HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Do you create unique foods? Tell us about it

Restaurant.com 90% off for 99 Hours

frangelica Sep 9, 2009 08:14 PM

To celebrate (?) 09/09/09 they are doing a promo which started at midnight and runs for 99 hours. Now this beats our great deals from GO. Would be great to buy for those starving Cal students and us po' folk.


  1. e
    elliora Sep 9, 2009 08:43 PM

    Anyone have any favorites from the site to recommend? Any location, any food, it's our anniversary next week and this might actually give us a chance to eat out!

    3 Replies
    1. re: elliora
      hhc Sep 9, 2009 08:50 PM

      here's a recent thread:

      1. re: elliora
        frangelica Sep 9, 2009 08:52 PM

        In the EB, I would say Digs would be perfect for an anniversary dinner. Prima if in CoCoCounty. I am too tired tonight to hit the SF list.

        1. re: frangelica
          frangelica Sep 9, 2009 08:55 PM

          Links not working...sorry

      2. m
        Mick Ruthven Sep 9, 2009 10:20 PM

        What is the promo for, restaurant.com gift certificates, or ?? I don't see anything on their site about 90% off. What am I missing?

        10 Replies
        1. re: Mick Ruthven
          hhc Sep 9, 2009 10:22 PM

          Mick: you don't see the discount until you pay but remember to put the discount code in "NINETY" or you'll pay regular price.

          Many of the ones I want are Out of Stock.

          1. re: hhc
            alina555 Sep 10, 2009 07:02 AM

            If they are out of stock, just purchase a bunch of the generic "gift" certificates. You'll get the 90% discount, and then can use them down the road once the restaurants you like are back in stock.

            Also if you use your Discover card you can get 20% cashback. Just be careful and don't click on any extra links at the very end - some people have complained that they accidentally joined a third party "club" that charged them fees every month by doing so.

            1. re: alina555
              Mick Ruthven Sep 10, 2009 08:19 AM

              >just purchase a bunch of the generic "gift" certificates. You'll get the 90% discount, and then can use them down the road once the restaurants you like are back in stock.<

              Is there any disadvantage to the generic gift certificates vs. pre-specifying a restaurant? If not, why wouldn't everyone just get the gift certificates and decide later where to use them? I'm not arguing, just trying to understand this thing.

              1. re: Mick Ruthven
                alina555 Sep 10, 2009 11:07 PM

                There is no disadvantage to stocking up on the generic ones. Most frequent Restaurant.com users know this, and stock up big time whenever these 80-90% off sales come around (which have been actually happening quite often as of late). As soon as Restaurant.com replenishes their stock (usually the beginning of a month), you can go on and redeem your generic GC for the restaurant of your choice.

                I think most casual users don't even realize they can purchase generic GCs, so they will just go for whatever is in stock at the time.

                And to answer abstractpoet's question, yes you do have to redeem it in for a specific restaurant; you cannot just bring it into any establishment. :)

                1. re: alina555
                  abstractpoet Sep 11, 2009 01:32 AM

                  Right. =) My point was that there's not necessarily an advantage to getting the generic certificate if the restaurant you're interested in is currently available, especially if you plan on going anytime soon--otherwise, it might get sold out and then you'd have to wait again until the beginning of the next month.

                  Also, in the terms and conditions, it says that each certificate expires one year from its date of issue "except in California and where otherwise prohibited by law". Anyone know what the specific policy is in California?

                  1. re: abstractpoet
                    alina555 Sep 11, 2009 06:27 AM

                    Yup, in CA there is no expiration date on gift certificates, so since they use the slick marketing approach of calling this a "gift certificate" instead of a "coupon" (which it essentially is, since you can't use these paired with another coupon or Restaurant.com certificate, and there are generally dollar requirements) in CA these don't expire.

                  2. re: alina555
                    Mick Ruthven Sep 11, 2009 05:47 AM

                    Thanks for the great explanation. You certainly don't get that from their site.

                    Now, how about telling us what it's like to actually use a restaurant GC. Is each GC for a $ amount and that amount is subtracted from your bill? When do you present it? Is there ever an issue with using one of them?

                    1. re: Mick Ruthven
                      alina555 Sep 11, 2009 06:33 AM

                      You should always call beforehand to make sure the restaurant still takes the GC. Many of these restaurants sign up with Restaurant.com (who makes total profit from these coupon sales; the restaurant just signs along hoping for new business) but then pull out if business gets better or if they feel like they are being abused with too frequent use of the coupons. So always double check - I've been stung once by a restaurant that refused the coupon after I had eaten.

