Restaurant.com can be a great money-saving tool. We use it frequently, but you have to keep in mind that the only type of restaurant that signs up for the program is the desperate type that is trying to hunt down as many customers as possible.
From the looks of their website, Restaurant.com is completely free to restaurant owners–they are given a free “page” on the website, which has detailed info such as uploads of the menu, address, pictures etc… Restaurant.com then sells the gift cards for the restaurant for as much as they can and they keep all of the revenue. In exchange, the restaurant is featured on the website (which touts 50 million monthly page views) and can (hopefully) drive more business to their business. To be featured, of course, they have to offer hefty discounts to customers–so, really, the restaurant’s only form of payment is whatever extra the customers pay above and beyond the gift certificate.
Some common terms and conditions to watch out for:
- Nearly every restaurant will have a minimum spending requirement (typical is $35 min for $25 off, $100 min for $50 off…)
- Be mindful of the minimum spend because an individual restaurant could have theirs a lot higher
- Purchase of alcohol doesn’t count towards minimum spend–this is very important for the more expensive certificates. For example, you might have a had time racking up a $100 tab at a restaurant with 2 people on just food — throw in a bottle of wine, though, and it’s much easier
- Doesn’t apply on Fri & Sat
- Dine-in only
So here’s how the math works out for a $25 dollar gift certificate:
$35 minimum spend
+ 3.50 (10% tax)
= $38.50 total for food
+ 6.93 (18% gratuity)
– $25.00 for gift card
= $20.43 final bill
+ $2.00 paid for the coupon
= $22.43 total for your meal
BOTTOM LINE: So, is it worth it? Well, at the end of the day, you’ve had a $45.43 meal for $22.43, meaning you’ve scored about 50% off the regular price. But, the problem is that it’s highly likely you never would have spent that much without having to hit the minimum spend.