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Groupon eyes restaurants with nationwide POS offering

By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Groupon Inc launched a point-of-sale service called Breadcrumb across the United States on Wednesday as the world's largest daily deal company tries to win more restaurants as clients.

Breadcrumb is a sales, order management and reporting system for restaurants, bars and cafes that runs on Apple Inc's iPad. It was designed a start-up founded by Seth Harris. Groupon acquired the business in May.

Since that deal, Breadcrumb has been offered as a test to about 100 restaurants, bars and cafes in New York. On Wednesday, the company launched the service nationwide.

Groupon is a pioneer in daily deals, which are heavily discounted online offers for local services. Rampant growth has slowed in recent quarters. However, Groupon is expanding in other areas, hoping to become an operating system for local commerce, as Chief Executive Andrew Mason says.

Groupon launched a product sales business last year called Groupon Goods and recently unveiled a payments service for local merchants.

Last month, the company bought restaurant reservation startup Savored, sparking speculation the company may step up competition with OpenTable Inc, a leader in the sector.

"Restaurants, bars and cafes are such an important vertical for Groupon," Breadcrumb's Harris said. "In the next couple of quarters, we will roll out our service nationwide and get as many restaurants running on Breadcrumb as possible."

Groupon is not planning to integrate Savored with the Breadcrumb system soon. However, Harris said it was "an amazing opportunity to integrate our products down the road."

Breadcrumb charges $99 a month for restaurants to run its service on one iPad. That increases to $199 for two iPad terminals, $299 for five and $399 per month for up to 10 terminals.

Breadcrumb sells iPads at cost to ease set up, but restaurants can buy or use their own iPads too, Harris said.

Groupon is planning to offer its new payments service through the Breadcrumb system. However, restaurants are free to use their existing payments services, Harris added.

(Reporting By Alistair Barr; Editing by Richard Chang)

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