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Discount Coupons


clayrae
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Good Morning All!

Has anyone had any experience with those Restaurant.com certificates? Granted, the vast majority of the restaurants on their list are obscure and random, but I did notice Gerard's Place and Marcel's on there. But just like that stupid and almost worthless Entertainment Rewards program, I am leery of these "discount restaurant" programs. But I am willing to be corrected if I have the wrong impression about them.

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But just like that stupid and almost worthless Entertainment Rewards program, I am leery of these "discount restaurant" programs. But I am willing to be corrected if I have the wrong impression about them.
I can't speak about Restaurant.com, but Entertainment Rewards is a good program. I used to buy a book and get back the cost with one buy one/get one free meal at some of the restaurants in the "elegant dining section" like Tragara or Frascati in Bethesda. They used to have other semi-expensive places too. However, I haven't bought a book in a few years since the kids selling them as a fundraiser stopped coming around.
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They seem really sketchy, because you have to fork over your credit card number, and then all you have is a printout coupon to present to the restaurant. However, I've used their gift certificates at La Colline and Hee Been with no trouble at all. You just have to pay attention to the special parameters set for each certificate (e.g., dinner only, minimum of 4 diners, $ amount minimum, etc.).

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Good Morning All!

Has anyone had any experience with those Restaurant.com certificates? Granted, the vast majority of the restaurants on their list are obscure and random, but I did notice Gerard's Place and Marcel's on there. But just like that stupid and almost worthless Entertainment Rewards program, I am leery of these "discount restaurant" programs. But I am willing to be corrected if I have the wrong impression about them.

I've used one or two in the past. It is a good deal, as long as you are mindful of the restrictions. Some are only valid Mon-Thurs, some only valid if over $x is spent, others don't count alcohol towards the $x. Others may have a 1 coupon per month per person restriction.

My main problem with the program is that few restaurants I'd like to go to are covered. I kept looking for a Mykonos Grill (Rockville) coupon, but they are always out. I did get and use a couple Green Papaya (Bethesda) coupons though.

If you keep your eyes open or search the web, you can turn up discounts for Restaurant.com that will allow you to buy $25 coupons for 50-60% off of the regular $10 charge.

The do email you after you use the coupon and ask you to fill out a survey; enjoy the restaurant, been there before, would go again, would go without coupon, etc. I had no qualms about giving them my CC number; I saw it as a regular online purchase.

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As slarochelle noted, you must pay attention to the restrictions. I bought a $25 certificate for $4 (60% off promo) and when we went, I asked the server what restrictions applied and what we had to do. At meals end, the server returned with the bill & certificate and said the manager told him we couldn't use it because of what we ordered.

The manager came over and I stated that we had asked the server repeatedly about all restrictions and were told both entrees were okay. The manager said one was a 'special' and thus excluded. I said we hadn't just orderd 2 entrees only but apps, drinks and a dessert, and even suggested the manager simply charge the extra $3 the entree would have usually cost (some special :) ) but he said no and refused the certificate. We paid full price and left.

I called restaurant.com and they voided the certificate and emailed a new one for a different restaurant, which I later used with no problem.

I recommend restaurant.com (and the on-line transaction is as safe as any), just scrutinize the restrictions and double check when you get to the restaurant so there are no post-prandial surprises.

Eric

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I have used their certificates for Zpizza (Springfield) with no problems whatsoever. I got them at 60% off, so my $10 certificates cost around $2.

Unless you're using the new math, that's 80% off, not 60%... Not sure if you meant to say they cost $4, or if you meant to say they were 80% off.

I've noticed a number of pretty good deals, but it's never to restaurants I particularly want to go, which I guess is really the primary point behind the website. Places put up gift certificates at a discount to try and bring in the traffic that they aren't getting already. I even have two locales to choose from (I work in Raleigh, NC during the week and of course live in DC Metro during the week) and still really haven't seen anything I wanted. I keep checking back every now and then though just in case.

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Unless you're using the new math, that's 80% off, not 60%... Not sure if you meant to say they cost $4, or if you meant to say they were 80% off.

I've noticed a number of pretty good deals, but it's never to restaurants I particularly want to go, which I guess is really the primary point behind the website. Places put up gift certificates at a discount to try and bring in the traffic that they aren't getting already. I even have two locales to choose from (I work in Raleigh, NC during the week and of course live in DC Metro during the week) and still really haven't seen anything I wanted. I keep checking back every now and then though just in case.

The normal price for the certificates is already less than face value, so the math is correct. Also note they add a $1 surcharge for all transactions.

When I first discovered restaurant.com, I bought a ton (they used to even sell on ebay, often with a $1 minimum bid). Had good luck, but you had to be careful what you ordered and the choices aren't places I would normally go to.

What is the entertainment book rewards program all about?

To be honest, I think the only discount program that's worthwhile is opentable's point system. The 1,000 point bonus reservations are very easy to use and some of the restaurants are decent. The others all require too much effort as to when you can use them, what you have to order, etc.

