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DonRocks
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I'll move this to the News and Media section, but wanted to let everyone know that I had an email blast come out from Savored.com this morning, where I discussed seven of their DC area restaurants.

I also used Savored as a paying customer for the first time last Friday night, and was more than happy with my dinner at El Manantial in Reston.

This is a business model I could potentially throw my weight behind - there are no coupons, and that is just awesome.

Here is a link to my piece at Savored (I think you have to be signed in to see it; I'll try to find another URL also).

Cheers,

Rocks

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They don't appear to offer an option for solo diners.

I can ask about this - with Savored, you'd have to spend $33.33 to break even as a solo diner which is why they may be targeting larger parties. That said, it's pretty easy to drop $33.33 these days - I suspect you could reserve a table for two, then call the restaurant and change it to one (but definitely call the restaurant).

Savored also has some $3 reservations from time to time which make things more attractive to the solo diner, and I would think most restaurants would be happy to seat solo diners at the bar as well (I will almost surely be finding this out on my own, and will let you know).

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Hey All,

If you haven't had the chance to read Don's review on Savored today, here's the link: http://link.savored.com/view/e3un.0/88afe157 (you don't need to sign in). I've been a member of donrockwell.com since 2009 and recently received the opportunity to work at Savored as DC's Head of Business Development. When introduced to Savored, I found the concept extremely refreshing. As a marketing tool for restaurants, LivingSocial and Groupon do a great job of getting your name out there to their massive subscriber list. The issue though is that when doing one of those "daily deal" offers, it usually has to get written off as a marketing/advertising expense, as the restaurant is not going to make money (on a $25 for $50 worth of food offer, the restaurant usually gets 50% of the deal, so $12.50 in the end). The other issue with those daily deals is that the consumer can use those offers anytime they want. So if it's 7:30pm on a Saturday night and the restaurant has an hour wait, half of the restaurant might be using a coupon while the patrons waiting might be full paying customers that might not want to wait around.

What Savored offers is what the airline and hotel industry have been doing for years. It is a yield management tool that helps restaurants fill their empty table inventory during their slow/off peak times (the service is 100% free for restaurants). Same thing restaurants do with happy hour/early bird pricing. Savored's site is set up as a reservation platform (we are actually exclusive partners with Opentable). The member pays $10 for a reservation and in exchange receives 30% off their bill (alcohol included). The service is discreet (no paper/coupon), and all that is mentioned is that you have a 6:30pm reservation when you arrive at the hostess stand. The times available on the site are based on when the restaurant might be slow or have open tables. Not only is it a great deal for the member, but the restaurant can now fill an empty table and make incremental revenue that would have been $0 if the table was not filled. Because of this model, Savored has been able to partner with restaurants LivingSocial/Groupon can't touch. We are in 750 restaurants in the 10 major cities, 250 in New York City alone (that's where Savored started). We are in James Beard winning and Michelin starred restaurants, because the owner/GM realizes they get free marketing to the demographic they are looking to hit (average age in DC is 35) and can solve the issue of filling tables that have been sitting idle.

The first thing I wanted to do when I joined the Savored team was have Don involved in some way. He has built an incredibly close knit community on this site and he is the personality I think Savored needs. Hopefully this is just the beginning of an amazing partnership with Savored and Don Rockwell.

@bookluvingbabe - Savored does not offer reservations for solo diners. The idea is that if you spend $33.33 like Don mentioned, you'll break even on your $10 reservation fee. If you do not spend $33.33, Savored refunds the $10 back in to your account. We are offering $3 reservations for the entire month of March, so have at it :)

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@jasonc - We arent really inventing the wheel here, and there is always going to be competition, but based on the number of quality partnerships we've been able to establish and success thus far we have been able to stick out. I hadn't heard of Dining Date Night but did notice that they launched in June of 2011 whereas our company launched in May 2010. Thanks for pointing it out!

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Won't let me read it. How do I get past the sign in screen?

They flipped around the URLs, and what's there now is the old reviews being pulled from their database (not my writing!)

I'll get a current URL and post it here - in the meantime, I can forward the email to anyone who PMs me their address (I tried to cut-and-paste the email here, but Invision was being wonky about it).

