LivingSocial Takes Deals Offline by Opening a Facility to Host Events

One of the big expenses of running a daily deals site is marketing costs to acquire customers.

LivingSocial can now add real estate to that list, too.

The Washington, D.C.-based company, which is the second-largest deals company after Groupon, says it has secured a 28,000-square-foot six-story building to host a number of activities and classes, such as cooking, painting, photography and yoga.

Doug Miller, LivingSocial’s SVP of New Initiatives said, “In our state-of-the-art facility, local merchants get the resources, space and audience they need to scale their businesses and reach new customers. We believe this is the next step in the evolution of local commerce.”

The building, at 918 F Street, has a culinary kitchen, a demonstration kitchen for 36 people, and three flexible spaces that can be adapted for dining, dancing, classes, workshops and more. A basement bar serves as a venue for mixology classes or beer and wine tastings.

The inaugural event will be a dining experience by Mike Isabella, a “Top Chef All-Stars” runner-up, who will be giving a sneak peek of his new restaurant, which will open in the spring.

A close competitor to Groupon, LivingSocial has experimented with a number of different programs. Late last year, it announced Room Service, which delivers high-end meals to your door — complete with dishes, candles and cloth napkins.

Room Service kicked off with one restaurant, which was offering two set menus for $66 each. A lot of kinks still had to be worked out, such as how to keep plates hot or cold, and how the restaurant would get the dinnerware back the next day.

However, it appears the service never took off. LivingSocial is no longer accepting reservations, and the Room Service page is no longer live. A spokesperson confirms that it is currently reevaluating the service with restaurants.

In 2011, LivingSocial lost $558 million on revenue of $245 million, due to aggressive acquisition costs.


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