Restaurant.comRestaurant.com is not a scam, it's the few small restaurant owners

F
This review was posted by
a verified customer
Verified customer

restaurant.com is not a scam It's the few restaurant owners that give it a bad experience for a few consumers. Instead of paying for traditional advertising, owners allow a discount on their meals. You agree to let restaurant.com advertise your business and for them to keep whatever cost of the certificate the consumer pays as payment for that advertising. The consumer abides by the terms on the certificate, minimum purchase, exception days, etc.

And then you complain when people come into use them. Or you now decise to no longer accept them, worse yet after the patron has eaten and deman full payment. Instead of accepting the certificate happily, you provide the customer with a bad experience. Now the chances are nil that they will ever come back, worse yet they will tell others of their bad experience.

Ironically, bringing in new customers is the effect that this program is suppose to have on your business. But many small owners are short sided and it has the opposite effect.

Responses

  • Me
    Melody Fields Jul 13, 2015

    As a consumer, I bought certificates from Restaurant.com, but when I heard the complaints decided not to use them, I threw money down the rabbit hole, thanks to them. I received an email trying to recruit people to be Independent Consultants for Restaurant.com, and came here to read reviews, and hadn't realized which company it was until I again began reading the complaints. The entire site and business is just a sham for consumers and restaurants owners.

    As for any restaurant.com shrills on this board, I can only say that there is no way that I am going to go into a restaurant not knowing how my family will be treated, or worse what kind of food we would be served. If I told management up front that I have a certificate, there could be food/service problems. If I presented the certificate after the meal, there could be payment problems.

    0 Votes
  • Cl
    classactionlawsuittoday May 09, 2013

    Most consumers will go to restaurants looking for a free meal or just to complain.

    0 Votes
  • Mo
    Mommy2Bree May 09, 2013

    As a consumer, not restaurant owner, I'll say that I've used restaurant.com coupons a few times and think its a great incentive to find new restaurants in the area. Once in the door, it's on the restaurant itself to determine if i'll be coming back or not. If I get bad food or service then you're absolutely right, I won't become a regular full paying customer! However I've discovered one particular great restaurant that I never new existed and never would have known about were it not for Restaurant.com. And the r.com reviews I read for this place are fantastic... the only reviews I found for them anywhere on the internet I should add. I do agree that this is a system easily abused and that should change. You should not be permitted to buy a certificate for a certain restaurant more than once, as it's should only be an incentive to try something new. I also think r.com should maybe tell consumers that THEY keep all money paid for the cert - I didn't know that until I looked more into the company. In the end, I do plan to go back the the restaurant I spoke of as a full paying customer. Unfortunately the economy has hit me too so how often I eat out has changed (which I assume has a big effect of why the return rate of customers is low) but I've also spread word of mouth advertising for them which is the best form of advertising, right? A great restaurant can shine on restaurant.com i'd think... but if you're not a great restaurant that's a different story.

    0 Votes
  • An
    AnnMarie13 Feb 07, 2013

    I think they need to restructure the whole business. I believe that in the beginning a new customer certificate would be wonderful so you can "try out" a new place. But once you've been there before just a small discount would be wonderful. I have to say that we have tried a few restaurants that we normally couldn't afford or that we had just not heard of before and there are reasons people don't go back sometimes. We had bad experiences at most of them, and the one we didn't have a bad experience at was just simply far away so it can only be a once in a few months type of place to go eat and believe me when we are happy with our meal we are more than happy to pay full price the next time we go. Running a mom and pop place today is very hard, with sometimes very little reward. The best thing to do if you want to increase service is to sit down with a business adviser, marketing expert, or even just someone else who runs a more successful business and talk through what works and doesn't work and how you can change things to increase business where it's needed. In the end, that one time investment will save you more than if you go the restaurant.com route.

    0 Votes
  • Gb
    gbjordan Apr 17, 2011

    Hey jbs3626, you're mixing up the comments. My comment is below my name, not above it. Thanks.