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They flipped around the URLs, and what's there now is the old reviews being pulled from their database (not my writing!)

I'll get a current URL and post it here - in the meantime, I can forward the email to anyone who PMs me their address (I tried to cut-and-paste the email here, but Invision was being wonky about it).

Here you go!

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For what it's worth, I tried savored.com based on this discussion, and had a seamless experience getting, and using, a reservation at Masa 14. Nice to save some $. Remember to tip on the full amount, not the bill after 30% off - our server did mention (after i asked what the original total was, for tipping purposes) that people tend to forget that.

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I may be confused (I often am) but as far as I can tell, Savored is no longer charging $ for reservations? (That is, you used to pay $x to Savored and then get discount on total bill - now it looks like you don't pay any $ at all but you get a discount on bill, just because you used savored.com not opentable.com?)

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I may be confused (I often am) but as far as I can tell, Savored is no longer charging $ for reservations? (That is, you used to pay $x to Savored and then get discount on total bill - now it looks like you don't pay any $ at all but you get a discount on bill, just because you used savored.com not opentable.com?)

That's right (just make sure to be aware of time and date restrictions).

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Holy moly, that was easy to use! Don, do you know why they aren't charging for reservations anymore? How is that going to be sustainable? I didn't see any explanatory info on their website. Whatever it is they are doing, get in on it NOW. It's very discreet, unlike fumbling with coupons. We were at 2941 tonight and it felt like we were getting away with something.

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Holy moly, that was easy to use! Don, do you know why they aren't charging for reservations anymore? How is that going to be sustainable? I didn't see any explanatory info on their website. Whatever it is they are doing, get in on it NOW. It's very discreet, unlike fumbling with coupons. We were at 2941 tonight and it felt like we were getting away with something.

I don't know their business plan or how they're planning to compete in this saturated industry.

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Should I feel bad if I make a reservation with Savored to a restaurant I would go to anyway without one? I appreciate saving 30% on a meal that I'd pay full price for, but hey, we all need to watch our pennies, don't we. How is someone (i.e. the restaurant) not getting screwed?

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Should I feel bad if I make a reservation with Savored to a restaurant I would go to anyway without one? I appreciate saving 30% on a meal that I'd pay full price for, but hey, we all need to watch our pennies, don't we. How is someone (i.e. the restaurant) not getting screwed?

Of course you shouldn't feel bad. It's like paying the internet rate for a hotel room instead of the rack rate.

Enjoy your meal at Orso. :)

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Of course you shouldn't feel bad. It's like paying the internet rate for a hotel room instead of the rack rate.

Enjoy your meal at Orso. :)

Thanks for the support, Don. I didn't think about hotel room prices. For whatever reason, it seems more personal dealing with restaurants, especially local ones which I'll frequent...erm...frequently. I'm loving Orso 2.0, BTW

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I used Savored for the first time in my life on Saturday night (6:00 PM at Lost Society). Getting 30% off at a restaurant that is already a great value made Savored my new favorite website, but there were some bumps along the road.

Reservations online were easy, I appreciate that, but things went a bit downhill from there. We were running late, so we called the restaurant to tell them so (we ended up there at 6:14 PM). When we told them our name and reservation time, they didn't have us listed, but then they asked if we made the reservation via Savored, we said yes, and they told us that Savored was down (I have no idea if this is true or not, just what they told us). Then, when we checked in, they asked to see our Savored printout-thingy, so we showed it to them, we then got seated. Then, when we were seated, our server asked us if we used Savored to make our reservations and asked for the Savored printout-thingy again, and took it this time. But, when we got our bill, we didn't have the 30% off, so we had to ask them to return the correct bill to us.

Was any of this Savored's fault? Probably not, so I can't fault them, I'm just wondering if others have run across this same issue. Part of me thinks that the waitstaff at Lost Society just needs more training, but part of me thinks that it is more sinister than that. We had to make it clear on three separate occasions at the restaurant that we made our reservations via Savored before getting the correct bill. Is the restaurant trying to get people in the door, but then purposely making it difficult to get the discount? I hope not because that would suck, but I have a feeling that there is something to my paranoia.

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I used Savored for the first time in my life on Saturday night (6:00 PM at Lost Society). Getting 30% off at a restaurant that is already a great value made Savored my new favorite website, but there were some bumps along the road.

