchased or used any LS vouchers but heard a lot of similar bad stories on RA (and other forums) about simialr group buy vouchers not being honoured of staff snarling because you try and use one.

I’ve never had a problem with any LS voucher and i’ve bought a few of them.
The problems that I’ve heard about often seem to be from things like car services or people trying to use vouchers on public holidays and the like.

#10
powerpuffpete8:42 am, 19 Jan 12

TheDancingDjinn said :

powerpuffpete said :

People never seem to know what they’re getting when they buy something on LS. It seems to me that if the deal seems really good, chances are that it won’t be honoured or the details of the offer are incorrect.

Anyway the only eateries that end up on that site are the ones that can’t draw enough business. That’s why I find it odd that Mill cafe supposedly has “core customers”. How could such a $hitty looking cafe compete with the long-standing Essen, Gus’s and Milk and Honey?
I find it laughable that they even have a reservation system.

Gus’s – really?

The food is so terrible!! the service is nice, the guys there are nice boys ( the ones who serve us usually are anyways) but other than that its on a busy corner where people walk past smoking or screaming down their iPhone and again – their is food yuck!! I drop past sometimes as my sister in law likes the place and we stop for a quick refuel while we do our shopping or getting our hair cut, but there is no way i would reccomend it, or even go out of my way to go there.

I generally agree. I don’t like their coffee and I hate the menu. The thick white sliced bread is highly unappealing and seems to come with everything.
I guess my point though, is that I would argue that Gus’s have core customers/regulars. Stealing them away should be easy but not if your cafe is somewhat worse.

#11
Mysteryman9:38 am, 19 Jan 12

I’ve been there a couple of times and my experience on those occasions was quite good. The staff were super friendly and even offered us a few complimentary home-made biscuits. I haven’t even tried redeeming a LS voucher or anything like that, though.

I do get the feeling that they’ve changed ownership/management recently. I haven’t been there in months but I don’t see the same guy (who I presumed was the owner) there when I go past now.

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