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Internet Coupon meal experiences please

Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 25, 2011 11:28 AM

Another waste of calories on an internet coupon last night. What has it been like for you? Name names please.

  1. j
    JennaBean Oct 25, 2011 11:36 AM

    I'm not a big coupon fan but I think that Date Night is a good deal and totally worth the $10 fee for the 30 percent off with zero difference from a regular night at the resto vs the date night experience.

    1. m
      magic Oct 25, 2011 12:20 PM

      I have used literally dozens of group buying vouchers and cannot recall having a poor service or food experience yet that was voucher-related.

      The odd rogue issue aside, generally group buying vouchers have been completely fantastic for me.

      I generally choose well, and if I haven't heard any good feedback on a place will not go, no matter what the discount.

      3 Replies
      1. re: magic
        Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 25, 2011 12:42 PM

        My complaint is not that I was treated poorly because I was on a voucher. It is that the food was so poor that I would not have bought the voucher had I known.
        I am thinking of giving up the attempt at a bargain or a bit of an adventure on the cheap.

        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
          magic Oct 25, 2011 01:02 PM

          Yeah I only go if I am fairly certain the food will be good. Most of the places I've bought deals for are either sure things or I've already been and know they are good.

          If I'm even slightly put-off or skeptical I don't purchase.

          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
            JennaBean Oct 25, 2011 01:09 PM

            Why would you spend money on a coupon that you have no reco's for the resturant from a trusted source? And if you do, then all is fair, no? I mean it is the chance you take with an unknown place.

        2. grandgourmand Oct 25, 2011 12:42 PM

          Used a groupon (I think) coupon for I think 25% off at brunch at Gilead Cafe. I actually had a very positive experience.

          Otherwise, I wouldn't use these for places where I wouldn't normally eat or where I've read bad (even so-so) reviews. You're bound for disapointment that way.

          1. foodyDudey Oct 25, 2011 12:49 PM

            Where did you go for your bargain night out? Name names please :-)

            I'm sure they are not all bad. And did you have to tell them about the voucher before being served? You must have gone for one of those special dinners created just for the voucher, instead of just a "53% off your bill" sort of deal.

            1. Teep Oct 25, 2011 07:37 PM

              Of the dozen or so places that I went with a coupon the only place I did not enjoy was "Lisbon by night", but I knew if was iffy so I just got one coupon to try it out. All the others I got what I expected. I do try to check here for any reviews first.

              One place, Chi-Ko-Ro on Church, changed hands before I used up the coupons and they would not honour them anymore. So I wrote Teambuy and they gave me back credit for the whole batch!

              1. f
                freelancer Oct 25, 2011 09:59 PM

                Fire on the East Side was fantastic. Food was simple but so delicious and perfectly executed. I would totally return.

                Zelda's had some bad for you, tasty apps, so greasy that you shouldn't consume them but good in that it's grease. Service was excellent.

                1. haggisdragon Oct 26, 2011 07:57 AM

                  How about you put a positive spin on it. You got to try a new place at a price you're comfortable with. And you get to complain about it in public!

                  1. m
                    ManAbout Oct 26, 2011 01:54 PM

                    Tried Mela, an Indian restaurant on Avenue road, a couple of months ago. Bought the deal through Groupon. Disappointing food and service. We will not be returning.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: ManAbout
                      TorontoJo Oct 26, 2011 02:06 PM

                      Especially since Mela is now closed. :)

                      1. re: TorontoJo
                        ManAbout Oct 26, 2011 04:28 PM

                        Doesn't surprise me in the least. The Groupon offer was probably a last gasp. I wonder how many other restaurants have done the same after a coupon offer.

                        1. re: ManAbout
                          TexSquared Oct 26, 2011 07:05 PM

                          I think that's what's going on at The Lobster House in Pickering, a last gasp. We've used 3 of their group deals since they opened; first two visits were OK, but it was the 3rd visit when we saw changes in portion size and availability of items at the salad bar (most notably, no more rolls and butter...), plus a reduction in the number of wait staff, just 2 women juggled the serving, bussing, and front of house/hostess duties, so service got very slow indeed.

                          We don't think they'll last to the end of the year. Everybody dining there we saw used a coupon, and we've seen more such deals show up recently. After that last experience we won't buy any more.

