Well you probably heard of websites that offer 50% or more off restaurant gift certificates. Well they are abounding. So we started a list for you. But an important warning: Always read the restrictions for each offer. They vary from website to website and restaurant to restaurant. Some restaurants automatically add 18 - 20% gratuity. Or certificates can only be used for certain meals (dinner vs. lunch). Others only allow certificate use for food and not alcoholic or regular beverages. Or you have to spend a certain amount. Tax and gratuity are usually not covered by the certificate. Also, it's best to use the certificates right away.
Bon Apetit & Happy Saving!
The most well known is http://www.restaurant.com/ which covers 15,000 restaurants nationwide. But this site is also probably the most restrictive.
Example: In Miami, Miss Yip is one of Christine's favorite Chinese-Miami fusion restaurant in South Beach, where she can get a $50 certificate for $20. The restrictions: minimum purchase $100, 18% gratuity added BUT no restrictions are listed for alcoholic beverages. Miss Yip prepares a memorable Lychee martinis. So if you go with 2 people, that $20 initial outlay reaches a $70 total or $35 per person and not $10 that originally were hoping for.
HALF OFF DEALS
The next one is http://www.halfoffdeals.com/. With this site you can sign up to get automatic emails with deals in your home city or if can't handle any more emails, you can click on the tab at top "Search by Zip" to search immediately for the restaurant. However here they mail the certificate and charge a $3.75 shipping.
In Miami, Christine noticed a new steak restaurant (a rare treat for her), CHOP HOUSE. This site offers a $50 certificate for $25. There's a $3.75 shipping fee but at least she could use the certificate towards alcoholic beverages and there's no minimum purchase. A better deal money-wise!
On this site it tells you how many certificates are left on their dashboard.
SOUTH FLORIDA DINES
We came across this site http://www.southfloridadines.com/ dedicated to a region, in this case, South Florida, where Christine lives. This site overall has the least restrictions.
Miss Yip is also offered on this site for a much a better deal than the restaurant.com site. Here you can get a $30.00 certificate for $15.00. The restrictions: "While Supplies Last"; one certificate per household every 90 days; an 18% gratuity will be added.
No minimum purchase is required compared to the $100 required by restaurant.com.
So if you're headed on vacation to Miami, be sure to do a little homework and save a bundle.