Everyone loves a great deal and loves to eat, so what could be better than finding bargain meals? The November 2011 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, has uncovered the best websites to find restaurant deals so that you can enjoy a meal out without breaking your budget.
“We know how expensive eating out can get, so we scoured the Web for sites that make it easy to save,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “These websites even have mobile apps and offer social connectivity with Facebook and Twitter, making it even easier to keep up to date with deals and save big.”
Best for: today’s specials
This site lists restaurants’ specials as well as daily deals from other sites, such as Citysearch and Groupon. It’s easy to search by cuisine, deal, or restaurant in a particular city. Daily deals that must be purchased through other sites are accessible by a prominent link.
Heads up: Sometimes it has incorrect instructions, such as “Just mention Citysearch, no purchase required,” when the deal actually requires you to go to Citysearch and print a coupon.
Best for: chain restaurant deals
From A&W to Zaxby’s, EatDrinkDeals has national and regional chains covered. A newsletter-type format details coupons and specials with links. Tabs lead you to specials for happy hour, kids, lunch, or dinner for two. Handy: a list of areas that celebrate Restaurant week.
Heads up: Keeping up with so many chains is hard and can sometimes lead to bad links.
Best for: discount certificates
Just plug your ZIP code into Restaurant.com’s search engine and select the deal you want. Typical offer: a $25 certificate for $10, with a minimum purchase required. Monthly “Behind the menu” will help you focus your cuisine choice.
Heads up: Particular deals labeled “Best value” might not be. For example, a $100 certificate for $40 comes with a $200 minimum purchase. That’s not as good as paying $10 for a $25 certificate with a $35 minimum purchase.
Best for: finer-dining discounts
Had enough hamburgers? Savored can steer you to steak or sashimi. Pay a $10 fee to Savored, use the site to book a reservation, and get 30 percent off your bill automatically. Plus you get access to Zagat reviews and ratings to help you decide on a destination.
Heads up: Savored currently is in just 10 cities and availability can be limited, so check deals before you sign up.
ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.ShopSmartmag.org.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!