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Anyone have any experience with these coupons? Good, bad, indifferendt? Thanks

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  1. Well they do work but you must carefully read the caveats for each restaurant.
    They are esp. useful when one can purchase the $3 or $ 5 GC's.
    In my limited experience, tho, they are never offered for 'hot' restos; rather
    those that need the patrons. That being said, I have used them basically
    in suburbia, not in NYC.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Rhea58

      I agree completely. The restrictions are overbearing and the restaurants definitely aren't the quality you'll find on the CH threads. While discount gift certificates are great if they're done right, I can think of better examples. Happy eating!


      1. re: CantStopEating

        These are broad generalizations.

        While I'm no coupon girl, my husband buys these from time to time. There are plenty of great, non-chain, higher-end places we've been to (none of which were lacking customers).

        1. re: invinotheresverde

          Depends where you are. Here in Boston the pickings are slim indeed - not a single one, in fact, that would prompt me to try it.

          1. re: BobB

            I agree that it depends where you are. I was just saying that not every location is suffering from lack of good choices, so generalizations don't work.

            1. re: invinotheresverde

              Definitely depends on the area. There are lots of really good Rhode Island restaurants on restaurant.com. But I know there aren't a lot in Philly. I usually stock up when they go on sale. Def. worth it. I don't find the restrictions that prohibitive. And I've also found if you're nice, a lot of times they'll waive them. (We've used them on the cost of food &alcohol, when the coupon specified just food. Also came up short of the $$ requirement to be spent first once, and they let it go.)

    2. In FFD County CT there are some restaurants that are extremely good and jfood eats at some of them regularly an weekends. so it is dependent on location as to whether they are "hot", looking to stay alive, or some other reason.

      jfood keeps a stash of the coupons next to the computer for that quick mid-week meal or for the family is he is traveling. so far so good for jfood.

      1. I've used restaurant.com several times and have been very pleased. My only complaint is that, as other posters ave pointed out, many of the participating restaurants are not of interest to me. However, the participating restos do change, I find it helpful to check the site frequently. if I see a coupon for a place I'm really intersted in, I jump on it, as they sometimes "sell out".

        12 Replies
        1. re: carolinadawg

          On the flip side, if a restaurant you have a gift certificate to stops participating, your gift certificate is worthless. They do not notify you in these cases, so your best bet is to check the site frequently.

          1. re: reiflame

            Are these certificates covered bythe various non-expiration laws in various states? Hope someone has a good answer. TIA

            1. re: jfood

              A restaurant went under in Boise and I was out of luck in recouping my losses despite communication with Restaurant.com. Outside of CA, I think most expire within 365 days of purchase.

              1. re: enbell

                365 days, jfood can live with that. Thanks

                1. re: jfood

                  they expire 1 year after purchase UNLESS you're in one of those states that it cannot apply to. I think Ca is one. The restrictions are all there on the site. I for one, happen to like resto.com. It basically turns a take out meal during the week into a sit down one for about the same price. It also allows me to try a bunch of new places around town. I only buy them when they go 80% off tho.

                2. re: enbell

                  That happened to me once. I contacted restaurant.com and they let me pick out another restaurant. Sorry you couldn't get your money back.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    A restaurant I had a GC to dropped out of the program and restaurant.com actually sent me an email saying that I could get a replacement GC to another restaurant. I didn't bother, because I bought it for $2 during one of their 80 percent off promotions (right now, as a matter of fact, coupon code "SAVOR").

                    Like most things, 90 percent of the restaurants on restaurant.com are crap, but if you look carefully there are some good deals on good restaurants, especially these days with the recession.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I would say it definitely depends on the area if the restaurants are crap or not. In our area there are several good restaurants on restaurants.com. I'm happy to use it for just the Lebanese restaurant we frequent honestly. MD has a much bigger selection too. Not many places are the high end white tablecloth but if you have a place you legitimately eat at or you want to try and don't want to waste your money on the unknown the 2$ and 3$ deals are nice.

                    2. re: Miss Needle

                      according to the website, they will let you pick another restaurant.

                      1. re: dagwood

                        Real life experience however lef me high and dry (which put me out $2, $4 tops, so not a huge deal, but the principle is bothersome).

                3. re: reiflame

                  reiflame...that has not been my experience. I had a certificate to a restaurant who stopped participating, and I was not only notified by Restaurant.com, but was able to exchnage the certificate for another restaurant.

                  1. re: carolinadawg

                    They've let me exchange the unused gift certificates but have never notified me.

                    But, they've been a little shady - once, when 3 restaurants that I held gift certificates for stopped participating, they only gave me credit for one of them and now won't respond to my emails.

              2. We've had good luck. Buy toward the end of the month for deeper deals. If you see something you really want, however, don't hesitate because they may sell out.

                Read the coupon restrictions carefully (they vary from restaurant to restaurant) and if it works for you, go for it!

