Special offer for restaurant anniversary goes awry
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-17 04:09 PM
A special promotion staged by the Yuan Shao Barbecue restaurants of the Wowprime Group almost turned nasty Sunday morning as consumers lined up in hopes of taking advantage of the chain’s special offer. The chain prepared a limited number of coupons for each of its 24 locations island-wide, and when managers at some branches began handing out coupons earlier than scheduled at 9:00am, the coupons were soon all handed out.

People who had been lined up since the previous even were disgruntled at being left out. Nervous shop owners in the area called police to maintain order, and negotiations with restaurant management eventually ended in an agreement to award coupons to all comers. Similar incidents were reported at Yuan Shao locations across Taiwan.

The chain had originally planned to hand out 1000 of the coupons at each location beginning at 10:00am. In Keelung, with nearly 2000 people lined up at the door by early morning after news of the offer spread, management decided to begin giving out the coupons before the temperature and tempers both rose. The coupons were quickly exhausted, and unhappy consumers who failed to pick up a coupon raised chants claiming they had been cheated and were being played for fools by the restaurant.

The Keelung store manager placed a hasty call to the head office, gaining an offer of 200 additional coupons, but that was far from enough to satisfy the waiting crowd. By this time the owners of shops and businesses in the area were beginning to feel uneasy and the police were called in to assist.

In Taipei, the Nanjing East Road branch of Yuan Shao had similar problems, with people beginning to line up at 23:00pm Saturday night. After the coupons had all been handed out, many people who failed to receive one refused to leave the area.

Huang Yu-hsin, PR Director for Wowprime Group, explained that the enthusiastic response to the restaurant’s offer led the group to allow coupons to be handed out earlier than the announced time of 10:00am. Instead of cooling things down, the decision led to even more controversy at various Yuan Shao locations.

A spokesperson for the Consumers' Foundation, says that if the announced time for handling out coupons was 10:00am, the restaurant should have stuck to that schedule.

Even after the company headquarters okayed the tactic of awarding coupons to everyone present at 10:00am some people on the scene were still complaining and bad-mouthing the restaurant. In principle, says the foundation, if the restaurant changes the procedures it must be take responsibility for satisfying those who showed up on time hoping for a coupon.

Wowprime Group later offered an apology to anyone inconvenienced by the misunderstanding about the offer and the timing of the handouts. Group officials said they hope the proposed solution will satisfy everyone and invited those who received coupons to enjoy their meals at the special rate.

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