Does Restaurant.com really work? The answer to this question depends upon how effectively the service is utilized.
People who routinely dine out are always looking for ways to save money. Restaurant.com is a service that connects restaurants to prospective diners via discounted certificates.
Discount Dining and Restaurant Coupons
For many, dining out is one of life's simplest yet most satisfying pleasures. But if it were possible to dine out at a substantial savings, that joy would no doubt increase.
That is the premise for Restaurant.com. And as the company celebrates its 10th Anniversary in 2010, customers can expect additional incentives and savings. The company has already offered discounts of up to 80% for its restaurant certificates, and promotional saving opportunities will continue throughout the year.
Restaurant.com as a Restaurant Directory
The Restaurant.com website directs its customers to enter a zip code, or city and state, to return a listing of participating restaurants in a diner's specific area. A search radius of miles allows for a more thorough list, and regional searches are an option. Sorting by criteria, such as price or cuisine, can further refine results.
Certificates for listed restaurants come in a variety of denominations, such as $10, $25 or $50 values, and restaurant listings often include multiple photos of the restaurant as well as restaurant menus. Driving directions are also provided, and some restaurants offer direct reservation service through Restaurant.com.
Fine print is included for each listing. It is highly recommended that anyone considering the purchase of a specific restaurant's certificate read all information provided.
Each listing discloses how much a diner must spend to utilize the certificate. Some restaurants, for example, require a minimum purchase of $50 before a $25 certificate can be used. Others may require only an expenditure of $35 before permitting the use of a $25 certificate. The fine print also covers special exclusionary dates when the certificate cannot be used. But in all cases, dining out savings can be substantial.
Other terms and conditions apply to every certificate at every restaurant and include:
- Only 1 restaurant-specific certificate can be redeemed in a month, per party, even when the party sits at more than one table or requests more than one check.
- The certificates are not valid for tips or taxes, merchandise, or prior balances at any restaurant.
- The certificates cannot be combined with other certificates or coupons.
- Certificates are to be used dine-in only, unless specifically stated otherwise in a restaurant's terms.
- Gratuities, generally 18%, will be automatically added to check totals before the deduction of the certificate amount.
- Most certificates do not expire, but each certificate contains any expiration information as needed.
After purchasing the certificate, the diner prints it out and takes it to the restaurant. Recently, $25 certificates could be purchased for only $2, creating a $23 savings at the restaurant.
Once a customer has registered an email address with Restaurant.com, he or she will routinely receive promotional emails that provide codes for additional savings.
Restaurant.com offers an unconditional guarantee on its certificates, and accessing customer service in the event of a problem is a simple task.
Cheap Dining Bonuses
In addition to the restaurant-specific certificates, Restaurant.com also sells gift certificates good for any participating restaurant anywhere in the country.
Cheap dining is the biggest plus, but one of the most overlooked bonuses is the exposure to local dining opportunities.
In this modern age of giant restaurant chains that serve the same fare from coast to coast, it can be refreshing to discover locally owned and operated neighborhood eateries. While some chain restaurants do participate in Restaurant.com, the majority of restaurants listed are local. Utilizing the discounted certificate service may turn an unknown mom-and-pop restaurant into a new favorite for the patron who discovers it.
Restaurant.com also partners with other services to provide discount opportunities. For example a few recent offers included a free $25 gift certificate for:
- joining Netflix
- donating to the ASPCA
- signing up for the Doubleday Book Club
- spending $100 at Nordstrom.com
These types of additional offers vary from time to time and are categorized for selection.
Restaurant.com Provides Value
When all aspects of this company are considered, the benefits appear to heavily outweigh any minor inconveniences associated with the "fine print". Whether economic times are good or bad, saving money is always a pleasure. And when it comes to dining out, saving money at a favorite restaurant may make the food taste even better.