I have a little obsession with online restaurant coupons.
You know…Groupon and Living Social.
I really like to purchase them. They’re such a steal! And you know how I feel about good deals. Even when I don’t necessarily need the item offered that particular day, I have a hard time saying no. They make it way too easy.
Every morning when I wake up, I peel my eyes open to check my email and linger over the daily Groupon or Living Social Deal deciding whether or not I’ll make the purchase.
If you are a Groupon junkie, like me, or have been thinking of signing up for Groupon and/or Living Social, here’s how I keep my little problem in check and make the most of my online restaurant coupons. Maybe you’ll find these tips helpful too.
Tip #1 – I only purchase Groupon/Living Social deals for restaurant I really love, have been dying to try, or for services I already use.
Charlotte restaurants for which I have purchased deals like this in the past and would purchase again:
Luna’s Living Kitchen
The Liberty Gastropub
Tip #2 – I save these deals for special occasions, date-nights, and nights when I want to do anything but cook.
For example, Brad had a rough day one day this past week so I suggested we use one of our many Groupons to treat ourselves to a nice meal.
We went to one of our favorite “nicer” restaurants, Bonterra Dining and Wine Room.
They hooked him up with a double Jack on the rocks.
When I say that a restaurant is “good” or “nice” I mean the same for their service, not just their food or their atmosphere. Bonterra definitely fits into this category.
Tip #3 – We make the most of our money by being strategic in our ordering.
In other words, we get out the calculator on our iPhones and make sure what we plan to order gets as close to the value of our Groupon or Living Social deal as possible.
The hummus had a bit too much lemon juice for my taste, but the smoked salmon and goat cheese spread was so rich and delicious. I wonder if I could make this with a food processor?
I was happy to see that the cheese and meat plate included Sopressata (Brad’s favorite). Next time I’ll ask for more honey and I could have done with less mustard. I just like a teensy bit. But overall, I was pretty satisfied with this cheese plate. It was delicious.
Tip #4 – We typically share everything and order two appetizers + 1 entree or several appetizers rather than two entrees to maximize the experience.
If you’ve read Foodie Fresh for more than a week, you know I like to have tastes of a lot of things rather than one big thing at restaurants. And being my friend means sharing your food. I don’t waiver on this requirement.
The same goes when using restaurant deals.
Pictured: P.E.I Mussles, Garlic, Shallots, Tomatoes, White Wine,Toasted Baguette
Salads were the only thing we didn’t share.
Tip #5 – We read the fine print and the coupon’s deadline for use.
Pay extra attention for these common things you’ll often find in online restaurant coupon’s fine print.
- Cannot be used toward alcohol
- Only one per table
- Coupon must be used in one visit
- Not valid toward brunch
Definitely consider these things when determining whether the online restaurant coupon is a good deal for you. For example, if you’re going out to eat with a group to a particular restaurant this weekend, you might want to ask them if any of them planned to purchase the coupon. If so, you won’t both be able to use the coupon (I’ve learned this the hard way several times). You might not want to purchase it if you think there is a chance you’ll never visit the restaurant again.
I didn’t think our $50 towards food at Bonterra would take us very far, but I left very full. Maybe a little too full, actually. Most of the entrees at Bonterra are around $30, but by ordering several appetizers, we were able to have a really nice meal for around $50 total, not including drinks.
Do you love online restaurant coupons as much as I do?