questionsis it just me, or is restaurants.com just a big…

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vote-for34vote-against

Don't know if it's a scam, per se. Do know that I've read so many warnings about the restrictions - not many restaurants in a given area, must purchase a large amount above coupon, excluded days, auto-gratuity, etc. - that I would not buy into their coupons. In theory, not a scam, just a buyer beware. Might be good for those who frequent participating restaurants. Or not.

vote-for25vote-against

I'm pretty sure this was discussed in depth not too long ago, but I don't have time to look it up. Short version: perhaps not useful to you (nor to me), but lots of folks like the discounts. No scam involved -- just a targeted discount that works for some but not all.

vote-for9vote-against

Original tags for posterity:

restaurants.ripoff.com scams misleading-advertising let's-throw-rocks-at-trains

As aside: Why would you throw rocks at trains? And what in the world does that have to do w/restaurants.com? Makes me sad. I love trains. Meanie!

:-D

vote-for7vote-against

@gmwhit: Just thought it made as much sense as paying money for this service

vote-for15vote-against

@magic cave: I had the same memory, and in looking up the deals found that it's discussed in the comments; just search restaurant.com on deals. Feelings seem to go pretty strong in both directions.

Personally, I've never used them, because they aren't accepted at my favorite restaurants; also, we just din't eat out very often. But I'm always glad to see a buyer-beware posting.

Also, like @gmwhit, I'm curious about the "rocks at trains" tag. What's that about?

vote-for13vote-against

It all depends on what you have around you, for me there is 200 or so restaurants that are close to me so it works great for me. But my last town the restaurants were all too far away to use. So basically it works if you are in the neighborhood of the deal places. I enjoy it personally.

vote-for28vote-against

I've had literally dozens of good experiences with restaurants.com at this point. You just have to understand what you are getting into.

If you're buying a certificate for $25 off a $50 order, and you're paying say $3 for it, that means for $28 you got $50 worth of food/drinks from the restaurant. If you normally only spend $40, you need to order something to get your order to $50, like dessert to go, or a coupla beers. DUH.

How useful a service it is depends on where you live, here around sacramento, we have 1575 choices that show up when you browse, that's a huge selection. The best part is the deals are almost always for local family-run places, so we are also supporting local businesses.

We tried Taste of Europe in Folsom for the first time about 2 years ago with a $50-off-$100 certificate from restaurants.com, and we've been back at least a dozen times over those two years.

It's not a scam, but its also is not for people that don't understand math. Or are lazy. get over it.

vote-for6vote-against

IDK about restaurants.com - but I'm in for throwing rocks at trains?

vote-for17vote-against

Absolutely not a scam. They do not try to hide the minimum purhcase amounts. I won't rehash the math so many others have above, so it really comes down to whether it is a good deal for you. If it's just two of you going out, the minimum ourchase is $45 and each entree is $15, then you'll probably end up ordering something extra you might not otherwise, like an appetizer or desert to reach the $45 and you're not getting a deal.

However, in my situation with a faily of four, there are several restaurants in our area that we frequent as a family where we easily exceed the minimum. Restaurant.com has probably saved us $500 over the last year.

vote-for11vote-against

I've used them a number of times with no problems. The deals have been good and have always saved me money at restaurants I eat at anyway.

vote-for10vote-against

it's not a scam, i've used them and a restaurant i worked at took them. they do have restrictions which you need to consider before buying it and using it

i had an issue though at one restaurant that said they weren't going to take the voucher i had. the waitress gave no further reason except that's what the manager had said
the voucher didn't have a customer service number on it so i was stuck and thought i'd be forced to pay for the overpriced meal i just had. then 10-15 minutes later the waitress said they were going to take it afterall.
i was with a friend and the whole experience turned me off to using those vouchers. if i use one again, i'll bring the restaurants.com customer service number with me so i can try calling them if this issue comes up again

vote-for14vote-against

The topic has come up here repeatedly, and so I'll repeat a few salient points I like to pontificate about.

Regarding the automatic 18% gratuity: What percentage of people do you think, upon getting a substantial reduction in the total amount of their check, would proceed to tip off of the reduced amount, rather than the full amount? Or, backing up a little, what percentage of people do you think routinely tip less than 15% for good service?
I've never actually worked in a restaurant before, so I couldn't even give you anecdotal data(I'm sure any resident waitstaff here would love to), but I guarantee that both groups are much larger than they ought to be.
You should have been tipping anyway, so you're right that you would have been paying $53, and are instead paying $28. How is that not a deal?
I sympathize with the fact that you don't normally spend that much. Neither do I. But just because something doesn't suit you doesn't mean it's a scam.

Also, support local restaurants.

vote-for7vote-against

I use them and I have mixed feelings. I like them better now than in the past. They used to have expiration dates in like a year...so yeah, you might waste $3 on a voucher and then forget to use it. Now, they don't have expiration dates, so unless the place closes or you move, it's all good.

