- gnocchi Aug 16, 2010 02:40 PM
Is restaurant.com now using variable prices for the certificates? I thought it was always like $10 for a $25, $20 for a $50 cert, etc. Now I see all kinds of prices for the $25 denomination, $10, $12.50, $15, etc. Also a lot of the $50 and $100 denominations are no longer available. It looks like their software is running this like the airlines, keep changing the price as the seats sell or when special discounts are offered.
You are right about demand pricing, which is why the discounts get steeper at the end of the month.
Restaurant.com has a tough time selling restaurant owners on $50+ certificates, as it is a hefty amount for a restaurant to give away in exchange for advertising. Somehow it makes sense to invest $10 or $25 in advertising to bring in a new couple to try the place, but $25-50 per head is quite an investment that might take too long to make back from a new patron's repeat business.
It is also a huge expense when a regular buys the certificates at 80% off at the end of the month and uses them to subsidize dining (at a place the regular would dine anyway without ther cert).
My wife and I have a favorite bistro,. Lunch for 2 costs us about $30 plus drinks. Restaurant.com sells the $25 cert at 80% off each month end. I place my order by using www.bigcrumbs.com to access restaurant.com and save even more than 80%. So, the bistro ends up with $5 cash for a $30 bill, I pay about $1.75 for the cert, so It might be great for the consumer, but the restaurant gets no real return on their advertising dollars.
I tend to buy the certs and give them to friends who have not tried the place and suggest they go.
You go to www.bigcrumbs.com, check on shopping home, click on the letter 'R' scroll down to Restaurant.com This connects to the restaurant.com website. You make your transaction and pay the set price. At the end of the month, BigCrumbs credits your PayPal account for 12% of the purchase price.
So, a $25 cert normally $10, on special for 80% off at Restaurant.com is $2, and I get a rebate of 24 cents to my PayPal account=$1.76
I use bigcrumbs for almost all online shopping, they have all the major department stores, plus Home Depot, Target, 1800 Contacts, eBay, etc. They amount of the rebate varies, but is easy to check.
I get back about $50-100 per month n what I buy anyway
Thanks for the info re bigcrumbs.com. But as you say, $25 cert normally $10, on special for 80% off. But when I checked yesterday while the 80% promotion was available, the $25 certs had different prices depending on the restaurant. Some were $10 while others were $12.50 or $15 before the 80% discount. A restaurant I visited 3 weeks ago had been $10 for a $25 cert at that time and I used a 70% discount, but yesterday the price had increased to $15 (or $3 after the 80% discount).
Is this a new policy for restaurtant.com, ie offer 80% off but raise the price so that the discount is really 70%??
Restaurant.com negotiates with the individual restaurant and together they agree on the price the certificate will be offered.
I know a local restaurant owner here in southern Connecticut who offers certs on a local radio shopping show. It is touted as having the lowest price anywhere for certs to that restaurant. To keep the promo honest, the restaurant and restaurant.com raised the offering price of the $25 cert to $12.50, so it is 'half-price' on bioth radio and restaurant.com, but the radio doesn't ever sell for 80% off the $12.50 and the radio charges for shipping. Restaurant.com only costs a piece of copy paper and ink to print the cert.
We use about 25 restaurant.com certs a year in our area, and I use them while traveling to try new places. All in all a good deal, especially as I don't get upset if a cert expires unused.
NOTE: By law in Connecticut, gift certificates can't expire, so Restaurant.com and the radio stations sell 'Savings certifiucates' which can legally expire. But it's worth the $2 investment to have a cert in the glove compartment just in case........
The variable pricing on the $25 certificates has been going on a while now, at least 6 months in my area.
The really annoying thing for me is if you buy/bought the generic gift certificates or dinner-of-the-month club (neither of which are for a specific restaurant at the time of purchase, but which you later convert to restaurant-specific certificates). The selection of restaurants you can convert these into has been dropping steadily as a proportion of all the restaurants that participate, and the ones you can still convert them to tend to be the worst of the bunch.