    0 Votes
  • Jb
    jbs3626 Mar 16, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    gbjordan you must obviously work for restaurant.com customers are pissed that they can't use the coupons we asked you not to sell and the restaurants look like con artists. Thanks for your 100% honest review praising restaurant.com I can not wait until you guys go bankrupt for causing all these restaurants commotion. Maybe when a contract is signed your sales reps should sign with OWNERS not Waiters or Waitresses or Hourly line cooks. You know your company conducts illegal business and knows our restaurants have the RIGHT to deny coupons. See you in court. I'm sick of my restaurant looking like a crook and being posted on your websight when 9 months ago I asked for you to remove my restaurant and logo from your sight.

    0 Votes
  • Sc
    ScamAvoider Mar 10, 2011

    Restaurant.com is a blood sucking leech that misleads and bleeds dry independent restaurants. Most customers do not understand that restaurants are lucky to take 4 to 8% of total revenues to the bottom line even in good times, many have gone under in the financial crisis. Restaurant.com provides no legitimate source of advertising and the restaurant gets zilch back for all the free food and drink they give away. On top of that, it is typically regular customers who abuse the program by using dozens of them each week and never paying a reasonable price for the meals. The worst part is that Restaurant.com will not let you cancel the program once their misrepresentations become evident, so you are stuck taking more and more coupons because you cannot shut it down. After repeatedly trying to cancel, we finally had to threaten a $100k+ copyright lawsuit against both Restaurant.com and their internet service provier for contining to display our copyrighted menus and photos for several months despite our repeated objections. That was our only way to finally get rid of them!

    Restaurant owners struggle every day in a highly competitive business in a down economy. If you want your favorite local restaurants to go out of business and all their employees to be out of their jobs, then keep on buying these ### sucking coupons.

    1 Votes
  • Jc
    jcald3944 Dec 26, 2010

    I too own a small restaurant owner and agree this is a scam against restaurants, we do a large lunch trade so I tried Restaurant.com to try an increase dinner trade making the coupon only valid after 4PM. Restaurant.com changed the terms to include lunch I was giving $25 worth of food away my lunch check average is $9.00 so 3 meals basically for free and having to turn away full paying guests. I am in the business to make money and earn a living not give food away for free. I also had Restaurant.com guests trying to feed a whole family for free, if thats what you want hit Golden Corral, others angry because they don't want to abide by the terms they bought the certificate for get angry at me not Restaurant .com. I wrote a letter to the president of Restaurant.com to complain about his company and asked him to not sell to the guests that refused to not abide by the terms and he didn't even reply.

    0 Votes
  • Gb
    gbjordan Dec 10, 2010

    No Shirt, No Shoes...thanks for your insight. You're giving owners some advice here, and since I'm one of the two owners on this post, I'll assume it was directed at me. I didn't get roped in by a 'hard sell'. I was looking to drive traffic, and I didn't have the $$ flow necessary to do it. Trading COGS for guest traffic instead of $$ for guest traffic was what I got, and it was exactly what I thought I would get. The reason I made this post was because of all of the consumers complaining about the restaurants...why are the terms different for each restaurant? Why is the gratuity included? Why can't I get specials? Etc.

    Here's my experience. I followed the rules and cancelled the program in writing 30 days prior to our anniversary. We continued to be listed on the site. Every gift certificate purchased from 6/09 until 2/10 had an expiration date 1 year from the purchase date (ex. Expires 12/23/10 except where prohibited by law). After 2/10, every gift certificate purchases stated on the bottom "This Gift Certificate Never Expires". R.com told me that "we didn't sell any extra gift certificates so, no big deal, and the expiration date was taken off because some states, like California don't allow gift certificates to expire." I asked if the 'except where prohibited by law' covered that, and he told me that it did, but they "changed it and let all of their customers know that some of the gift certificates will expire in 1 year." So, I'm left to piss somebody off that comes in with a gift certificate for my restaurant that says 'this never expires' because R.com supposedly let every one of their purchasers know that 'some restaurants have a 1 year expiration'?

    With that said, I'll stand by my original post. The problem with Restaurant.com isn't R.com itself, it is the people that use the gift certificates. I'll argue that you can't compare the 'advertising' you get on R.com with traditional advertising. R.com advertising will drive more traffic in the short term, but its impossible to know what the long term benefits are. My experience is that a very small percentage of R.com guests come back as full price paying 'regulars'. That was confirmed to me by a R.com agent who told me that according to their studies less than 10% of their customers return as full paying guests.

