Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dining on a Budget

I enjoy saving money, and I also like food. A good intersection of these two interests is the Web site I've been using this site for a number of years, and it's a pretty good site if you want to save money and try new restaurants. I know people see things like this and think "scam", but I've been using for years.

For example, my girlfriend and I went down to Baltimore in January. Rather than break the budget, we decided to see what restaurants were close to the hotel we were staying in were on the Web site. We purchased some gift certificates, and saved somewhere around $150 on food.

Here's how the site works. As a consumer, you go on their site, you purchase a gift certificate to a restaurant, and you use it. Different restaurants offer different types of certificates, but the ones I see most commonly are $25 off any purchase of $35 or more, or $10 off any purchase of $25 or more. A $10 gift certificate costs $5, and a $25 gift certificate costs $10. By that math, if I went to a restaurant and got $35 worth of food, it would cost me $20 ($10 for the gift certificate, and $10 for the difference between the gift certificate and the bill). Even that would be a pretty good deal, but also does one other thing that makes it a great deal. Generally, they have some code or another you can use to save even more. For example, right now they have a deal where you can take 70% off any order. So, going back to our previous example, that $20 gift certificate would cost me $3 instead of $10, and the $10 one would cost $1.50 instead of $5. Therefore, that $35 bill I mentioned before would cost me $13.

Now, restaurants can do things a little differently. Just a quick look at the site shows some restaurants do a deal where you can get a $100 off a $200 purchase for $50 (and, if you used one of the common 70% off coupons, a $200 order would cost you $115). Some restaurants charge a little more for their gift certificates, which make it less good of a deal, and others don't let you use them on weekends. However, it is a nice idea if you are looking to try a new place, or travel. They will apparently make it right if a restaurant you go to stops accepting them (I've never had that experience). Gift certificates don't expire, so you can use them or trade them in if a restaurant stops accepting them.

If anyone owns a restaurant, you can sign up with the site as well and offer the gift certificates to your site, though I can't speak to that experience, it seems like a nice way to get people to come in and try your restaurant.

You can generally find the discount codes if you sign up for their e-mail list, or if you visit their Facebook page.

No comments: