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Do you use coupons at restaurants?

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EAfood Aug 19, 2013 01:35 PM

I'm sure this was asked before before but I'm curious how people feel about this today...throughout the year retailers, shopkeepers and restaurants offer them...how come then, some people find using coupons in a restaurant a negative and not so in a department store or such? How do you chowhounders feel about coupons offered by restaurants? (Does offering a coupon to dine at a restaurant give off a negative connotation?)

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  1. ttoommyy RE: EAfood Aug 19, 2013 02:09 PM

    I've used them on occasion. My feeling is that most of the restaurants I see coupons for are not restaurants I would normally go to and even a coupon for 50% off does not entice me. Remember, this is food you are ingesting and even a discount is not going to get me to eat at a restaurant I do not find appetizing. Also, I find that a lot of restaurants that advertise with coupons come off as being desperate for business.

    As for department stores, coupons are part of the sales strategy and it is a whole different game.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ttoommyy
      Bill Hunt RE: ttoommyy Aug 27, 2013 08:59 PM

      Good point.

      I see much the same. It is like the book of coupons, that get sold - I would never dine at anything listed in most.

      However, we do get various cards, and coupons, and some ARE for restaurants, that we might dine with - though not always. So very much depends.

      It's almost like the coupons in the various tourist magazines, such as "Where Magazine." I have never used one of those, and likely would never use one. I would also likely never dine at any restaurant, that had a coupon in such a magazine. Just not likely to be my "style."

      Hunt

    2. n
      nocharge RE: EAfood Aug 19, 2013 04:19 PM

      Coupons in the restaurant business are rarely associated with successful high-end places, so their use tends cheapen the image of the restaurant as well as the patrons who use them. Then there is the issue of the kind of crowd they tend to attract. I once took a class for a guy who used to own a restaurant that used coupons. He and his maitre'd developed a game in which they would take a quick glance at a guest entering the restaurant and then would try to predict whether that guest would turn out to be a "coupon." He said they got really good at it. Eventually, he abandoned coupons altogether.

      There are other ways to give discounts that are less controversial, such as happy-hour menus.

      3 Replies
      1. re: nocharge
        fldhkybnva RE: nocharge Aug 20, 2013 02:14 PM

        I agree, most of the coupons I've seen for restaurants are more take out or quick sit down places like Chipotle or chains like Outback and Olive Garden. A few higher-end places here offer discounts via Groupon but that usually does not include the highest-end of places and more so places in the low-to-mid tier and even then they are usually either on the brink of closing or new and trying to brew up business. That being said, I have used coupons at Chipotle and places like that before although I usually forget as the cost of the total meal doesn't really trigger me to search for some discount and I usually end up paying it and remember in the car that I could have saved $2 off a $12 meal. I've never used a Groupon either although I might. Though, I've always wondered the most polite way to announce that you are using a coupon - at the beginning, when the bill comes?

        1. re: fldhkybnva
          h
          Hobbert RE: fldhkybnva Aug 21, 2013 06:40 AM

          When I use a Groupon, I hand it to the waiter when I ask for the check.

          1. re: fldhkybnva
            MsMaryMc RE: fldhkybnva Aug 22, 2013 04:57 PM

            Maybe Seattle is just a different kind of restaurant market from where some of you live. I see some coupons (in newspapers, Groupon and their clones, the Entertainment Book, Val-Pak, etc.) for mediocre chains, but I see a lot more here for one-off neighborhood restaurants, many of them "ethnic." They usually aren't elegant or trendy places, but some of them have some damn good food.

            Or maybe we're just living at a different price point, and you would see the kind of places I frequent (some of which have become my favorites after a coupon first got me in the door) as too "low-tier" for your tastes. To each their own.

            I just came off of almost a year of being unemployed, and the judicious use of coupons made the difference between eating at home without a break for months on end, and being able to get out once in a while. Even now that I'm working again, I wish my budget allowed for fine dining more often--but even if it did, I wouldn't give up on my favorite dives and neighborhood regulars. And I don't anticipate ever being so well-off that I'll be able to sneer at a coupon for a place I've been wanting to try!

