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These days, the economy being what it is, my husband and I don't have tons of spare cash to squander on full fare dinner tabs. So there's nothing I love more than getting a good deal on dining out. Anytime we get turned on to a good deal at a modest restaurant, we never hesitate to cancel our Saturday night reservations ast McDonald's.
About a year ago, we stumbled on Restaurant.com and tried it out to see if we could save some money. Well we sure did, and generally we like it, but there are some drawbacks that every consumer should be aware of. If you understand the drawbacks, Restaurant.com can be a great deal and we still use them in addition to just going to great dirt cheap restaurants.
In my area, many restaurants are listed on Restaurant.com. The best restaurants don't come up, but some pretty decent ones do. Newly opened places show up quite a bit, even if they do tend to be on the higher end. Trying to find a specific type of restaurant can be challenging. One time, I spent over an hour searching for a good Thai food place and the best I could come up with had a three star rating.
Restaurant.com changes their inventory quite a bit. That great Italian restaurant you liked so much may be listed one week and gone the next. So it's worth checking up on their latest offerings. If you are looking to head out with friends to grab some cheap eats in the next hour, it’s probably not going to work for you. Overall, I would say in my city they have a pretty good selection of second tier restaurants and a couple of really good ones.
Typically, the way Restaurant.com works is that they sell you a $25 gift certificate for $10. But some of the listed Restaurants offer multiple denominations where you can buy a $10 certificate for $4 or a $50 certificate for $20.00. High end Restaurants might even have $75 and $100 certificates. It's a simple formula - the certificates go for 40% of face value.
You can often get an even better deal because Restaurant.com frequently discount the price of their certificates by 50% or more. Which means that instead of paying ten dollars for that $25 certificate - it only costs you only five dollars. Over the last year, I managed to score a couple of 80% and 90% discounts. LiveCheap will often list some of the best ones. It's hard to beat a deal where you pay a buck or two for something that has a $25 value. When they do heavily discount their coupons, I've that their inventory of good restaurants suddenly shrinks.