As people who take their kids to Welles Park know, Drew's Eatery was a quirky, very friendly hot dog stand specializing in organic and sustainable hot dogs, as well as vegan and gluten-free fare. And if you're snickering at "vegan hot dog stand," don't— the food had lots of flavor and it was always busy with moms and kids. But now Drew's is closed, opening only one last time on Saturday for a final meal, donations from fans to cover its debts, and a silent auction for the fixtures and equipment (including the Drew's Wienermobile). Cause of death, according to a statement posted by Andrew "Drew" Baker: he got hooked on deal sites like Groupon.
The statement begins:
Drew set out to open an Eatery that was both sustainable & organic. Over the course of 3+ years and listening to his customers requests we expanded our menu to offer more vegan and gluten free options. Our latest menu is about 50% vegan and offers over 70% Gluten Free. Trying to keep up with our competitors we began working with the online deals (groupon, plum, kgb, living social, reward network, price bunch, and others) We soon realized that these deals are not what they seem but yet are silent killers and only build false hope. We accept full responsibility as nobody forced us into Groupon or any other deal. We stopped doing any future deals in October and had hoped we could recover, but it was too late.
It seems he concluded what critics like Ellen Malloy have long argued— the deals cannibalize your existing customer base, bring in crowds who don't cover their costs and soon move on to the next deal, while the deal company pockets most of the proceeds. The last lunch and clearance sale at Drew's runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.