                      2. re: ManAbout
                        magic Oct 26, 2011 02:07 PM

                        Neither will anyone else it seems. It closed this summer.....

                      3. s
                        szw Oct 27, 2011 12:33 AM

                        Why don't you start by naming where you went? I've never had a BAD experience but I have been to some where the food was not so great. I have really enjoyed some restaurants bought on coupon.

                        1. v
                          Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 27, 2011 03:40 PM

                          szw. I have posted on a coupon about Wildfire, Goed Eten, Gilead, Uzel, Bohmer, Richtree, The One That Got Away, and most recently Alborz.. I have gone to others and didn't post because either I felt sorry for them or just didn't bother from boredom.

                          foodyDudey, the last one was Alborz.

                          JennaBean. I do try to find good prospects, but recommendations in Toronto are not reliable. See for eg the threads on Caplansky's, my review of Caplansky's and the subsequent abuse. Recommendations or not, I hit like a pitcher in Toronto and only in Toronto.

                          356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                          Alborz Restaurant
                          5907 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2M3T9, CA

                          Goed Eten
                          188 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z7, CA

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                            ylsf Oct 27, 2011 05:16 PM

                            Is your issue with the coupons/vouchers then or just that you don't like a lot of places in general? I have enjoyed my previous meals at Gilead and The One That Got Away. Maybe you just aren't impressed with Toronto restaurants in general?

                            1. re: ylsf
                              Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 28, 2011 08:17 AM

                              The coupons work just fine and would be great if the restaurant kitchens' performance wasn't faulty.

                              If your tastes differ from mine , I recommend that you eat out of the internet. I suggest in particular Groupon Now and for fancy, DiningDateNight.

                              My view is that if you need to go to a fancy place , you will be able to say, at least there was a coupon.

                            2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                              JennaBean Oct 28, 2011 08:27 AM

                              You always make me laught! Hit like a pitcher. Love it.

                              BTW I was one of the people who liked the One that Go Away and still do. :-)

                            3. l
                              lister Oct 28, 2011 08:49 AM

                              We've only done one restaurant coupon and that was for Grindhouse. We've been numerous times before the coupons, never had any issues with the food or service. The food has been good and the beer decent.

                              I'm generally wary of these coupons for restaurants unless we've been to the place and know that it's good. Plus we'll have an inkling if the coupon issuance is a last gasp effort or not.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lister
                                ingloriouseater Oct 28, 2011 10:52 AM

                                i think of it as similar to other coupons. you get the flyers in the mail and only clip those products you actually use. thus a great deal on what you usually would purchase. sometimes you clip a coupon as an incentive to try a new product-or in this case a new restaurant. if you like it-you'll go back and pay full price-if not-you've learned your lesson in a less than full price way.

                              2. m
                                minto Oct 28, 2011 06:25 PM

                                Does anyone have opinions on the Chiado coupon?
                                Earlier postings on it were not great so was wondering if I should try and get a refund on it.
                                I have the 5-course tasting menu one. Thx

                                864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: minto
                                  Helen Oct 28, 2011 09:36 PM

                                  We're going next month,'I''m not going to get a refund - can't be that bad, after all it is Chiado:):)

                                  864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

                                  1. re: minto
                                    ylsf Oct 29, 2011 09:19 AM

                                    There were positive reviews I came across after (I think maybe via Google but it was someone with a food blog that looked like they knew what they were talking about). I bought one too and I am looking forward to trying it but my expectations are a little decreased.

                                  2. b
                                    birch Oct 29, 2011 09:31 AM

                                    Went to Tundra for a 3 course + wine coupon. Honestly I cannot remember where we got it. Service was atrocious. While seating us they remembered (out loud) we had said we had the coupon and abruptly sat us in a less desirable table. The entrees were fairly good, everything else sub standard. The wine they served was not drinkable (and I can drink just about anything). I have never been there without a coupn, maybe it is just bad all the time?

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: birch
                                      hal2010 Oct 29, 2011 07:34 PM

                                      Weird. What's the point in offering a coupon? To bring in new clients perhaps? And then they're treated second class.

                                      1. re: birch
                                        ylsf Oct 30, 2011 07:54 AM

                                        Geez, a lot of these restaurants really drop the ball!

                                        I had two vouchers for Ali Baba's.. One on Welsley street and the other around Queen/Bathurst. I hadn't had a chance to use them up to now and they expire next week so I went in yesterday for lunch at the Welsley location. Great spot, clean, nice guy behind the counter, tasty food. Bought 2 shwarma sandwiches, one for myself and one for a friend that had never had one. She enjoyed it too..

                                        Later in the evening, around 11pm went to grab a later evening snack at the Queen/Bathurst location. A night and day experience. First the guy behind the counter says his boss just told him not to accept the vouchers anymore. Well, they still didn't expire for a few days so obviously not acceptable to me. He said they had received a lot more than issue (like 1500 vs. 1000 issued)... They obviously were not cross referencing a list and crossing off the codes (they didn't check my code when they finally accepted it). I got the chickpea salad and a tabbouleh (sp?) salad and the guy used his hands to grab the chickpea salad and fill the container. I found that pretty gross but I am hoping his hands were clean as he was dealing with food in general. Anyway, he didn't even fill the container up all the way and it wasn't a huge container to start. Then, he went to charge me and he was going to charge me $3.99 as that is what it said on the takeout sheet even though the overhead board said $3.49. Eventually I got him to agree to charge the overhead board price but he still entered one of them as $3.99 so I asked him to re-enter it and he at first argued with me telling me he entered it in as $3.49 but when he re-did it he realized his mistake.

                                        Anyway, bottom line, even in the same chain they can deal with coupons/etc differently. The first guy was so nice about it, he checked it off the list, etc. 2nd guy, seemed like a chore..

                                        1. re: ylsf
                                          Manybears Nov 29, 2011 07:27 AM

                                          That Q&B Ali Baba has charged me a different price for rice and 6 falafel balls every time I've gone in, ranging from $1 (no lie) to $6. I enjoy the surprise.

                                          (I think they are that disorganized all the time, coupons just add a new level of problems.)

                                          1. re: Manybears
                                            jlunar Nov 29, 2011 09:19 AM

                                            lol, time to visit for shiggles, maybe. I work right by there.

                                      2. y
                                        ylsf Nov 27, 2011 04:05 PM

                                        I had a bad experience at CRUDA on the weekend using a voucher. This is the raw food place in the basement of St Lawrence Market. I have been there probably 10 times before with and without vouchers. I had actually promoted Cruda on various forums and even mentioned to some voucher companies in the early days that they would be a good business to feature. I feel like I need to take that all back now by the way they are treating vouchers holders different than other customers.

                                        First, last time I used a voucher near the start of September the lady was going to charge me an extra $2 for a takeout container but I told her I was eating there so she put it on a different type of container and didn't charge me. Well, on Saturday I was using a voucher from Ethical Deal and first the lady charged me 50 cents more for an item (was clearly labelled $2 on the jar and she charged $2.50) and then charged $2 for a takeout container even though I was eating there! I told her that I wasn't taking out and she said that they charge $2 for any container. I said "Well, so, why isn't that on your menu board" and she said "it is on this sign here" and pointed to a sign on the counter that basically said for voucher holders to re-coup their costs you had to pay $2 extra for a container or bring your own. She was also not explicit about the charge, the price seemed higher than it should when I added it up in my head.

                                        I was not pleased....again, some of you may laugh about my concern over $2.00 but for me it is about the principal and how a place treats its customers. If there was a sign that said everyone gets charged $2 that is one thing, but, to charge extra for voucher holders, that isn't right. I am actually done with Cruda for good after this last incident. I have found that they lacked the creativity of the other RAW places in Toronto but now I have decided I won't be back at all.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: ylsf
                                          Teep Nov 28, 2011 10:32 PM

                                          I think you should let Ethical Deal know about this extra charge.

                                          1. re: Teep
                                            ylsf Nov 29, 2011 07:15 AM

                                            I did let them know. Their response thanked me for the message and telling me that they were going to let the service rep who dealt with the Cruda deal know. I haven't heard any followup since then.

                                          2. re: ylsf
                                            downtownfoodie Nov 29, 2011 05:27 AM

                                            i agree...the way i think about it is that it's not $2, it's $2 on an ?$8? lunch? that's 25%, or probably half of the savings from using the coupon in the first place.

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