A while ago,Heidi shared her wonderful experiences with Living Social and Groupon. Today, I want to share how much I love restaurant.com. If you've used it before, hopefully you love it. If you haven't tried it, go online and search the restaurants in your area to see if there's anything you'd like to try.
Restaurant.com is a source where restaurants agree to provide gift certificates for $10, $25, and $50 for deep discounts that can be used in their restaurant. Their standing price is $5 for a $10 GC, $10 for $25, and $20 for a $50 certificate. Not bad. However, if you sign up for their email list, you get notifications about once a week for the "deal" of the week. This typically drops the $25 gift certificate price to either $2, $3, or $4. You can't beat that.
Most of the restaurants listed are mom and pop shops or small chains. You're typically not going to find Applebee's or Chili's or restaurants like that because they are too national. But local places, like Giordano's in Illinois, may participate at only some of their locations. We've found this is a great way to try a new place and we even found a new favorite restaurant in our area because of it.
There are some stipulations. All certificates apply to dine-in only and almost all have a minimum purchase amount. I always purchase the $25 gift certificate, which requires that we spend $35 to get the $25 off. On top of the meal price, they automatically include 18% gratuity, which is not on TOP of the tip you would usually pay, but in place of it. So, if we spend $35 before tax, we get $25 off. So $10. Then the tax and gratuity...$10. Plus the cost of the gift certificate, and in total, we spend about $25 instead of $50. Sure, it's not perfect, but it is a great way to go out to eat for way less than normal, even with all the stipulations.
One thing we found is that most of these restaurants are not expensive. So going just as a couple, we've had a hard time reaching the $35 minimum purchase. You may have to order appetizers, sodas, entrees, AND desserts to reach it, but in the end, it will still be cheaper than if you had not used the gift certificate. Or, go with another couple or your kids and you'll be sure to hit it easily.
So if you're looking for a date idea for Father's Day or for an upcoming birthday, or maybe a gift idea for Christmas, check out the selection and sign up online and enjoy a night out for less.