I feel bad using coupons at restaurants
I get coupons in the mail and via email for a ton of restaurants (I am in the DC area) and I just can't bring myself to use it. Does the restaurant look at you differently if you tell them you have a coupon right when you sit down? Does anyone else feel cheap?
I don't. I usually get the "Entertainment Book" full of coupons each year and use as many coupons as I can. My thinking is that they wouldn't get my business at all if I didn't use the coupon, so why not use it and support a local restaurant rather than a chain?
I have mixed emotions concerning restaurant coupons, especially if it's already a great deal (such as the Mexican restaurants we frequent) and/or are places where we are regulars.
Restaurant.com recently had a great deal and our daughter bought a few certificates for us for one of our regular places and we've decided to give them to someone else to use.
We are often comped for items and treated extra special at our regular haunts and I'd feel cheezy or tacky using a coupon as those places.
Two of my richest friends swear by coupons, without hesitation. Just do it. But do it when you sit down, and confirm in advance that the coupons will be honored. You are not picking anyone's pocket. The restaurant has made a business decision to increase traffic, and you are evidence to them that it is working.
I don't feel cheap at all!! After all, the restaurant gave permission to issue the coupon in the first place so, they are expecting you to use it (as long as it's used per the terms printed on the coupon). Even if a server questioned the coupon, the manager should be aware of all active promotions and not treat you any differently. If a place treated me differently, Id start going somewhere else! (Assuming you do your part and tip your server on the non-discounted value of the meal.)
Though, I agree with Janet from Richmond (hey - that's my hometown!). If it was a place where I was regularly given preferential treatment, Id give the coupon to a friend so they could enjoy the experience, too.
I am more likely to use the coupon if it's a big chain instead of a small place. But I will use the coupon for a small place for the first time I go there. Sometimes that's what gets me thru the door the first time, that coupon.