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Question on using vouchers from Groupon or Travelzoo

Discussion in 'Restaurants & Buffets' started by Dan_Tanna, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. Dan_Tanna

    Dan_Tanna Tourist

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    Hello,

    Many times the terms on usage on restaurant vouchers indicate that you need to make reservations and mention you have a voucher from X. Is this a strict requirement? Anyone just presented the voucher at the last minute?

    Thanks,
    DT
     
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  2. eaglejohn

    eaglejohn High-Roller

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    I have always told on first getting there. Most times they take at end of meal. I have never been to a restaurant that needed a reservation, but usually use mine during week and if possible during happy hours.
     
  3. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    I'm not sure if they would refuse to accept a voucher that is only presented at the end of service. Once I used one and only remembered it after we had ordered. When the server brought our food, I mentioned I forgot to tell her about it. She made a little bit of a face, but took care of it for us and I tossed a little extra on the tip for the inconvenience.

    I think it has something to do with how they have to submit the order ticket into their system. Presenting it after the fact seems to just create more work for them. What would be the purpose of intentionally withholding the voucher until the end of the meal?
     
  4. azlefty

    azlefty Low-Roller

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    I use both regularly, as well as ACG, LVA, and KSHP coupons. Generally speaking, it seems to be more important to alert ahead of time for Travelzoo, because their offers are usually for a specific package. For Groupons it is less important because they tend to be for dollars off your bill. That said, it may be a good idea anyway, because certain items such as specials may not be eligible for a discount, and your waiter/waitress can let you know if you are ordering something that isn't eligible. In fact, I notice that the Groupons are often not even redeemed by the restaurant, which makes me think that the restaurant gets very little of the money back.

    For Travelzoo, there are usually a lot more rules, invalid days, and close-in expiration dates you need to be aware of. On the other hand, it is worth the trouble because their offers are usually very good deals if you can comply with their requirements. For all of them, I always try to call and ask about the coupon rules early in the day, and then order it that same day before I get to the restaurant/spa/etc. They tend to be helpful and I have never noticed that I was being given poor service because of the coupon. But I also tip generously on the undiscounted value.
     
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  5. mkhira2

    mkhira2 Tourist

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    Groupons and similar third party restaurant coupons normally require a restaurant managers authorization. Your server can't simply walk to their POS terminal and hit the "groupon" button to apply the discount. There is a "groupon" button, but when pressed, it prompts a manager to put in their code or swipe their key card to approve. Mostly this is to avoid servers using the discount button when tables pay cash and pocketing the difference.

    The reason you're asked to present the groupon early in the meal is so your busy server simply has more time to give the coupon to the busy manager so they can apply the discount. Also, some menu items may not be part of the groupon promotion. Presenting early and "mis-ordering" (perhaps the groupon states "not valid for alcohol" and you only ordered drinks) lets your server alert you to that fact.

    If you wait until the end of the meal to present your groupon, you may wind up waiting a little while for the discount to be applied depending on how busy the restaurant is. Or, you may find out after the fact that your groupon can't be applied to what you ordered. Thirdly, you may discover the groupon has expired.

    I don't know of any restauants (I can only speak for Texas) that require you to have a reservation or present it early. It's more a polite request than a strict rule. If your server ever says you gave them the coupon late and they can't apply it, ask for a manager.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
  6. h0und10

    h0und10 Low-Roller

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    I used to work in the industry and people feel if they use a coupon they will get less service, which can be true, so they will try to avoid presenting it until the last possible moment.
    But then again that is subjective because every worker is different. I worked just as hard for a one dollar tip as i would for a 20 dollar tip.
     
  7. Dan_Tanna

    Dan_Tanna Tourist

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    No real reason. I guess my primary concern was the need for a reservation to a lower traffic restaurant such as BLT. But I'll let them know beforehand, just to be nice. :feedme:
     
  8. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    When using a groupon or any discount coupon, the gratuity should be based on the "before discount" price.
     
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  9. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    I make a reservation if the restaurant is one that typically requires a reservation. I have one for Giada's and made a reservation for July 11th. I mentioned the groupon and was told to let the server know. I have another for PBR but it won't require a reservation.
     
