Restaurant.Com (Or Participating Resturants) Reduces Portion Sizes On Some Deals

One of the worst kept secrets in the ‘get a great deal’ on dining out has been  This site has been one of my favorites for years.

With the site, you can buy a coupon that gives you a dollar amount off participating restaurants.  Typically, you can get a $10 coupon for $3 or a $25 for $10, with each restaurant choosing the terms by which you can use the coupons (some won’t allow you to use them on weekend nights or on holidays or unless your party consists of a certain number of people).  The great part about it is that you can typically find a coupon code for 80%, and sometimes even 90%, off the regular price of a certificate.

Pot roast corn fed chicken with wild sorrel risotto, summer truffles and calvados espuma at The Forth Floor Restaurant, Harvey Nichols, Edinburgh

This means that you could get a $10 coupon for $0.60 or a $25 coupon for $2 with the most commonly found 80% off coupon.

It’s practically a steal!

I’ve noticed, though, that over the past few months, a few restaurants have the stipulation “Promo Codes Do Not Apply.”

Sure enough, if you add that coupon to your shopping cart and enter a promo code, you don’t get anything off.

I wasn’t able to find much information about why some restaurants are excluded.  I’m not sure if the restaurants get a better rate for not participating or how the participation structure breaks down.

At first glance, it’s easy to say “Well, I’m not paying five times more for a certificate” and move on.  And, that’s certainly a valid option.  If you’re browsing and you’re wavering between two restaurants, one that you can use a promo code and one that you can’t, my guess is the one that allows you to use to code will win 99% of the time.

So, why would you buy a coupon at a restaurant that doesn’t allow you to use codes.  Here’s a few reasons I can think of.

  1. You didn’t even know about the 80% off regular codes
  2. It’s your favorite restaurant
  3. It’s still a better percentage off (60 or 70%) than most Groupon or Living Social deals, which from what I’ve been able to see, give you 50-55% off in most cases.

Would the cutbacks on promo code availability cause you to stop using or would you narrow down your list of potential restaurants to those which are not on the ‘restricted’ list?  

An Awesome Change By Restaurant.Com

We’ve used for years.  The way it works is that you buy a coupon that gives you a dollar amount off the meal, and the price you pay for the coupon is way less than the face value.  Typically, you can get a $25 certificate for $10 or a $10 certificate for $4.  Towards the end of the month, they’ll often run 70% or 80% off specials (all you have to do is enter the promo code that they distribute to their e-mail members) so you can get them much cheaper.

We’ve run into very few problems over the years.  One time we had a restaurant refuse to honor the certificate, saying that they had opted out of the program but that had not removed them from the site, but they later sent us a gift card as an apology.

They recently made a change that I think is awesome.  In the past, you had one year to use a certificate after purchasing it, otherwise it expired.  Now, they have removed that restriction, so as long as the restaurant is open and still participating, you can use the certificates.  From what I understand, any previously expired certificates are now valid as well.  There are two certificates that we never got around to using that I had written off (I think they were $10 certificates that we’d paid $0.80 each for) but I’m now going to go back and attempt to print them, as I know both restaurants are still open and both participate.

So, if your eyes were bigger than your stomach and you never got around to using some of your certificates, go back and check, because you may be in for a pleasant surprise!

Thanks to my dad for passing this tidbit along!