                      Once confirmed over the phone, I typically just tuck the coupon in with my credit card when paying the bill. It works very similar to any other restaurant coupon or Entertainment book coupon in that manner. They'll re-run the total with the discount (provided you've met your dollar spend requirement) and present the regular bill.

                      Since these are really "coupons" you cannot double up (like present two or three of the GCs at once for one meal) or use with another coupon (like if they had an ad with a real coupon). You should be able to use it alongside a REAL gift certificate though.

                      Hope that helps!

                2. re: alina555
                  abstractpoet Sep 10, 2009 12:06 PM

                  Yeah, I'm also unclear on how to use the generic certificates. You can't actually use them in a restaurant, right? You'd still have to exchange it for a certificate to a specific restaurant at some point...

                  1. re: abstractpoet
                    Shane Greenwood Sep 11, 2009 06:32 AM

                    You print out the certificate from the restaurant.com website and bring it to the restaurant. There usually some restrictions, like minimum order amount, doesn't apply to alcohol, etc. But at 90% off it's a good deal.

            2. a
              abstractpoet Sep 9, 2009 10:50 PM

              Great tip...got certificates for Cafe Collucci, Champa Garden, Digs Bistro, Messob, and Otaez. $95 in discounts overall, and it only cost me $4.05! And all those places are ones I would definitely go to anyway.

              Make sure you read the fine print, as some of the coupons are only good on certain days or only for lunch or not including alcohol, etc.

              The only one I think will be mildly hard to use is the $25 Otaez certificate, which requires that my bill be at least $50--hard for two people to spend that much there. I'll have to get a group together or order a lot of margaritas. =)

              1. e
                elliora Sep 9, 2009 11:15 PM

                Thanks for the tip, trying to wait for hubby to get home to pick a place. One question, let's say for example a place states that you must purchase $35 in food but does not say alcohol is excluded does that mean the $35 has to be only in food?

                2 Replies
                1. re: elliora
                  abstractpoet Sep 9, 2009 11:18 PM

                  I would assume that would mean you have to spend at least $35 on food (not including alcohol). The ones that don't have the "in food" stipulation would just be the total bill.

                  1. re: abstractpoet
                    elliora Sep 9, 2009 11:26 PM

                    That's what I figured, thought I'd check though since I like your margarita idea :)

                2. Lightsuprooms Sep 10, 2009 12:46 PM

                  This seems to work everywhere, just purchased a $10.00, a $25.00 and a $100.00 total should have been $54.00, got away with $5.40 thanks for the tip.. BTW I'm in Louisville, KY

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Lightsuprooms
                    calalilly Sep 10, 2009 04:12 PM

                    YAY, I just bought $100 gift certificates for $4!

                  2. Shane Greenwood Sep 11, 2009 06:35 AM

                    I just got about $200 worth for $10. Wow, great deal.

                    I usually don't use this site because most of the restaurants on here are not that good. We tried several and quickly realized why they were using a coupon site to attract business. But at 90% off, it's worth taking a chance. Just be sure to do a little homework on places you haven't heard about. But there are a few decent places on here because they are off the beaten track or they are good and in a very competitive neighborhood (like Mantra in Palo Alto).

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Shane Greenwood
                      lmnopm Sep 11, 2009 10:36 AM

                      Just a heads up. BUI is still participating online, and still has a sign up in their window that they will not accept them.

                      1. re: lmnopm
                        kc72 Sep 11, 2009 01:26 PM

                        Isn't there something on the Restaurant.com site that says they'll credit you if the restaurant stops taking them? Someone mentioned it to me before, but haven't checked their site

                        1. re: kc72
                          dump123456789 Sep 14, 2009 02:26 PM

                          I assume restaurant.com would only credit you what you paid for the gift certificate, not the discount the restaurant was supposed to give you.

                          What Bui is doing sounds really shady (bait-and-switch ?). It would be grounds for me to boycott them completely.

                          1. re: dump123456789
                            wolfe Sep 16, 2009 07:40 AM

                            Just received email from restaurant.com with link to exchange BUI certificate for restaurants still in the program.

                            1. re: wolfe
                              calalilly Sep 16, 2009 09:01 AM

                              Same here. Are they still in business?

                        2. re: lmnopm
                          Shane Greenwood Sep 11, 2009 07:04 PM

                          What is BUI?

                          1. re: Shane Greenwood
                            kc72 Sep 11, 2009 07:06 PM

                            A restaurant in Berkeley

                            1647 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                      2. Cynsa Sep 11, 2009 02:37 PM

                        thank you! This thread was very helpful to read; the website confused me until I read the post on go to "Gift" for the generic certificate.

                        Show Hidden Posts