        2. h
          Hobbert RE: EAfood Aug 19, 2013 04:35 PM

          Sure. I used a Groupon this week. I couldn't care less what the establishment thinks of me. If the food's good, I'll be back. The coupon is irrelevant.

          1. h
            Harters RE: EAfood Aug 20, 2013 10:49 AM

            If a place offers a coupon or any other form of reduced price offer, I'd doubt whether they would then regard it as a negative when you use it.

            I don't think I've paid full price at my nearest pizza place in the last couple of years (if not longer)

            15 Replies
            1. re: Harters
              d
              DeppityDawg RE: Harters Aug 21, 2013 07:22 AM

              I can easily imagine a restaurant owner being eager to reap the benefits of offering a coupon (more customers through the door), but less than enthusiastic when it comes to actually honoring it. It's just human nature to be self-centered, greedy, and short-sighted… Or maybe the coupon was a big miscalculation and is really causing the restaurant financial difficulty. It's good business practice to hide these sentiments from the customer, but not all owners/staff manage to do so.

              1. re: DeppityDawg
                coll RE: DeppityDawg Aug 21, 2013 01:26 PM

                My favorite pizza owner admitted to me he had to stop putting coupons in the local paper, all it did was bring in riff raff and cheapskates. He was a classy guy so he wasn't saying this to be derogatory, just stating the truth.

                1. re: coll
                  mrbigshotno.1 RE: coll Aug 22, 2013 05:47 AM

                  Oh how right he is! I live in a state that has small time casino gambling, alot of the owners have had to cut back or eliminate on coupons, perks and free food & drinks because of the cheap asses and bums abuse.

                  1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                    JonParker RE: mrbigshotno.1 Aug 22, 2013 09:38 AM

                    Referring to customers who use your coupons as cheap asses and bums may be the reason people don't choose to go there. I certainly wouldn't, whether I had a coupon or not.

                    1. re: JonParker
                      mrbigshotno.1 RE: JonParker Aug 22, 2013 01:16 PM

                      The type of people I'm reffering to Jon are the types that would steal the silverware, salt shakers and anything not nailed down. They exist at every class and economic level. They are bums and no one needs or wants that kind of "customer".

                  2. re: coll
                    JonParker RE: coll Aug 22, 2013 09:40 AM

                    A classy guy wouldn't call his customers riff raff and cheapskates. I'd say that pretty much makes him a jerk.

                    1. re: JonParker
                      coll RE: JonParker Aug 22, 2013 10:12 AM

                      I wish you could meet Mr Zito, he's as classy as they come. Riff raff and cheapskates is more my NY interpretation of his Italian dialect description. He was sad when he said it, whatever the exact words were. do you really think the owners say this to their customers face?

                      1. re: coll
                        n
                        nocharge RE: coll Aug 22, 2013 11:51 AM

                        Maybe what he said was that coupons have a tendency to attract less desirable price-sensitive customers. Most restaurants would prefer to attract the price-insensitive crowd if possible.

                        1. re: nocharge
                          coll RE: nocharge Aug 22, 2013 04:04 PM

                          No, it is better to lose than to be abused. Would it be not so.

                  3. re: DeppityDawg
                    MsMaryMc RE: DeppityDawg Aug 22, 2013 04:35 PM

                    I just do NOT understand this. Remind me...who was it that decided to offer the coupon in the first place? Oh, yeah...it was the restaurant's management! And now they're going to call me "riff raff" or "cheapskate" and act like they're doing me a favor to accept it?

                    If they're going to give me attitude for taking them up on the deal they put out there, this is an establishment that's definitely not going to get any more business from me. They would do better not to have the new customers that a coupon might bring in, than to bring in one-time customers, piss them off, and have them leave and tell all their friends about their unpleasant experience.

                    1. re: MsMaryMc
                      ttoommyy RE: MsMaryMc Aug 22, 2013 05:34 PM

                      Just to play devil's advocate, it coud be the off-premises restaurant owner who decides to offer coupons and then the management and wait staff who have to contend with the "riff raff."

                      1. re: ttoommyy
                        MsMaryMc RE: ttoommyy Aug 22, 2013 05:49 PM

                        Could be. But you know...into everybody's job, some bulls*it from their bosses must fall. If customers who use coupons bother the in-house staff so very much, they should take it up with their owner--and if that doesn't work, perhaps consider finding a job somewhere that better meets their standards. Because I'm pretty sure that being obviously snotty and disdainful of customers is NOT in their job description!

                      2. re: MsMaryMc
                        n
                        nocharge RE: MsMaryMc Aug 22, 2013 06:15 PM

                        I think that in the early days of Groupon, there were many businesses that did deals that came back to haunt them because they didn't properly understand the ramifications of the format and were overly optimistic about how the deal would result in repeat customers paying full price. That may have led to frustration on part of some business owners, but it's obviously not an excuse for any form of rudeness. If offering discount coupons doesn't draw the kind of crowd the restaurant desires, it shouldn't be offering them.

                      3. re: DeppityDawg
                        r
                        ratgirlagogo RE: DeppityDawg Sep 1, 2013 08:54 PM

                        " Or maybe the coupon was a big miscalculation and is really causing the restaurant financial difficulty. It's good business practice to hide these sentiments from the customer, but not all owners/staff manage to do so."

                        The last coupon we used was an Amazon Local coupon for an Italian deli (Sorriso's in Astoria, Queens - they are fantastic, make the most amazing homemade soppresata, mozzarella, pasta and pasta sauces, etc. - highest possible recommendation from me, for any of you in NYC). We were pretty surprised to see that they would offer a deal like this since they are a longtime established business, very busy, a line at the counter at any time of the day or week when you go in. But since we shop there anyway we jumped on the chance and bought the maximum number of coupons, used two of them right away, and promptly forgot about the other two until last week right before they were set to expire. Apparently a lot of other people also ran into redeem their coupons before the end of the month - because when we brought our order up to the counter and presented the coupon, the counter guy's face kind of fell and he said, "you know, we don't actually come out ahead on these things unless you buy MORE than the coupon amount." Mr Rat being the kind of impulse shopper he is, we ended up having $80 worth of stuff on a $30 dollar coupon, so the guy perked right up. And to be fair, he was not somebody I'd seen there before and was definitely not one of the owners/managers - but still it was funny that he'd come right out and say what we all know to be true, but shouldn't say to a customer. Not a politic sales style, to be sure :)

                        1. re: DeppityDawg
                          b
                          Bigjim68 RE: DeppityDawg Sep 2, 2013 07:53 PM

                          I have not found that to be the case. It would make no sense to use coupons which are often to get you in the door, then keep you from coming back with less than their best effort.

                      4. jrvedivici RE: EAfood Aug 20, 2013 11:01 AM

                        Will I? Yes, I suppose.....but do I let it factor into where I'm going to go, no.

                        Most of the restaurants I prefer to dine don't offer coupons, however if I'm visiting my parents (who love the Olive Garden or Outback) then yes I certainly will.

                        1. f
                          ferret RE: EAfood Aug 21, 2013 06:39 AM

                          Nothing wrong with using coupons other than remembering to do so. There are websites like Savored now that have a better approach in that the restaurants will offer an across-the-board discount (can be as high as 30% or more) to fill open tables and it links to your reservation, so the discount gets applied without a coupon. Much easier.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: ferret
                            jrvedivici RE: ferret Aug 21, 2013 07:40 AM

                            Thank you for sharing the Savored info. Never heard of the site before, however Le Cirque for 30% off is kind of hard to refuse!

                            1. re: jrvedivici
                              Bill Hunt RE: jrvedivici Aug 27, 2013 09:20 PM

                              Yes, THAT did catch my attention!

                              Maybe some "coupons" ARE better than others?

                              Hunt

                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                jrvedivici RE: Bill Hunt Aug 28, 2013 09:29 AM

                                As I previously stated in this thread, I will use a coupon but I never let it dictate where I'm going to dine. This however could be a exception to that rule, 30% off at Le Cirque is a bit too tempting to pass up. They actually offer it at some decent times as well. Very surprising, I haven't been to Le Cirque since they moved from the NY Palace (my favorite place to stay for weekends get away's) but I had heard things weren't the "same" at the new location.

                                HBO did a special about the opening of the new Le Cirque a couple of years ago. The documentary didn't leave me with an overall positive feeling of the new place. Perhaps it's time for me to find out for myself.

                                Somewhat on topic, I recently spent the weekend in the NYC and the Palace is under some major renovations so I decided to stay around the block and give the Waldorf a try. I've have to say I was fairly disappointed by my stay there. Including the dinner I had at the Bull and the Bear. The Bull and Bear holds a very special memory to me as I was interviewed there by Fox News "Happy Hour" after the annual restaurant/hospitality convention at the Javit center about 5 years ago.

                            2. re: ferret
                              n
                              nocharge RE: ferret Aug 21, 2013 10:09 AM

                              There are at least two things that are cool about the Savored model as a means for a fine-dining restaurant to offer discounts:

                              1. The discount can be tied to specific reservation slots when there are hard-to-fill seats.

                              2. The discreet nature of how the discount is applied without a physical coupon. Using a discount coupon on a first date at a fancy restaurant may not always leave a good impression.

                              1. re: nocharge
                                BrookBoy RE: nocharge Aug 22, 2013 03:43 PM

                                Agreed on both points.

                                However, the one downside is when you have a Savored reservation and then get the bill with no discount applied. Out of maybe 10 different restaurants booked through Savored in the past year or so, this has happened to me four times in four different restaurants.

                                I don't have any hesitation in pointing this out to the server, and in each case the bill was adjusted quickly and graciously, but the high number of incidences makes me wonder if some restaurants do this routinely, hoping the patron will either not notice or just not mention it.

                                1. re: BrookBoy
                                  jrvedivici RE: BrookBoy Aug 22, 2013 06:40 PM

                                  I wound have to say with about 90% certainty that is exactly what the restaurant is hoping.

                            3. viperlush RE: EAfood Aug 21, 2013 08:42 AM

                              One of my favorite Mexican restaurants (mainly takeout with a couple tables) offers coupons on the back of receipts from the grocery store. Buy one meal get one half off. Do I collect the receipts? Yes. Do I remember to use them? No.

                              Do I eat at places just because if a coupons? No, but if i see a coupon for a place I like or want to try I will. We don't have a lot money to eat out so I have no problem taking advantage of discounts/ coupons.

                              1. juliejulez RE: EAfood Aug 21, 2013 08:42 AM

                                I use Groupons or Living Social type deals all the time. That's how I like to try out new places... because if it sucks I won't feel I wasted as much money. I tell them I have it at the beginning of the meal. Some places I feel like I got ignored because I was using them, which is stupid because no matter how good the meal is, if the service sucks I won't be back. I always tip on the full bill (before the discount is taken) but maybe they've gotten shafted by people only tipping on the bill portion after the discount, so that's why they treat me bad? I don't know. Maybe I should wait to give it after I eat :)

                                Some places use groupons and the like as a last ditch effort to save the business by attempting to drum up new business. I've even had a few go out of business before I can use the groupon (groupon refunds in that case). But some others just use it as a way to get new faces in the door even when they already have a solid customer base. In fact I just bought one recently for a restaurant here in Denver that has great reviews, and is busy, so I'm looking forward to trying it.

                                1. Veggo RE: EAfood Aug 21, 2013 08:53 AM

                                  A good friend in Denver ALWAYS seems to have a restaurant coupon. And he is richer than Croesus. He is enough of a gentleman to share the coupon's advantage with the others at the table. But he always swipes everyone's cash and charges the meal for more miles. Eccentric, yes, but we love Mikey even though he cheats on his golf handicap.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Veggo
                                    PHREDDY RE: Veggo Aug 22, 2013 06:23 AM

                                    Does he ever pick up the check for you?

                                    1. re: PHREDDY
                                      Veggo RE: PHREDDY Aug 22, 2013 06:33 AM

                                      For his 60th birthday he invited about 50 for dinner at Del Friscos, with menu ordering and free flowing cocktails and wine. He paid the whole thing. I toasted Mikey with an "ode to Mikey" sonnet I spent a few days composing, and he said it was his favorite gift. Good guy.

                                    2. re: Veggo
                                      weezieduzzit RE: Veggo Aug 24, 2013 07:55 PM

                                      "Households earning over $100,000 annually are twice as likely to coupon than families who make under $35,000 annually."

                                      From this list: http://www.ilovecouponmonth.com/stati...

                                      1. re: weezieduzzit
                                        JonParker RE: weezieduzzit Aug 24, 2013 08:48 PM

                                        I don't know if this makes sense, but I earned over $100K but always felt like I earned under $35K. My parents both held master's degrees but employed them in the service of low paying occupations (teaching and the ministry). Education and income weren't really linked in my family. I was always acutely aware of what it was like to be poor, and conducted myself accordingly. That meant tipping really well and not being cheap about paying for things.

                                    3. t
                                      truman RE: EAfood Aug 21, 2013 10:38 AM

                                      Yes, we use coupons. Sometimes they get us to try new places, for better or for worse. We tend to stockpile coupons for local restaurants we want to try, and then about half the time we forget to take the coupon when we go to the restaurant...

                                      FWIW, I'm much more comfortable using a coupon issued by the restaurant/chain than using a Restaurant.com gift card (we had a terrible experience with that a few years ago - it took 30 min for them to ring us out because they'd lost the certificate!).

                                      1. JonParker RE: EAfood Aug 21, 2013 10:43 AM

                                        I've both clipped coupons and bought Groupons for restaurants.

                                        I've never used either one.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: JonParker
                                          fldhkybnva RE: JonParker Aug 21, 2013 01:19 PM

                                          Because you forget?

                                          1. re: fldhkybnva
                                            JonParker RE: fldhkybnva Aug 24, 2013 08:39 PM

                                            And just really don't bother. It's one of those things that sounds like a good idea at the time but doesn't translate into real world behavior.

                                            1. re: JonParker
                                              r
                                              ratgirlagogo RE: JonParker Sep 1, 2013 09:05 PM

                                              Apparently you're like everybody. I can't remember the exact statistics but a friend who studied marketing at a big time business school told me that the redemption rate on coupons is considerably under 1% - and even less than that for rebates. It kind of creates good will for the company without actually costing them a lot of money. "Extreme couponers" seem to not be all that common outside of TLC.

                                              1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                h
                                                HungWeiLo RE: ratgirlagogo Sep 3, 2013 09:02 AM

                                                While that is the case for classical paper cut-out coupons, does this percentage translate to the online world?

                                                Every time I go to a restaurant with a Groupon/LivingSocial/etc, most tables I can see around me are slipping a piece of folded paper next to their credit card. I'm going to extrapolate based on this that it's probably quite a bit more than 1% nowadays.

                                                1. re: HungWeiLo
                                                  pamf RE: HungWeiLo Sep 3, 2013 11:28 AM

                                                  With the Groupon-type deals you have to pay money up front to get the coupon. So I think the redemption rate would probably be more comparable to gift certificates/gift cards. Some people do lose track of them and never redeem them.

                                                  I am pretty sure that Groupon amended its rules at some point, so that if the coupon expires, you still can get the paid value from the business, but not the extra "promotional" value. So if you paid $25 for a $50 certificate, after expiration, the restaurant still has to credit you for the $25.

                                        2. SaraAshley RE: EAfood Aug 21, 2013 01:16 PM

                                          I have before, and no, I usually don't inform the server that I will be using a coupon at the beginning of the meal, as I do fear this may negatively impact the level of service that I receive. I do, however, let the server know that I am using a coupon after the meal is complete, and prior to receiving the check, that way they can process the coupon before the check is printed. And I always tip on the amount prior to the coupon, and usually a little more, since after all, I am saving money!

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: SaraAshley
                                            coll RE: SaraAshley Aug 21, 2013 01:28 PM

                                            Usually the coupons say you have to let them know in the beginning, when ordering. Do you run into any trouble with that?

