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Be a smart Restaurant.com shopper
Submitted by a LOZO expert
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Restaurant.com is a popular site for buying restaurant gift certificates at a big discount. You may have seen their ads, or been offered a "free $25 restaurant certificate" as part of another offer. This can be a great site for discounts, as long as you have the LOZO on how to shop there smartly:
First of all, never pay the prices listed on the Restaurant.com site (such as $25 certificates for $10). Although those are good prices, they're constantly running promotions to discount this price much further, sometimes as much as 70%, 80% or even 90% off. With an 80% discount, you'll pay just $2 for that $25 certificate. Check the LOZO coupons page (or your other favorite coupon site) for the latest discount code.
Keep in mind that certificates are valid for one year after purchase, but they sometimes run out of stock for a particular restaurant. So if they list a place where you are likely to go often, stock up on certificates during a 80% or 90% off promotion. You'll only be risking $1 or $2 on the certificate, versus the chance that you end up paying full price at the restaurant when you run out of vouchers.
Pay careful attention to the requirements of each certificate. Some are not too unreasonable, such as a $35 minimum purchase on a $25 certificate. In those cases you'll be getting a great bargain. However sometimes the restrictions are just too restrictive: either they're only valid on days when you wouldn't dine, for lunch instead of dinner, or on food but not drinks. These might also have a really high minimum purchase that forces you to buy more than you would have just to get the discount. There's no bargain in that.
To get the very best deal, stick with restaurants where you know you'll dine anyway, which have restrictions that you would have met anyway. Then stock up when they are very cheap, so you have enough for a year's worth of dining.
Just remember: give tips based on the amount BEFORE the gift certificate is applied. Your waiter or waitress still had to do the work, even if you aren't paying as much for the food.