Are Restaurant Coupon Deals Worth It?

Eating out is often an indulgence, sometimes a necessity, and usually costly. It can also be a lot of fun. Where we choose to dine out is a personal decision but most of us can be helped in our decision making if we can find good food in a good venue that offers good value. For those of us on the lookout for bargains, restaurant coupons can push us to try new restaurants or influence us to return to the restaurants we know that we like. A great coupon can even help us to decide that it is time to try again a restaurant that we already have experienced and not enjoyed as much as we would have liked.

Restaurant coupons come from a lot of sources. Local magazines usually include advertisements that an be clipped for discounts. Every week my mailbox is filled with fliers and mailers from a bunch of local restaurants who want to offer me five dollars off of a thirty dollar purchase or a free appetizer if I visit on a typically slow night. My newspaper sometimes has such coupons on plenty of restaurant websites do, too. I am sure that your experience is the same.

For me, however, five dollars in savings is not enough to influence me. Whether I spend thirty-five or forty dollars is too marginal a savings for me to consider it. My experience with a restaurant will usually be far more important than a five dollar coupon or a free order of wings (which I would not eat, anyway, since I am a vegetarian).

When savings are substantial, however, I am likely to more aggressively pursue them. Two new web services have emerged in the past few months which are giving me just such savings. Groupon and Half-off Depot offer deeply discounted gift certificates to restaurants and services in select cities throughout the USA and Canada. I suspect that there are similar web services in other countries but I have not had occasion to explore them.

Today I will be enjoying dinner with my family at a local pizzeria using gift certificates that I recently purchased at Groupon. Groupon deals are offered for a limited time, typically one per day, and only accepts orders if a minimum number of members (you have to register as a user) agree to purchase the gift certificates.

On the day that I recently visited Groupon, the deal of the day was for our favorite local pizza parlor. I was able to purchase three gift certificates with a twenty-five dollar face value for only ten dollars each. As a result, tonight’s dinner which I expect will cost fifty dollars based on menu prices will only cost me twenty dollars out of pocket — savings that easily justify eating at a restaurant that I know my family enjoys.

Similarly, I recently enjoyed a day of paint ball with my son at a local paint ball facility. Normally a day pass (including equipment, CO2 and paint balls) costs a little more than forty dollars. With the passes that I purchased at Half Off Depot, I paid only thirty six dollars for both of us to play. Not surprisingly given the company’s name, I saved about fifty percent by shopping at Half Off Depot.

What sources have you found for great, deeply discounted deals?

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8 Responses to Are Restaurant Coupon Deals Worth It?

  1. Ann says:

    I agree that $5 off or a free appetizer doesn’t do it for me.

    On the other hand, a half off coupon (or 2 for 1) will get me to try a new restaurant. A friend of mine and I used one of these recently. We enjoyed our meal but agreed that, if we’d paid full price, it wouldn’t have been worth it.

    Great way to try a new place!

    My main expenditures tend to be tools and supplies. (No surprise there! LOL) I look for significant sales at places I purchase burrs and wood and other stuff from and take advantage of it whenever possible. Considering that some of the burrs I use are $15 to $35 each, 20-30% off may add up quickly!

  2. John says:

    Well if you want to save substantially, we need to pursue deals and coupons frequently. A devotee in the truest sense can save more because she never gives up any opportunity.

    We do not really track Restaurant coupons that much. But what we have seen is that users find the courage to try and test something new, given there is a coupon. free samples/ gift with purchase offers are very popular because of this reason.


  3. Stephanie says:

    My husband and I go out to eat often, and almost always with some kind of restaurant coupon. IMO it’s the only way to eat out!! We use the entertainment book and It’s an indulgence that is very important to me, but we are able to do it for the lowest cost possible.

  4. Annie Jones says:

    I keep most restaurant coupons that come my way. If we decide to eat out on the spur of the moment, we’ll look through the coupon stash and see if anything sounds good. If so, great. If not, no big deal.

    After we’ve decided where we want to eat, I will try to find a coupon to that establishment on line. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Again, no big deal. We go out so rarely that we usually just go where we like and deal with the expense if there’s no coupon.

    Fast food is another story. Although we try to avoid the typical fast food places, once in a while something will come up (or we’ll be away from home longer than we expected, etc.) and we’ll end up grabbing a quick bite. A coupon can decide which FF eatery we choose. I like to keep coupons for those places in the van for just such situations.

  5. Stephan says:

    great post! for me, coupons dont decide where i go, but i do look for them once i have decided on a place. ill make plans and then search the ads for a coupon a few days before i go. has worked so far, and i have avoided restaurants that i know have a bad reputation even if they have great deals!

  6. thriftygal says:

    Just be careful when you are purchasing coupons for local places. I purchased two bogo coupons for $25 each that are good until August. The restaurant went out of business last week after only being open for three months.

  7. Gail says:

    Many national chains have there own websites where you can sign up. I did for Old Country Buffet and on our anniversary (Valentine’s Day) and my birthday we get a BOGO meal. So for our two always go out nights, we can eat for about $12 at a place where we can pick and choose exactly and how much we want to eat. We have learned to eat only what we need.

    Other chains also have deals that they will send you to.

  8. Chris says: — has pretty good deals, all over the U.S. I have bought several on here and used.

    Sign up for the emails at your favorite restaurants, often they will send u a free meal coupon for your birthday month :) (First Watch offers a free entree, Ruby Tuesday offers a free burger) and they will emails coupons throughout the year as well.

    In my experience with Groupon and Living Social, any company that has gone out of business before I used the deal, I received a refund of my monies in full, or credit towards another deal on their site. I LOVE these sites because I have got to try out so many new restaurants and companies/hobbies that I never knew about! My friends buy the same deals and we have a blast together!

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