                                            1. re: coll
                                              SaraAshley RE: coll Aug 21, 2013 04:36 PM

                                              I'll be honest - I haven't used a coupon for dining in in awhile, as of lately it's just been coupons for take-out like pizza, Chinese, etc, but no I don't recall ever reading that on any of the coupons I've used. And if they have had that stipulation and I've mistakingly over-looked it, nobody has ever made an issue of it.

                                              I've also never used Groupons or Living Social deals, so maybe that's what you're thinking of? My coupons usually come from coupon books I purchase that people are selling for fundraisers. Or in the case of take-out, on the menus they leave at my door.

                                              1. re: SaraAshley
                                                coll RE: SaraAshley Aug 21, 2013 05:31 PM

                                                I see it on chain restaurants like Red Lobster etc. I seem to remember it being a big deal working there, but don't have any real experience. It definitely says, present to server before placing order, or some such.

                                                1. re: coll
                                                  SaraAshley RE: coll Aug 21, 2013 05:52 PM

                                                  Could be - I think I know the ones you're talking about. I see them in the coupon inserts of the Sunday paper. I've never used those ones before. Geez....I sound like a huge coupon nerd now. I'm about to post in the "Do you feel ripped off at a restaurant" thread and tell them only if I don't have a coupon! :)

                                                  1. re: SaraAshley
                                                    coll RE: SaraAshley Aug 22, 2013 04:23 AM

                                                    Coupons aren't what they used to be, but I'll still use them whenever possible. Hey they hand you a gift, what are you going to do, throw it away?

                                                    1. re: coll
                                                      SaraAshley RE: coll Aug 22, 2013 06:02 AM

                                                      Exactly! No shame for this girl! If I can save money on something I'm going to purchase anyways by handing over a piece of paper, I'm going to do it!

                                              2. re: coll
                                                h
                                                HungWeiLo RE: coll Aug 27, 2013 11:03 AM

                                                I'm a chronic Groupon/Groupon-derivative user. I always give them the Groupon/cell phone when payment is rendered. I've never been admonished for this.

                                                I, too, don't like to identify myself as a Groupon user in fear of receiving inferior service and/or food. Many servers are wary of not receiving the proper tip based on the pre-discounted amount.

                                            2. a
                                              autumm RE: EAfood Aug 21, 2013 04:41 PM

                                              Reminder to use my chipotle buy one get one before it expires. 4 easy lunches for work next week!

                                              Arbys has coupons from time to time which help make the monthly hormonal cravings more manageable at a reasonable rate.

                                              Not a groupon user so no to those

                                              1. Crockett67 RE: EAfood Aug 22, 2013 06:33 AM

                                                Very, very, rare do I use them. In fact I can't think of when I ever have.
                                                1.) Most places that offer them, I don't like.
                                                2.) I typically eat at mom & pop ethnic restaurants and would like to continue eating at them. So even if I see a coupon I don't use it because I would rather pay full price helping to ensure they will still be there to dine again next month.

                                                My first real job was working at a mom & daughter tea room. The budget was so tight and they worked so hard. This makes using those coupons very hard for me.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Crockett67
                                                  coll RE: Crockett67 Aug 22, 2013 09:20 AM

                                                  But if they couldn't afford to offer them, then hopefully they wouldn't. Or they wouldn't for long, unless somehow they magically worked in their favor. Just another advertising cost. And those that don't use ads, often pay a PR person to get their name out there. You do have to spend at least 2 or 3 percent of your budget on that kind of thing, at least theoretically.

                                                  1. re: coll
                                                    westsidegal RE: coll Aug 22, 2013 04:55 PM

                                                    it would be out of the question for me to use a coupon in a mom & pop restaurant that already offers good value for the money. would look at it as being counter to my own, internal, sense of morality.

                                                    like Crockett67, i've worked for such operations when i was young, and now i regularly patronize such operations.

                                                2. p
                                                  pley RE: EAfood Aug 22, 2013 12:10 PM

                                                  In Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, there is Blackboard Eats. 30% off everything, including liquor. Just show them your code on your smartphone. Paper coupons what?
                                                  Everyone knows about it. High end restaurants use it. Best thing to come along in dining.

                                                  And why all this embarrassment about discounts (coupons)? If they offer it, use it.

