Not a fan of Restaurant.com so called gift certificates

I’ve been experimenting a bit with Restaurant.com‘s gift certificates.  Basically, you get to purchase gift certificates in increments of $25 or so for $5-$10 bucks.  If you find a discount code online, it can bring down the price to $2-$3 for a $25 gift certificate.  I’ve tried using the gift certificates twice now and I’m done with it.  Why you might ask?  Well, I’ve been duped to think that these are actually gift certificates rather than glorified coupons that I just paid money for.  Here’s my story.  I was sitting at the Loft Bar & Bistro restaurant waiting for a friend.  I was flipping through the Metro, a community newspaper, and saw a coupon ad for the Loft restaurant.  The coupon was not the same as my $25 gift certificate, but it was close to it and without many restrictions.  You see, these Restaurant.com gift certificates have many restrictions.  Some are purchase minimum, excludes alcohol, tip automatically included, restricted days and times, and so forth.  To me, this doesn’t sound like a gift certificate.  It sounds like a glorified coupon that I just paid money for. Never again, will I buy from Restaurant.com.  What a waste of money!  By the time that you meet the gift certificate’s criteria, you would have spent a lot more money than you would have without the gift certificate.  Bah!

On the flip (business) side, this is a genius idea.  Make customers pay for coupons, sort of like make customers pay for the restaurant’s ad.  I don’t know how much money Restaurant.com is making, but it’s a worthwhile business model that could be applied to other areas that have many deals (aka coupons).  It’s like the Entertainment book, but online and individualized coupons instead of a book.

2 thoughts on “Not a fan of Restaurant.com so called gift certificates

  1. Im glad you have experience with these kinds of “coupons”. When I go to proflowers.com to send gifts they have options for a flower, chocolates, and those “coupons” as gift packages. It is misleading in how they present the coupons because proflowers represents the coupons as gift certificates. I have been very tempted to send the gift packages that include those restaurant.com certificates but when I click on the package details the proflowers website gives a little more info about them and states that the receiver of the “coupon” must go to the website of restaurant.com. When I went to the restaurant.com site to see if it was indeed what I think a gift certificate is, there is way to much stuff in writing and I do not want to put the receiver of a gift through that. So Im great full to your quest and I will not be choosing those packages. The other indicator I had in not choosing the gift packages with the coupons is that the price is too reasonable and more often then not when it is too good to be true, it is.

  2. @Nilsita You’re right. It’s too good to be true. Avoid restaurant.com gift certificates at all cost. Not worth the time and money.

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