                1. We also in Western CT have had good luck with Restaurant.com (no "s") coupons since quite a few places in our area accept them. One is our regular lunch place, very close to home and perennially rated "best value in Litchfield County" by CT Magazine. On lots of other occasions they allow us to try new places cheaply. If you buy them on 80% off days, you'll get a $10 coupon for something like $.40, valid against a lunch purchase of $15 or more. You can only use them at each place once per month in general, and as others noted, they expire in a year. In cases in which I've had certificates for restaurants that have either dropped the program or gone out of business, I've simply called the customer service number (given on the web site) and was given a new code to redeem. I've never lost my 40 cents on the couple of occassions when that happened. I learned about R.com from an article in AARP Magazine so I've never had any skepticism about it, and never felt too ripped off when we got a so-so $20 lunch for $10.40. The $25 dinner coupons "normal price" is $10, and so $2 on 80% days.

                  1. We use them in NJ. I can't say that any of the restaurants that participate near us are great, but they're all adequate. But $3 for a $25 coupon and the restaurant becomes that much better.

                    1. I buy about 30 'gift certificates' at a time when they run 80-90 percent off. They sit in my account and I redeem them only as needed, for the restaurants I want at any given moment. Their system is somewhat cumbersome, but it works for me.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: leetmom7

                        I've been using them for close to 2 years now in RI, and I have had great luck with them. I find they offer a great mix of restaurants as far as menus, prices, etc. Many are places I have always wanted to try, but found them a little too expensive to 'chance' (which is why the $25 certificate comes in handy). I have never had a problem with them. Most do have stipulations (not valid on Friday /Saturday evenings, not valid on Holidays) which are understandable - though, I have found if you bring one along with you on a 'not valid' night, and ask the server innocently if they take it - 75% of the time they allow me to use it (especially when the restaurant is quiet for a weekend evening).

                        I think it's worth doing - especially at the end of the month (last week or so) when they drop the prices to 80% off.

                      2. I live in the Philly burbs, am a fan, and even get certificates for my son & DIL who live in another PA city. Some restaurants offer certs that are larger than $25 (with a commensurately larger minimum purchase ) that we've used when dining with another couple or a group of friends. If you get on the email list, you will also receive codes for as much as 80% off the cost of the cert. I just bought a bunch of $25 certs for $2 each, and a $50 cert for $4. Can't beat that.

                        1. Well.... they are okay. I've used them before but there are a lot of restrictions like someone pointed out. I also agree with other members that the restaurants don't appeal to me. I bought a bunch of gift certificates that were really cheap and will only use them if I find something interesting.

                          1. I just want to make sure I'm not crazy - the gift certificates are good one year from purchase, right?

                            I tried to use one this weekend that I had bought in September and they told me "that promotion expired". Restaurants.com still shows the restaurant as an active participant.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: reiflame

                              You should look at the actual terms on the certificate. In California, with a few exceptions, gift certificates cannot expire. But it's hard to enforce. That's one good reason to present the certificate when you arrive -- too late once you've eaten to argue about the certificate, but they might change their minds if you walk out the door if they refuse to honor it before you order. I would try contacting restaurant.com and see if they can resolve the dispute.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                The terms say 1 year unless prohibited by law. They honored the gift certificate, they just gave me a hard time. Thankfully it was an 'order at the counter and pay first' kind of place.

                            2. I've used them, with no problems at all. The circumstances where I like to use them is when I'm out with a group of people, so that the dinner tab is considerably higher than the $35 requirement. I've learned from a restaurant owner that the restaurant doesn't get any part of the $25 value of the certificate. So it doesn't matter to the restaurant if you paid $2 or $10 for the certificate, their "loss" is still the value of the dining certificate. Yes, they're good promotional tools, and they do bring new customers into the restaurant. But I wouldn't use them at a restaurant I go to often.

                              1. I am extremely torn about using the coupons from this website. For those of you who don't know how it works, basically the restaurants enter into the program for advertising purpose. The ENTIRE cost of the coupon = profit to restaurant.com. Restaurants only take in whatever amounts over the minimal limit that customers pay and the tip for the waitstaff. Hence there are all sorts of restrictions and that in most places the majority of participating restaurants are places that don't get alot of customers to start with. While I am all about being thrifty and try new places, I feel bad for using too many of these, especially at smaller mom and pop restaurants, due to the fact that the restaurants do not make real profit on these. When I do use coupons and if I like the restaurant, I usually return and pay regular price on subsequent meals.

                                1. I've just started using these coupons, and here in Las Vegas, they work great! Especially for the high end restaurants. And our favorite local places have them too, so while there are not-so-good places that DO need customers, we find this to be a definite keeper.

                                  1. Not sure if it's nationwide, but in FL the expiration policy has changed...they now say it does not expire when you print them.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: flfoodie2

                                      I believe that's a new restaurant.com policy, not only in FL.