Dig into a big breakfast of fried, scrambled or poached eggs on toasted bread, accompanied with sausage, bacon, roasted tomato, mushrooms and a hash brown, or the vegetarian option of sautéed spinach and ricotta.
Sounds alright doesn’t it? But before we could enjoy any of this at Il Baretto at 1 Hobart Place in the city, we were told our Groupon voucher was void because we didn’t make a reservation before 11 March. The last day to consume the brekkie is 11 April.
Peckish and jaw dropped, we saw our scrumptious brekkie slipping away in the empty cafe early in the morning. The reason why we couldn’t eat what we paid for? Because Groupon allegedly ‘made’ Il Baretto fill in the “must book by” date when they advertised and they couldn’t possibly make an exception. Nope, not at all. Sorry you have paid, but it would be too inconvenient for us to seat you in our empty cafe and cook you breakfast without up to a month’s notice.
One has to admire the ingenious short-term business model – tempt customers to part with their money knowing the minimal likelihood of them reading the fine print and successfully claiming their breakfast. Combine this with the knowledge that to a Canberran of some 28 years booking a cafe for breakfast would seem more like a punch line than a requirement, it is no wonder the deal has failed to increase business.
Of course, resolutely turning away potential new customers so as to pocket the princely sum of $19 seems an unsustainable business model. Yet even fully explaining to the staff their illogical stance was futile, even to the point of vowing to tell this story to everyone we could. So congratulations Il Baretto, you have permanently lost two customers and become the latest notorious example of incomprehensibly bad business sense and customer service.