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: pley
                                                    SaraAshley RE: pley Aug 22, 2013 12:19 PM

                                                    Yes!! Your post actually reminded me that I get coupons emailed to me from Pei Wei for BOGO, and I always just display that email on my smart phone to the cashier. It is a lot nicer than using paper coupons, IMO, and you never have to worry about remembering to bring the coupon, just your phone, but mine is always glued to me anyways! :)

                                                    1. re: SaraAshley
                                                      p
                                                      pley RE: SaraAshley Aug 22, 2013 12:50 PM

                                                      Don't they have an app? If not, they should.

                                                      1. re: pley
                                                        SaraAshley RE: pley Aug 22, 2013 12:53 PM

                                                        They might, they actually probably do. I just use my email though.

                                                    2. re: pley
                                                      n
                                                      nocharge RE: pley Aug 22, 2013 01:05 PM

                                                      I don't think the embarrassment is as much about discounts per se as about paper coupons. The same snotty fine-dining place that would never dream of using discount coupons may well have a discounted happy-hour menu. Paper coupons, on the other hand, conjure up an image of a little old lady perusing the Sunday paper with a pair of scissors in order to get 25 cents off on a can of cat food. But, yes, overly aggressive discounting can come across as a sign of desperation and be a negative. People usually don't want to eat at unsuccessful restaurants suspecting that they are unsuccessful for a good reason.

                                                      1. re: nocharge
                                                        p
                                                        pley RE: nocharge Aug 22, 2013 01:44 PM

                                                        Pretty much all of the fine dining restaurants I've been to are not snotty. Sometimes there's a waiter here or there that couldn't get with the program. And always at Spago (Beverly Hills) over the years, every single one of the hostesses have had attitudes. Wth. But the waitstaff has always been great.

                                                        Anyway, like I mentioned, Blackboard Eats has offered discounts at some very desirable restaurants with celebrated chefs, and people flock there with the BBE apps on their phones. It's all good.

                                                        For places that still use paper coupons, I'm ok with that. Just recently got a mailer for free McDonald's coffee. I carry that coupon with me, for when I don't want to spend $4/5 on some excellent coffee.

                                                        1. re: nocharge
                                                          JerryMe RE: nocharge Aug 29, 2013 02:55 PM

                                                          "Paper coupons, on the other hand, conjure up an image of a little old lady perusing the Sunday paper with a pair of scissors in order to get 25 cents off on a can of cat food."

                                                          Ahem - I am that little old lady and I don't have cats.

                                                          I have no problem using coupons and I don't think that there is a stigma against. them. Of course, they can be issued by individuals / companies that aren't credible. Case in point - SO bought a coupon book for local restaurant coupons at the bar he frequents on Veteran's Day. He's a Vet and he bought it for whatever reason - He is loath to give away money. It looked shady at best - Stapled together and rough paper. We've used it more than once and found great restaurants that we didn't know existed. A Mexican restaurant that we found has tamales that rival some of the best in town.

                                                          There is no shame in using coupons, only the shame in kicking yourself when you could have.

                                                          1. re: JerryMe
                                                            n
                                                            nocharge RE: JerryMe Aug 29, 2013 03:55 PM

                                                            Coupons carry little or no stigma at certain types of restaurants, mainly those that want to come across as affordable. For special-occasions type places that try to project an image of exclusivity, there is definitely a stigma issue and restaurants of that kind tend not to use them.

                                                        2. re: pley
                                                          sonofmrbigshotno1 RE: pley Aug 22, 2013 03:14 PM

                                                          I agree with this way. I'm a fan of using apps, primarily Scoutmob. It's a nice and fun way to get people in the door.

                                                          I don't see it as desperate, especially with the app route. When you go with a more tech savvy/early adopter medium, you tend to weed out the dumpy places that often go with the antiquated mediums like paper coupons in free weeklies and newspapers. On the other side of things, having worked for and with the newer types, the companies that provide the mediums tend to go to places that their staff and desired clientele would go, so you likely won't find the dumps on there. In smaller towns, this probably isn't much of an option though.

