My vacation gastronomy has completely changed since I discovered Restaurant.com, a website offering discounted dining certificates. In the past, I relied on hit-or-miss bargain restaurants outlined in guidebooks. Now, my husband and I eat three-course meals for less than $20 in a city’s most renowned eateries thanks to Restaurant.com. In this post, I share my tips about selecting Restaurant.com certificates.
Wait for the sales
Visit the website and you’ll see that, in general, $50 certificates sell for $25, $25 for $10, and $10 for $5. Although these certificates are an amazing deal, I wait for the 80% or 90% off sales. By using a sale code, I get $25 restaurant certificates for $2! The certificates never expire, so I stock up on favorite restaurants during the sale time. I will send out a notification to blog followers when the sales occur, which is usually once per month.
When shopping for dining certificates, it is important to keep a few things in mind:
1. How many people will be using the certificate? Certain restaurants mandate the purchase of two entrees, which would require you to be dining with a companion.
2. Will you be able to meet the minimum spending requirement? Certificates often specify that you must spend a certain amount of money (a $25 certificate must be used on $35 worth of food, meaning you pay $10 in the end + tip). Check out the restaurant’s online menu and make sure you and your companion(s) will be able to eat $35 worth of food. While the $35 limit is easy to reach at high-end restaurants, it would be tough at a fast food joint.
3. Is the restaurant any good? It’s difficult to pre-select restaurants in an unfamiliar destination. To ensure that I’ll have a great dining experience, I visit Yelp.com. By typing in the name of the restaurant and the city, I’m able to read customer reviews and decide if the certificate is worth purchasing.
Read the fine print
Be sure to thoroughly read the certificate before purchasing. I’ve seen some certificates that are only valid Sunday-Thursday or aren’t valid on alcohol.
Chicago's Walnut Room is one of the dining establishments featured on Restaurant.com. Photo courtesy of smartdestinations.com
Visit http://www.restaurant.com/ to search for certificates.
©Jessica Leigh Rosier 2012