In praise of Restaurant.com

This curious expression brought to you by Restaurant.com. (I'm not gonna pretend this is a cute picture of me, but I thought it important to include as the first time I tried blackened alligator. So good! All thanks to my Restaurant.com voucher. Wink!)

Restaurant.com is a long time GPP fave!  I first learned of this website through one of those wretched “Just sign up for four offers and you get a free Macbook!!!” things (not  a GPP fave).  This was in the early days of those promos, before everyone knew that you don’t really get the Macbook for free , or  even close . . . at least, that’s my defense for now and I’m sticking with it.

After I realized that I was indeed not going to get said Macbook for any kind of special price, in the midst of the rubble, emerged Restaurant.com as one of the few offers that was legitimately a good deal.

Restaurant.com – Basically it’s a website where you buy discounted restaurant vouchers.  First you have to search by state, then city, and then you are offered a list of available restaurants.  So… No – you can’t type in a specific restaurant to see if it’s included on the list, you have to go by location first.

 (Sorry to all of you out there that really wanted to catch a deal at the local Golden Corral, you’ll have to scroll down to the G’s first.)

Typically, the restaurants listed are NOT big chains or even well-known restaurants (though sometimes you may be surprised!)  The website is mainly intended for newer eating establishments to boost their business.  This means it can be hit or miss, since you are often patronizing places that may not have been reviewed yet.  On your local list, you will also find restaurants that offer unique fare, often of the international variety, so this is a great way to explore more adventurous cuisine for less.  As of this writing, the current price list for the vouchers is as follows:

(Look! A Table!!!)

Gift certificate value:

Price YOU pay:

$10

$5

$25

$10

$50

$20

$75

$30

$100

$40

These are good deals already, but… wait for it… if you put your name on their mailing list, you’ll get weekly e-mails with ADDITIONAL percentages off!  These discount codes are only given to mailing list members; they are not mentioned on the website, so you would never know unless you signed up for it.  And… better yet, these discounts are quite generous: 30%, 70%, even 90% off on some occasions (it actually happened last week, but I didn’t have access to a computer to tell you about it).  This means you could have gotten a $25 gift certificate for only $2.50!

Now, there are a few things to note, before you’re all “FREE FOOD!!!”  With the vouchers, you have to make a minimum food purchase, e.g., you must buy $35 worth of food to use the $25 voucher– but that still means that you’re essentially getting $35 of food for $10, plus the cost of the voucher.

(And I really feel like this goes without saying, but OF COURSE you’d still tip your server for the full amount of what you would have owed, had you not had a voucher… but you already knew that and you’re not tacky people anyway, right?!)

Different restaurants have different rules, so please read the voucher details carefully before purchasing!  Most restaurants exclude alcohol from being eligible for the discount, so if you’re only a party of two and you’re trying to get to the minimum purchase amount, drinks will not be the way to go (but by all means, drink and be merry!).  A better way to get to this minimum $ number is to try an appetizer and/or a dessert along with your entrée.  This may mean you’ll need a doggie bag for some of your food, but that’s okay!  (Of course, inviting friends along and using the voucher for your whole party is another great way to get to that minimum. )

This picture was NOT brought to you by Restaurant.com. But the drinks were delightful, all the same.

One more thing:  It is at a restaurant’s discretion, and all these policies would be on the voucher, available to you BEFORE you buy it, but some restaurants limit voucher usage to certain times of the day or days of the week, e.g., “May not be used for Friday or Saturday dinner” or “Only available for lunch.”  Again, this is all disclosed to you BEFORE you actually commit to buying a voucher, so read it carefully to make sure it’s actually going to be something you’ll want to use  [visualize maternal finger wagging here].

So, the next step is to go to: www.restaurant.com

Run, don’t walk!  Even if you do not buy vouchers today, look and see what’s available in your area.  Add yourself to the mailing list, and wait – it won’t be for long – for an e-mail with a discount code for an additional percentage off (really, it won’t be for long).

In fact, here’s a freebie:

Today through this Sunday, October 16th, you can take an additional 80% OFF of a voucher purchase and get all $25 vouchers for $2, too!  Enter promo code: TOUCHDOWN

Wasn’t that sweet of me?  You just learned about Restaurant.com and you’re already saving money!

Enjoy!