                                                          I should also admit, if it's a great place, I sometimes feel guilty using them, though they're only one-time use things.

                                                          1. re: pley
                                                            Michelly RE: pley Aug 24, 2013 07:33 PM

                                                            Agreed. I use coupons when I can, and Blackboard Eats has gotten me to try places that I probably wouldn't have if it weren't for the deal offered. (BTW, Blackboard Eats deals differ; sometimes it's a comped appetizer or bottle of wine).

                                                            What we really make sure to do -and BE requires you to do this- is base the tip on what the meal would've cost prior to the discount applied.

                                                          2. b
                                                            bobbert RE: EAfood Aug 24, 2013 09:37 PM

                                                            I use living social fairly often on my smart phone. Fairly discrete and I never forget to bring my phone. I tend to go way over the coupon value so the restaurant typically makes out pretty good with me. Paper coupons - seldom except for take-out places.
                                                            Oh yeah, please tip on the pre-discount price. You'd be surprised how many people get a $100 Bill, apply a $40 Groupon and then tip based on a $60 tab.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: bobbert
                                                              al b. darned RE: bobbert Aug 29, 2013 01:55 PM

                                                              >>>
                                                              You'd be surprised how many people get a $100 Bill, apply a $40 Groupon and then tip based on a $60 tab.
                                                              <<<
                                                              Wouldn't surprise me a bit.

                                                            2. h
                                                              Harters RE: EAfood Aug 27, 2013 11:33 AM

                                                              So, we paid for last night's pizza with their 30% discount coupon. And, when the server brought the credit card machine, she also brought another 6 coupons to be used during September.

                                                              1. Bill Hunt RE: EAfood Aug 27, 2013 08:49 PM

                                                                Sometimes we do, but always mention this at the beginning of service. Same for "gift cards." I want everyone to know what we are doing, so that there are no surprises.

                                                                I also ask to have a total, before any certificates, cards, coupons, etc., so that I know what the regular bill would be, to tip on that - and not the net, after whatever.

                                                                Hunt

                                                                1. b
                                                                  BuildingMyBento RE: EAfood Aug 28, 2013 08:07 AM

                                                                  Sure have. Unusually, both times I recall involved pizza chains-

                                                                  In 2008 (and maybe other times), Izzi Pizza in Jakarta, Indonesia offered up great deals with coupons. Yep, I don't think pizza is the first thing on your mind when you're in that part of the world, but everything was at least half off, meaning salads for US$2-3 and pies for two people for about US$4 or 5. Not to mention, olive oil on every table...Sometimes the waiter wouldn't even take the coupon, so we'd just keep using the same one.

                                                                  California Pizza Kitchen a couple of years ago gave coupons after each visit. They varied from I think it was 15% off to perhaps 30% off, but came in handy nonetheless.

                                                                  Jonathan
                                                                  http://buildingmybento.com
                                                                  http://collaterallettuce.com

                                                                  1. al b. darned RE: EAfood Aug 29, 2013 02:25 PM

                                                                    Though we are not adverse to using coupons, we mainly don't use them very often because even if we go to a place that features coupons more often than not we forget and leave them behind.

                                                                    And also depends on the occasion. I think it's extremely tacky to use a coupon for a "special occasion" meal. These include first dates, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. To me, nothing says "cheapskate" like going to lunch with a friend, announcing that you will pick up the tab, and then whipping out a two for one coupon when the check arrives.

                                                                    We have friends, however, who virtually never eat out without a coupon. Though he's been married nearly 25 years I jokingly asked him one time if he used a coupon on his first date with his wife. Not only did he say "Absolutely!" but his wife chimed in, saying he made a good first impression by doing so. DW, OTOH, would not have been impressed, as she is of the same mindset as I am.

                                                                    1. KarenDW RE: EAfood Sep 23, 2013 09:45 PM

                                                                      DH is a big fan of coupons/groupons/groupon-derivatives. We use promotions as a way to try restaurants and services that we're familiar with but haven't engaged yet.
                                                                      As a small-business owner myself, I do not use coupons at the establishments which my friends and colleagues own, and encourage my DH to behave likewise.

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