The Bottom Line
- 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
- 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.
- Discount Dining Certificates
- Print at home
- Various denominations available
Guide Review - Restaurant.com
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.