I have used them both to try new places and to get discounts at places I already know and like. As the others said, you have to do the math. Is it for a single person, or even a thrifty couple...probably not. But, if you would typically tip 18% anyway, and you don't mind paying $28 for $50 worth of food, it's very good. Read the fine print, and know ahead of time what you are getting. Yes, some of them have day or time restrictions (not Saturday nights, etc.).

They were pre-Groupon/Living Social, etc., and I still use them occasionally. The only bad experiences I have had is them expiring in the past, and that's over now.

vote-for6vote-against

It's not a scam. I just never make purchases like the one you are pointing to. Wait for the specials. You can buy those $25 off gift codes for $2 each. It's definitely worth it then.

vote-for10vote-against

It's not a scam, though it isn't a free lunch either. ;)

In NY City (8.875% tax) that $25 certificate will save over 52% if one exactly meets the $45 minimum purchase requirement. Even if you go way over the $45 minimum, one saves $27.22 off the check any way you slice it.

You say you and your wife don't normally spend $14.05 each on dinner, but since there is no limit on the number of people using the certificate, there is no reason you cannot take along a third or fourth person and spend $9.37 or $7.03 each.

As for the number of restaurants that take the certificates, this boils down to caveat emptor. Your area may not have many, but others do (I have dozens of restaurants to pick from within 20 miles of where I live).

vote-for9vote-against

We consider them a discount coupon and have never had any issues. One thing to keep in mind, you can normally split up your balance between restaurants. For example, get a $20 for $10 at two different, smaller restaurants. To us that is the better way but, as others have said, we have dozens of restaurants in our area that take these coupons.

vote-for4vote-against

It's not a scam at all. I've never had any problems with them. My wife and I have gone out numerous times using their gift certificates. As jazcat said consider them discount coupons. We have tons of places around here use the site as publicity. I also live in NY where there are hundreds of places that accept them though.

And no offense, but if you don't want to/can't spend $14.05 each on dinner maybe you shouldn't be going out.

vote-for8vote-against

I got a free $100 certificate for restaurants.com when I bought an item off a different site. Went there to find they have a completely different site for their certificates than with their normal site.

Which I believe is where you ended up. The certificate deals are far worse than their... "normal" site which has more restaurants to choose from and far less restrictions.

I believe this is they there are so many pro, and so many con regarding the site.

vote-for6vote-against

@bogie21: I wish I could vote that answer +100

I went back to the site after you posted that and it seems you're right. There are tons more restaurants on their normal site. Some of the "deals" even look pretty good (compared to the "meh" deals I saw last night).

Thanks for your feedback!

vote-for1vote-against

I've successfully used restaurant.com certificates 3 or 4 times a year for the last several years. It seemed like a good deal to me.

However, I recently read an article that said: 1) restaurants don't get any cash/kickback from restaurant.com, only (hopefully) the advertising/promotional benefits from new customers lured in by the discounts, and 2) once signed up, many restaurant owners find it very hard to get restaurant.com to remove them from their listings, so they are stuck either honoring discount certificates that they no longer want to deal with or generating bad customer relations by refusing to honor them.

So I've stopped dealing with restaurant.com.

vote-for3vote-against

I don't understand why people have a problem with them. It nets out a good deal cheaper than Groupon deals. To belabor the math point for the purposes of comparison, I have used both Groupons and Restaurant.com coupons at the same local restaurant.

R.Com, pay $2 for the 25/35 certificate, eat $40 worth of food, pay $40-25 =$15 on the food tab plus $7.20 tip (18%) and $3.30 tax. Net cost for a $40 meal, $27.50.

Groupon, pay $17.50 for a $35 certificate, eat $40 worth of food, pay $40-35 = $5 on the food tab plus $6 tip (15%) and $3.30 tax. Net cost for a $40 meal $31.80.

Even leaving less tip you pay more for the Groupon. Yet I never hear anyone saying that Groupon's 50% off certificates are a scam because you are still expected to actually tip your service person. It is true that R.com certificates sometimes have annoying restrictions, but they are up front about them, and I have had some Groupons with very similar restrictions.

vote-for1vote-against

There are very few participating restaurants in my area, and none that we really like, so I've never used them here. However, just to show what a bargain hunter I am, I did use them for our Las Vegas vacation a year ago and paid for them with the points I had accrued on MyCokeRewards.com. Now THAT made it all worthwhile, even though we never used one of the coupons.

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They suck. There is no way of contacting restaurants.com, every time try to contact by email it says putting code in wrong. I am sitting on a $100.00 coupon I cannot use. Everytime see a restaurant says no offers available. Just show places that are available. The coupon may not expire but believe I have 60-90 days to choose a place after purchasing, I am running out of time