Up to 80% Off Your Next Meal Out?

A lot of us have signed up for daily emails from Groupon or LivingSocial where the discounts/deals sometimes make us waver back and for between ‘should I’ or ‘should I not’. Restaurant.com is currently offering a deal on 80% off  of restaurant specific gift certificates.

It’s worth focusing on what this means in terms of ‘is this a frugal choice?” All indicators point to this being a good offer to buy because it allows for a somewhat expensive meal, if you’re taking you’re family, or the ability to spend a little extra if you’re having a date night. And spending a little extra would not come close to what you would spend without the deal.

Here’s an example:

You decide to buy a gift certificate to Restaurant A for a “$100 for $35”. That is, you’re spending $35 to get $100 towards that restaurant.  In order to use $100,  however, you have to plan on spending a minimum of $35 for your purchase. (also, this does not include tip or couple with any other promotion). So, you can’t use this gift certificate on different occasions, it must be used all at once. There is also a $2-5 service fee as well. In all, you’re spending, at most, $55 (a very generous tip) on a $100 meal that could make a special frugal anniversary dinner or a rare night out with the entire family.

It seems daunting, but it really is a good deal. Each place is different and Restaurant.com does a great job of putting the fine print directly under the deals, which is a good move on their behalf.

You might be wondering, too, “But is this really frugal?” Of course, I’d say, because you are getting way more for what you paid and there are a lot of options to choose from. Frugal choices come in different forms and in the wave of the coupon craze, there’s always going to be a deal worth thinking about.

Explore away and see if there are any places you’ve wanted to eat that has an awesome deal just for you.

Save 80% on most Restaurant Gift Certificates. Use code TASTY at checkout now thru 8/31/11.


  1. I just used the coupon code and link to get $25 dollars worth of food at Snoose Junction Pizzeria in Seattle for only $2. Keeping in mind that there is a minimum spending requirement of $35 I will be spending around $15 in total for a $35 meal. Still more than a 50% discount!

  2. Do you make money through that link? This post sounds awful sales-y. People should also keep in mind that restaurant.com is ALWAYS running 80% off sales – so it isn’t a hurry-before-they’re-gone kind of thing. Also, you might try searching the web for restaurant.com reviews. They are hundreds of horror stories of people buying certificates that the establishments refuse to honor. I guess they (restaurant.com) would keep selling the certs even after the merchants had cancelled their agreements with them. TONS of merchants have pulled out from offering certs on that site. There are only 4 restaurants within 100 miles of me that sell on that site – and they all have very specific requirements to use the certificates. Buyer beware…

    • You’re probably right and I think you have to be really careful with this site. I have friends that have used it and been successful which is why I did it. I probably wouldn’t have even tried without the 80% discount

  3. Always call before you head out to the restaurant because, as others have mentioned, sometimes the restaurant has cancelled the contract, but it still shows up on the website. I’ve had this happen several times. However, you can contact restaurants.com and exchange your coupon for another restaurant. Restaurants.com even exchanged an expired coupon for me.

  4. I have used restaurant.com a few times and generally have been unhappy with the results. The restaurants that are on their site are, in my experience, not very good. We did have one local restaurant that was great – so choose carefully. Check out yelp or tripadvisor reviews.

  5. We’ve had good luck with groupon for restaurants, but we’ve waited a few weeks after a deal and always call in advance. We’ve had to be flexible in terms of timing (sometimes, even though it is not in the fine print, they just don’t want you coming in at a particular time or day), but generally it’s worked pretty well.

    We always tip on the full price, not the discounted one, which may explain why we’ve always had good treatment (too many couponers tip on the discounted price and this really irks the restaurant staff).

    Restaurant.com is good in theory, not so good in reality because of the way the deals vary by restaurant (all kinds of restrictions–must spend at least X, etc. which often means you are ordering more than you’d want; limits on number of people at table;, etc.) Plus the deals are often at less than great restaurants. The other issue is given the fine print on how much you must spend, you often cannot use these and save any money if you want to dine alone. (This is really annoying to me as given my schedule, I often do dine out alone and don’t necessarily want to be forced into having dinner with someone else to use them.)

    FYI: I live in a major city and the depth of restaurants by area is very very limited given the number and types of cuisine available citywide.

  6. I will never buy from restaurant.com. In the town we jsut moved from, many of ourfavourite restaurants were locally owned (not chains) and several had signs for months and months on end that they cannot honor gift certificates from restaurant.com as they are unauthorized and the company refuses to take them down. One restaurant said if it honored these unauthorized gift certificates, they would go out of business when I asked the owner about it. I have also hear stories from friends in other towns and states who have tried to use them, only to find out they are not valid on certain menu items, certain days and times, or they won’t honor them unless you tell them you have it before you sit down and order. It sounds like a scam to me. I’m shocked to see you endorse this – you clearly have not done the kind of research I would expect.

  7. I looked at this site, but it doesn’t seem like that good of a deal. For instance the restaurant I looked at required a $20 purchase to use the $10 gift certificate that costs $5. So basically you get 25% off your meal in a best case scenario. That is not bad, but then the restaurant can add 18% gratuity. I will not eat at a restaurant that forces you to tip. A tip is something that should be given freely as a reward for good service, not forced regardless of service quality.

  8. I resisted signing up for Groupon for a long time because of being afraid of being tempted, but a couple of months ago my friend told me about a Groupon deal for $20 for a $40 box of organic groceries delivered to your door. I signed up and got it and it was enough for a family of two for a week – a really good deal. And I haven’t been tempted to buy things I don’t need, as they have a lot of deals for spas and gyms that I just don’t need. I did get a NYC tour bus deal for a great price for friends visiting from Japan. And I signed up for CrowdSource.com in Albany to get a great deal on the Albany Duck amphibious bus/boat tour with my sister and family – it was $12 for a $28 ticket and a lot of fun! So worth it!

  9. I use those restaurant.com gift certificates once a month because my favorite pizza place is on the list (fortunately). Used to get the 2$ will buy a 25$ gift certificate (with the coupon code), however we made the mistake of mentioning the coupon code to the server and now that restaraurant doesn’t accept coupon codes. We still get a very nice deal though, even without the code. We also go there without the coupon too. They make plenty of money off of me 🙂 If it wasn’t a good deal for the restaurants that choose to be listed, they wouldn’t do it.

    A lot of ethnic restaurants are listed, my family is going to an Indian place this weekend and using a gift certificate – $25 gift certificate for $2. The minimum purchase is $50 (does not include alcohol in the total) – however 9 of us are going, so I know we’ll be WAY over that. I think the restaurants that are listed like restaurant.com because it brings in more people to try them. The $25 off was definitely a factor in us choosing that restaurant this time.

  10. It’s true, if you sign up for their newsletter, they send out those 80% codes every month or two. We’ve used them fairly successfully for two kinds of things: either, for a restaurant we already like but can’t afford for an anniversary dinner, or some similar kind of celebration, or to test out restaurants we haven’t heard of, but would like to try.

    Still, like anything else, it’s buyer beware! For every Italian place that we loved, there’s that pool joint where the waitress ignored us for 20 minutes (place was empty – we weren’t even seated yet) until we walked out.

  11. Do not use Restaurant.com. I bought it years ago and had problems when most of the restaurants quit and had to fight to get my money back. It seemed like there were a very few VERY expensive restaurants plus some that I didn’t want to even try…don’t believe the list they provide because it is often out of date.