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To be honest, I think the only discount program that's worthwhile is opentable's point system. The 1,000 point bonus reservations are very easy to use and some of the restaurants are decent.
Many of the restaurants are decent; some are wonderful -- Corduroy, Circle Bistro, Marcel's, many others. On the other hand, regarding:
I have not tried using this, but if you have an American Express card there are a few area restaurants that you can get discounts at.
-- I don't think there's a restaurant on the list (see link upthread) that I would eat at except perhaps Jaleo Crystal City, and some I would pay money to avoid (Teatro Goldoni, for a start).
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the city paper has these $50 coupons you buy for $25. (go to city paper click on Eats) highly recommend these! have some for commonwealth too.

Went looking for the Commonwealth certificate but it's not there right now (dang it, since we're going on Sat. night). Instead, they're featuring Sequoia (really?).

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Went looking for the Commonwealth certificate but it's not there right now (dang it, since we're going on Sat. night). Instead, they're featuring Sequoia (really?).

That's not advance notice enough anyway; they're not e-certificates or printable certificates. They snail-mail them to you, and it takes usually at least 2 weeks. There's a third-party processing firm that's actually running the deal; the City Paper is just branding.

A number of local TV and radio stations have identical programs on their websites, and I believe the same third-party processing vendor runs all of them.

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Not had any experience with Restaurant.com coupons but see that $25 coupons at some restaurants, apparently usually $10, are $3 with promotion code "SAVE."* Same deal through Borders Rewards Perks link to that site, by the way, though discount there is automatic.

Going to try them at KBQ, where conditions are $35 minimum tab and 18% pre-discount gratuity; therefore savings are not as great as one might first think, but 45% savings on $35 tab is still good. ($35 food + $6.30 tip + $3 cost of coupon - $25 coupon = $19.30 total cost. Don't expect you can combine coupons, so savings % would decrease with higher bills.) Doesn't seem to be exclude takeout but am not positive about that.

Perhaps also Cuba de Ayer....

* ETA: don't know when this particular deal expires but the Borders one ends 3/31.

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I've looked at Restaurant.com a few times and never found any restaurants that I really wanted to go to, at least that I was certain enough of going that I would purchase a gift certificate. Though if they are $3 for a $25 certificate, the level of certainty would not need to be as high.

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Nicaro in Silver Spring is currently offering Restaurant.com coupons. $20 for a $50 off coupon on $100 spent.

With the SAVE code it was $6 for the $50 coupon, which is a steal.

We had a lovely dinner on Sunday night, the skate and veal cheeks were especially good.

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I just came across the following deal from a bargain-hunting website:

Restaurant.com again 70% off their already reduced price gift certificates. Apply coupon code TASTY at checkout to knock their $25 certificates down to just $3 and the $10 certificates to only 90 cents. Offer ends 05/16/2009[saturday].

Redemption-wise, it's the standard, limit (1) redemption per use, a minimum purchase order amount, depending on the restaurant, etc... Seems like a great deal. I know some the restaurants may not be your first choice, but there's a wide-selection.

Has anyone used this service before? What are your thoughts?

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I just came across the following deal from a bargain-hunting website:

Redemption-wise, it's the standard, limit (1) redemption per use, a minimum purchase order amount, depending on the restaurant, etc... Seems like a great deal. I know some the restaurants may not be your first choice, but there's a wide-selection.

Has anyone used this service before? What are your thoughts?

Assuming you can find a place you want to eat at, and you carefully read the restrictions, they can be a good deal.

Note that the restrictions often require a $50 purchase to use a $10 certificate, only allow certificates on Sun-Thurs, etc.

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Happy 09/09/09 day! Using the code NINETY will get you 90% off these certificates. Offer expires on 09/13/09. And if you do it through your UPromise link, you might get a 2% rebate savings, if things work right (so far it hasn't for me, but I keep trying!).

I just spent 15 minutes paging through the site, and couldn't find a single restaurant that I wanted to buy a gift certificate for, even at $1 for a $25 GC...

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I just spent 15 minutes paging through the site, and couldn't find a single restaurant that I wanted to buy a gift certificate for, even at $1 for a $25 GC...
Really? Not even for other cities you may visit? Just curious... I'm getting one for Himalayan Heritage to try it out - is it not worth it?
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When I tried the Mad for Chicken the other week and ordered online, my order confirmation sheet said something about accepting coupons. I found this link for gift certificates at Posh: $25 gift cert. for only $10 (but minimum order of $35 dining, and 20% gratuity is charged). There are also $50 and $100 gift certs.

I mentioned this to Chef when I picked up my wings at Posh, he said since MFC and Posh are under the same umbrella, those gift certificates will be honored, even for carry out. I have yet to confirm in action, but thought I'd throw it out there.

I'll have to get a gift cert just to try those crabcakes that Rocks is ga-ga over.

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I have a question for restaurateurs willing to give an honest answer: If I use one of these discounts, am I going to come across as a cheapskate? When I was younger, I used to use the Entertainment book, and I felt like restaurants didn't like it very much when you whipped out that coupon. Is it the same kind of mentality from a restaurant's point of view?

I mean, of COURSE I'm going to go to W Domku sometime in the next six months (see above post). So is there any reason I shouldn't use one of these things?

