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Restaurant.com

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (58 Reviews)

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The Bottom Line

Using discount certificates from Restaurant.com can save money when eating out in Los Angeles. These are DISCOUNT certificates for a dollar amount off a greater amount. They are NOT the same as GROUPON or other social buying programs. Their reliability is less consistent in other parts of the country and I have downgraded their rating to reflect bad experiences others have had, although I've never had any trouble using them in LA. You might want to call to make sure the restaurant is still accepting the certificates before you purchase.

Pros

  • Easy to buy and use
  • Discount on nice restaurants
  • Good selection of restaurants in various price ranges
  • It doesn't matter how many people are dining together
  • Gift Certificates are available

Cons

  • Some neighborhoods are not well represented
  • Fewer options for weekend nights
  • Gift certificates are not useful in some parts of the country with limited restaurant selection
  • Outside of the LA area, people have had issues with certificates not being accepted. Call first.

Description

  • Discount Dining Certificates
  • Print at home
  • Various denominations available

Guide Review - Restaurant.com

Restaurant.com is a marketing website that offers discounted dining certificates (more like a coupon for dollars off a higher amount) for popular and lesser known restaurants around the country. You buy a restaurant certificate for less than its face value, and redeem it at your chosen restaurant for the full face value. The standard rate for a $25 dining certificate is $10, a savings of $15 off your meal, but even greater discounts are regularly offered with special discount codes, so you may get a $25 dining certificate for as little as $2.

None of the amount you pay goes to the restaurant, so the amount of the certificate/coupon you buy ($10, $25, $50, $100) is the marketing fee they are paying to get you in the door. For this reason, each restaurant sets a minimum purchase requirement, so you usually have to order $35-$50 worth of food (not including alcohol) to redeem a $25 certificate, and your tax and tip will be calculated on the full amount. There may also be other conditions such as the days or time of day that a certificate can be used. Many restaurants don't allow you to use dining certificates on Friday or Saturday nights. $10 certificates are usually only good for lunch.

I use Restaurant.com certificates often because it's really easy to go to the website, type in the zip code where I need a restaurant, check the menus and prices and buy and print a certificate.

Once, as an experiment, I bought a certificate for Kavikas in Long Beach when I was nowhere near a printer. I emailed the certificate to myself so I could access it on my iPhone to see if the restaurant could get the code off of there. The certificate was 80% off, so I was only paying $4 for a $50 certificate, so I figured it wouldn't be a big loss if it didn't work, and I could print it and use it later. As it turned out, they couldn't just take the code from the iPhone, but the owner let me log on to my email from his computer and print it in his office. Dinner was awesome and getting the discount made it even better. That was certainly above and beyond the call of duty, and I would not count on that happening if you attempt the same experiment.

You are expected to tip on the full amount of the bill before the discount, and often the small print specifies that 18% will be added automatically.

Although my friends and I have never had any problem redeeming restaurant certificates in the Los Angeles area, you can see from the user reviews below that people in other parts of the country have not always been so fortunate. Keep in mind that people who had no problem, rarely come back to say so.

Note: Be sure to check menu prices before deciding on a certificate. Sometimes you can get dinner for 2 for far less than the minimum order required.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
Never again!, Member JulieDB59

My SIL and I were buying these for awhile through AARP and I got a few free ones from My Coke Rewards. Always for the same restaurant. You had to spend $40 and could use a $25 certificate that we were purchasing for $4 or $5 and on a couple of occasions, I got a free one. It was a good deal! But... I had some work done by a local company and they sent me a credit of $25 to redeem there. And that's when I noticed the problem. The restaurant where we had been using these was no longer listed. And it was literally the only place we would dine of all those listed. The others were simply too far away and mostly unknown, or really, really bad. I mean so bad that you couldn't pay me $100 to dine there again. There is one place listed that I did want to try but I won't because of the very mixed reviews. People seemed to either love it or hate it. And those who hated it often got sick from their food. Plus they said if they did use one of these certificates there, they got smaller than usual portions, a bad attitude and were told not to come back. The site where I was sent to, to redeem this free ""gift"" looked slightly different so I just assumed that perhaps they were not allowing me the full listing or something. But then a few days later, we were planning where to go for my mom's birthday. I told her I would get another free certificate from My Coke Rewards. But my mom told me that as of March, this restaurant is no longer accepting them. So I called my brother and he said that yes, indeed, the restaurant does not take them any more because they were losing money on them. Which I just do not doubt for an instant. We used so many of them that I wondered how they could possibly make any money. So my brother told me to go to my account and exchange the one I had given them for something else since they couldn't use it. But guess what? There is nothing there that I will use! I wound up giving the last one to my brother but there was only one place there that he would use. It is a good restaurant but it is in a different city and we would have to go out of our way to get there. Plus they have a tiny parking lot and the last couple of times that we did try to go (when we were in that area), there was no place to park, so we couldn't go! So while I am not technically out any money, had I known this would happen, I would have saved my points to redeem for something else. Took me hours to punch in all of those codes and now they are wasted! I rather doubt that there will be any good restaurants in this area listed in the future. I think people are catching onto them.

2 out of 6 people found this helpful.

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