Reservations online were easy, I appreciate that, but things went a bit downhill from there. We were running late, so we called the restaurant to tell them so (we ended up there at 6:14 PM). When we told them our name and reservation time, they didn't have us listed, but then they asked if we made the reservation via Savored, we said yes, and they told us that Savored was down (I have no idea if this is true or not, just what they told us). Then, when we checked in, they asked to see our Savored printout-thingy, so we showed it to them, we then got seated. Then, when we were seated, our server asked us if we used Savored to make our reservations and asked for the Savored printout-thingy again, and took it this time. But, when we got our bill, we didn't have the 30% off, so we had to ask them to return the correct bill to us.

Was any of this Savored's fault? Probably not, so I can't fault them, I'm just wondering if others have run across this same issue. Part of me thinks that the waitstaff at Lost Society just needs more training, but part of me thinks that it is more sinister than that. We had to make it clear on three separate occasions at the restaurant that we made our reservations via Savored before getting the correct bill. Is the restaurant trying to get people in the door, but then purposely making it difficult to get the discount? I hope not because that would suck, but I have a feeling that there is something to my paranoia.

One of the big drawing cards of Savored, to me, is its invisibility and seamlessness. Without these, it's worth no more than any other discount program. (You do know it was bought by Groupon, right?)

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I had a mixed Savored experience this weekend, too.

The good:

-easy reservation with the iPhone app.

-30% off at 2941 on Saturday night (albeit 6:30PM, but that's OK with us)

-the restaurant already knew I had the Savored reservation (this hasn't always been the case at Orso)

The bad:

-I told the server I had a Savored reservation (as the web site and app tells me to do) and he jokingly admonished me for making it public and that I was "supposed to be discrete". That's when I learned they already knew.)

-Did we get worse service because the server knew he'd get a good tip? I don't know, but our service wasn't very good.

-Tip added was 20%, not 18% as Savored says. Would I have given more? Maybe, but our service was worth 18%, not 20.

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Terrible night at Orso with a Savored reservation for 6PM.As I'm supposed to do, I told the server that I had the deal, but he didn't know what I was talking about. I had to explain the 30% discount. Strike 1. When the bill came, the discount was only about 18% so I had to ask the server what was going on. He said the discount was on food only but I assured him it included drinks, too. He said he'd get the manager.Strike 2. After a while, Jonathan (?) came over and fed us a line of bullshit that the laws in Virginia are odd and that discounts couldn't be taken on happy hour prices. I asked if we ordered in happy hour and he said no, but that he set up the system so that discounts never included alcohol. He graciously said that he would make things right and ended up giving us a round of beers, which makes the total discount a little more than 30%, which is considerate, but I suspect it's only because the computer wasn't set up to give the 30% total discount as Savored promised. It's strike 3 for the night.

I'll certainly try the system again because the discount is hard to beat, but if I have to go through the hassle and embarrassment of haggling over a bill, then I won't be using it long-term. I'm still not sure what Savored gets out of this. Maybe this is the beginning of the end for this program.

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Terrible night at Orso with a Savored reservation for 6PM.As I'm supposed to do, I told the server that I had the deal, but he didn't know what I was talking about. I had to explain the 30% discount. Strike 1. When the bill came, the discount was only about 18% so I had to ask the server what was going on. He said the discount was on food only but I assured him it included drinks, too. He said he'd get the manager.Strike 2. After a while, Jonathan (?) came over and fed us a line of bullshit that the laws in Virginia are odd and that discounts couldn't be taken on happy hour prices. I asked if we ordered in happy hour and he said no, but that he set up the system so that discounts never included alcohol.

As far as I know, and I'm sure there are people on here who can correct me or back me up, I've never known Virginia restaurants to be able to give coupons or percentage discounts on beverages. You can have a different price on happy hour, but not a "coupon" or other discount like that. (Note I'm talking restaurants and not stores.)

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The explanation I have received several times in random discussions with the bartender is that discounts on alcohol are forbidden by the Virigina ABC law. Hence, the Arrowine coupon cannot be used on wine and "buying back" a steady customer's drink has to be done discreetly.

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