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I have a question for restaurateurs willing to give an honest answer: If I use one of these discounts, am I going to come across as a cheapskate? When I was younger, I used to use the Entertainment book, and I felt like restaurants didn't like it very much when you whipped out that coupon.

Speaking as a former server that worked in a restaurant that accepted the Entertainment card, I disliked the card and other coupons mainly because I would often get tipped on the discounted total. :angry:

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Speaking as a former server that worked in a restaurant that accepted the Entertainment card, I disliked the card and other coupons mainly because I would often get tipped on the discounted total. :angry:

That's why I hesitate to use these things. I know to tip on the regular price, but am afraid that there is bias. Not that it isn't warranted, what with servers getting stiffed. I feel that I must provide a disclaimer, "I have a coupon, but don't worry, the tip won't reflect the discount". It's uncomfortable.

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That's why I hesitate to use these things. I know to tip on the regular price, but am afraid that there is bias. Not that it isn't warranted, what with servers getting stiffed. I feel that I must provide a disclaimer, "I have a coupon, but don't worry, the tip won't reflect the discount". It's uncomfortable.

I used to say the exact same thing, and yes, it's uncomfortable.

But back to my original question: do Groupon coupons peg you as a cheapskate, or do restaurants welcome them?

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I used to say the exact same thing, and yes, it's uncomfortable.

But back to my original question: do Groupon coupons peg you as a cheapskate, or do restaurants welcome them?

Well, the way I see it, the restaurants arrange for these coupons, they don't get volunteered. I think the rub comes in with the servers. I'd like to think that I'm going to be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to tipping.

The thing is, I absolutely love getting a discount. I'm a spaver. So why do I feel guilty using discounts when it comes to restaurants?

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But back to my original question: do Groupon coupons peg you as a cheapskate, or do restaurants welcome them?

I used one of those Groupon things ($25 for $50) at Cashion's last night and they took it with a smile and zero attitude of any sort. Cashion's is right in my neighborhood and I figured that buying a couple of these discounts would spur me to visit more often than I usually do (and maybe bring some friends along with me who might then become new regular customers). The deal for Cashion's has shown up one or two more times since I bought them, so I take that to mean that Cashion's doesn't hate these things. I did feel very sheepish about using it, though (made worse by the fact that these Groupon/LivingSocial type things are just a printout and don't look very legit). I too can't help wondering what the restaurant thinks when someone whips one of these out. When it came time, I was almost too embarrassed to give it to the server. It's very hard to get over this uncomfortable feeling, but I wonder if that is only due to my wrong assumptions about what the restaurant and servers think.

(I tipped on the full amount)

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today's LivingSocial offering is $15 for $30 at Tackle Box. I will likely regift this to one of my my teenagers as it makes dining out for her and her friends a better deal for them. They are well aware whenever using anything like these deals to tip on the full amount.

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I feel that I should point out that this weekend, anybody who's on the fence about trying Kora (or, if you're like me, can't afford to eat out nearly as much as I try to......) Groupon is offering a $40 certificate to Kora for only $20. Normally, the deal is only on if a certain number of people buy in, but seeing as how they've already had 780 people buy and they only needed 125, it's not an issue......

http://www.groupon.com/washington-dc/area/dc-metro/deals/kora-restaurant-bar-lounge

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DAMN - I must have deleted this email without reading. I get their emails every day and rarely see anything of interest, but this is a deal. Love Moorenko's ice cream

Dang. I missed this one too, and I pay extra close attention for any Groupons involving food. I guess some Groupons may be targeted by location?

I always feel a little awkward and guilty about using them. Even though I know, logically, the restaurant promoted this and the servers will be expecting to see some, I still feel like I'm waving a big sign saying, "penny pincher here!"

Of course I tip on the original amount of the bill (overtip, actually - see guilt, supra) but obviously the server won't know that yet when they first see the coupon. Still, in each case they have been happily accepted by the server or cashier with no hint of an attitude at all. These coupons have been a good experience for me so far.

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Dang. I missed this one too, and I pay extra close attention for any Groupons involving food. I guess some Groupons may be targeted by location?

I think they started splitting them into locations about a week or so ago, so yes, it's easy to miss them now. I think the day the Moorenko one came up, i got the "Chef Geoff" promotion, because that was what was offered to the DC-VA folks, while the Moorenko was offered for those registered in MD. Hope this helps, since I now (tedious task) usually click on the link to see what the DC-MD folks get for deals...
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I always feel a little awkward and guilty about using them. Even though I know, logically, the restaurant promoted this and the servers will be expecting to see some, I still feel like I'm waving a big sign saying, "penny pincher here!"

Of course I tip on the original amount of the bill (overtip, actually - see guilt, supra) but obviously the server won't know that yet when they first see the coupon. Still, in each case they have been happily accepted by the server or cashier with no hint of an attitude at all. These coupons have been a good experience for me so far.

You are a server's dream! People like you are hard to come by...truly.

FYI, Eventide will be doing an offer with Groupon in a week or two for brunch dollars...we need to get Sunday mornings as busy as we are for dinner the rest of the week!!

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