What’s with the new Offer restrictions?
The tl;dr is this: restaurants have a legal capacity cap due to COVID (at the time of this writing, it’s 50%) and it’s essential for their success that Offline members avoid times when they hit that 50% capacity cap.
Here’s a bit longer explanation for the curious.
To say we’re not fans of restrictions is an understatement. When we first started Offline, every Offer could be used at any time. The only restrictions that we allowed were the legal ones (N.C. does not allow discounts on alcohol unless they apply to everyone) and ones that protected the integrity of our program (allowing dine-in restaurants to restrict to-go orders because the purpose of Offline is for you to experience a place in its entirety).
But the world was different back then: restaurants were opening left and right, the economy was growing at an unbelievable pace, and there was no global pandemic. Now, restaurants are closing left and right, the economy is contracting, and (as of right now) there is no end in sight.
Sure, most Offline members join because they want great Offers, but the most common reason that members give for joining is actually supporting local businesses. Well, day/time restrictions during COVID help support local businesses. Period.
When Offline members are visiting a restaurant that isn’t full, they are bringing that restaurant needed traffic and exposure (at no cost to the restaurant) and getting a great experience in return. However, when restaurants are at capacity, Offline can actually cost a restaurant a significant amount of money. When all is well, restaurants are willing to exchange this money for new customers and growth. But when things are bad and cash is tight, they just can’t afford it.
If you’re bothering to read this, you probably care about the health of our partners and the local economy. I hope this is a helpful 101 about why we added restrictions!