    So, as an owner, I'll tell you that R.com will generate unprofitable sales in the short term, and the long term gain in regular, paying guests probably won't be worth the extra COGS as compared to traditional advertising. If you do work with R.com, add every single one of those guests to your database, as it will increase the liklihood that they become your guests instead of R.com customers.

    Jordan

    0 Votes
  • Em
    emen74 Dec 10, 2010

    Being the holiday season, I bought a friend of mine that is currently unemployed a chance to dine out. I carefully read the restriction and it clearly stated "a $35 minimum purchase" which I AGREED to. I bought a $75 gift certificate and I felt $35 was reasonable for dinner. To my surprise, AFTER I purchased the gift, get the e-mail to print it, it THEN tells me "must purchase a minimum of $150 at the restaurant." After contacting their customer service they said I agreed to the restriction by checking a box, which I DID, but it isn't my fault the restriction I agreed to BEFORE buying the product is different to the restriction that appeared AFTER buying the certificate. An OBVIOUS SCAM. I now am trying to get a refund through them or through my bank. It's embarrassing to give a "gift" where the person has to buy $150 worth of food and they are unemployed. My Holiday shopping turned SOUR the moment I got scammed by restaurant.com

    0 Votes
  • Jb
    jbs3626 Sep 29, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Well said. I operate a small restaurant that got suckered into this scam. A restaurant.com sales rep came in while I was away and fooled my waitress to sign a trial agreement period. These blood sucking vutlures never had my permission and lied to my waitress to get her to sign a contract against my will. To make a long story short I had to consult with a lawyer because restaurant.com would not stop selling coupons because they had an agreement between the "restaurant" not the restaurant owner. Nine months went by with coupons being sold daily and guests being greeted by a sign on my door that apologized and said "We do not accept restauant.com coupons as a form of payment..." making my restaurant and myself look like crooks in the eyes of the consumer. Someone should conduct legal action against this company and shut them down.

    0 Votes
  • Bu
    bus Jul 09, 2010

    BS! All restaurants on Restaurant.com website don't even know each other. Salesrep comes in to talk the owner/manager in to TRY OUT the service with TRIAL period. Once they decide to sign up, they would do everything on their end creating so-called 'an ad' and put the restaurant info and coupon up on the restaurant.com website without telling the owner/manager. That piece of ad is never agreed on and launch date is never agreed on. They do everything silently until it's live. This website and these people are FRAUD!

    0 Votes
  • Gb
    gbjordan Jul 06, 2010

    You don't know what you're talking about. Restaurant.com admits that only about 2-5% of their customers convert into regular guests of the restaurants at which they use the coupons. They tell you that they sell $25 Gift Certificates for $10, however every time I open my email I get an offer to buy a $25 certificate for $2, $3, or even $1. Its a great deal for the customer, even if they have to purchase a minimum. However, there is absolutely no incentive for the customer to come back and pay full price as a 'normal' customer.

    As an owner, I saw many new guests, so in that respect the program worked for what I wanted it to do...but in the long run, those people aren't coming back unless they have a certificate, which doesn't do me any good. Bottom line, Restaurant.com gets new people in the door but for the most part, they are not profitable people. They cater to people looking to spend as little as possible, and issues arise from that, as restaurant owners don't want people that are looking for handouts. I've posted a couple times on this company.

    Issues arise when customers either don't read the details or don't care. We constantly had guests try to combine the certificates with daily specials, other discounts, other restaurant.com certificates. I had a woman throw her credit card at me last week because she didn't follow the rules and we didn't accept her certificate. Should I have smiled and happily allowed her to get 3 half price appetizers, 2 kids meals, and 1 sandwich plus take $10 off her meal? The customer is always right? Here's the decision I'm faced with: 1)Sorry you can't use it, she gets pissed, throws her credit card at me and tells me she's never coming back. or 2)Sure, I'll honor it she is happy that I took care of her (she spent a total of $10 on $40 worth of food which means I LOST money on the transaction) and she'll be back next month with another certificate and will tell the server that 'last time they let me do it' so I'll have to bend over and take it again. You decide.

    Jordan

    1 Votes

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