  10. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    I'm surprised you need a reservation at BLT too. Go figure. ;)
     
  11. Quick Sand

    Quick Sand Low-Roller

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    I don't know how it works in the US. But where i am, i've used groupon many times and i get the impression that they limit the usage of these coupons each day. As a result, i have a lot of coupons that are expired and useless because my timings don't often match with the available tome slots. Good profit i guess !
     
  12. azlefty

    azlefty Low-Roller

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    For blt specifically, I would tell them because certain menu items are not eligible. Others here have reported that they give you a total dollar value but that is different from my experience with the travelzoo offer . When my wife and I dined there 6 months ago, there were 2 Travelzoo offers and the manager advised me on which one to choose, because only one of them would enable us to get a lobster and a rib eye. I think the current offer is more like the one we didn't buy which is why I suggest calling the restaurant and asking about the details before you pay for the coupon.
    There is one other reason to buy at the last minute which is, you won't feel obligated to get a steak just because you have a prepaid meal, if in fact you are in the mood for something else.
    There is a small risk that Travelzoo will end the offer but I think they show the day it ends so just keep an eye on that.
     
  13. azlefty

    azlefty Low-Roller

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    I recall that happening several years ago when Groupon was just starting out but I think it is a violation of Groupons rules for a restaurant not to accept a valid coupon as long as you are complying with all of the restrictions of the deal. I think Groupon has been enforcing this more forcefully, in the U.S. anyway, and i havent experienced a rejection in years. If that happened to me, I would call customer service and see if they can resolve it quickly. Also another reason to announce that you have the Groupon at the beginning of the meal

    I don't even think the restaurant would have much of an incentive to reject a valid Groupon due to the risk of a bad Yelp review, which is a big concern for restaurants these days.
    If on the other hand you try to redeem the Groupon at a time that it specifically states it is not applicable, such as a lunch offer for dinner, or a weekday offer on a weekend, or after the expiration date, then you have no recourse. Many of the offers are intended to stimulate business when the restaurant is not busy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016
  14. CALELLA

    CALELLA Low-Roller

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    I hope you do know that a Groupon never expires, it is only the promotional value that expires. So whatever you have paid for the groupon can still be applied as part payment of your bill.

    A good example of this is the HI Roller groupon that I bought in May 2015 which obviously expired 90 days after I purchased it. I used the groupon last month and when I presented it I fully expected to pay the difference between purchase price and the full price but was pleasantly surprised when I was given the tickets for no extra costs.

    So don't assume your groupons are worthless if out of date.
     
  15. KKB

    KKB VIP Whale

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    I worked as a server for years in my teens & 20s. My service never varied if someone used a coupon.
    I have also frequently used coupons, Groupons, Travelzoo & Living Social vouchers & never once felt by using them that my service was affected.
    Please give it to them when you order as it is more work for them to have it presented later; I realize sometimes we forget until the bill comes, but try to give when you order.
    Have never once needed a reservation anywhere.
    And I have used expired groupons for paid value several times. STILL have a Paris buffet once from a couple years ago; value is only good for 1 person so just haven't had a chance.
     
  16. zenvegas

    zenvegas Low-Roller

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    I have used groupon and other coupons over the years at restaurants. I have never offered up the coupon early because I've never thought about it. I usually give it to the server either when I ask for the bill or after it comes. I've never had an issue.
    To give the coupon up before ordering would be like walking into a grocery store with a 20 cents off coupon and giving it to a cashier before you shop.
    To me, they're a form of payment.
     
  17. Snidely

    Snidely VIP Whale

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    There is disconnect with some restaurants about the goal of the Groupon they offer. Some restaurants do seat you in less desirable sections or give you the less experienced servers when you show a Groupon. This makes no sense to me as the purpose of the Groupon is to build business and treating someone as second class doesn't incentivize them to return to the restaurant.
     
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  18. Nittany1

    Nittany1 VIP Whale

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    We have purchased tasting menus from several restaurants at Travelzoo and others.
    No special reservations required.
    I just tell the server on being seated
     
  19. KKB

    KKB VIP Whale

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    I don't share that I have a Groupon until I go to order so that wouldn't affect where they seat me or who waits on me.
    Interesting, haven't heard of such a thing! Then again might be why they are trying Groupon...
     
  20. h0und10

    h0und10 Low-Roller

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    Groupon has quite the gig.. They get half of everything bought on their website and the business with the coupon gets the other half. Good deal for Groupon for doing pretty much no work. The businesses USUALLY lose money but hopefully gain customers.