Two readers in the past week have asked how Restaurant.com works, hence this post about how to use the website to save money. It’s easy to save 25-40% off your bill with Restaurant.com, so it’s worth understanding!
Step 1. Buy a gift certificate (not a gift card, unless you plan to give it to someone else) for a particular restaurant. You can search for restaurants by zip code or name or city. Most certificates cost $10 for a $25 certificate, though some are $15 for the $25 cert. USE A COUPON CODE! I share coupon codes for Restaurant.com at least twice a week and it’s common to see discounts of 50-80% off that $10 starting price. Look out tomorrow for a HUGE discount!
Read the exceptions. Reader Ruth wrote:
i just noticed this: Minimum purchase of $35. Excludes Fri-Sat. 18% Gratuity added prior to discount. Valid for Dine In ONLY. Excludes: Other Offers/Promotions. Present prior to ordering. i think it’s the reason for the $4.50. i wrote to restaurant.com after writing you. does this mean that you have to spend $35 at the restaurant or at restaurant.com?
Yes! Almost all of the Restaurant.com certificates includes rules like the ones Ruth noticed. You usually have to spend at least $35 to use the $25 certificate, and sometimes there are certain days (like a busy Friday or Saturday night) that are excluded. Some restaurants exclude alcohol from the total, others don’t. Every restaurant sets the redemption rules for their certificates, so they can vary widely. The good news is that you can read all the rules before you buy, so you’ll know whether or not it’s practical for you to use.
Step 3. Purchase the cert, print it out, and bring it to the restaurant. Make sure to mention when you order that you’d like to use it on your bill. If there are any issues, the server should let you know then. Once a server told me that they would happily take the cert, but not with any of the 50% off specials because they were already so heavily discounted. Fair enough.
Step 4. Place the cert in the bill along with cash or a credit card to cover the remainder. $25 will be taken off your final bill (unless you bought a higher value certificate, for $50 or $100). You still pay tax and tip, which may be added automatically at the rate of 18%. I find even with the exceptions, tax, and tip, I still save 25-40% off my total bill.
How do you save 25-40% off your tab?