Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Evolution of the Coupon Girl

If you've been out to dinner with me in the past 3 months, chances are you didn't get much of a chance to pick the restaurant. My addiction to trying new places, and saving cash have combined together to become the one, the only, Coupon Girl. In the past, I was wary about presenting coupons to a waiter or waitress who may not offer me the same experience if I was planning on paying full price for my meal. But, with the recession came new ways to save money and I'm quite sure some of my latest finds are leading the revolution of dinning out on the cheap.

My two favorite pioneers in this space are Scoutmob and Blackboard Eats which both offer patrons a percentage off of their meal at a "hand selected" restaurant or bar. If you decide to stop reading here, you must at least check out their websites and try one of their deals.

So, here's the new lay of the land from an avid user's perspective. I find a good foodie or lifestyle blog or website that fits my demographic and offers interesting reviews on some of my favorite spots. The reviews are written as half intelligent restaurateur deconstructing the menu and atmosphere and half humor columnist for The Onion Newspaper. I find these reviews to be the highlight in my day and want to build on my relationship with these blogs and sites.

They take the first step and send me an email about how they are pioneering relationships with some of their favorite restaurants and bars and will give me the opportunity to save 30-50% off my meals at these destinations in the future. I squeal and accept their offer to build on our relationship.

 Blackboard Eats catches my attention first, and sends me offers for 20-30% off at some of the city's best restaurants. They don't charge me for these coupons, they just require me to purchase at least one entree or two appetizers when I use their coupons. I do, and fall hard for some fantastic new finds that I never would have experimented on without the gentle push from a dear friend. Most of their finds are $$ to $$$$ restaurants and elegant bars and suit my mood for a Saturday night or an occasion (I must omit the word "special" before occasion since every day is a special occasion in some way).

Just last week, Blackboard Eats upped their price per coupon from $0 to $1 or $20 for a full year of deals. I'm sure you'll be shocked to hear Jerome and I went for the full year of deals.

ScoutMob was my second friend in this new, crafty, money saving world. They snuck up much faster than my last friend, but offered a significant amount of humor with their reviews and recommendations which won me over immediately. Once they decided to strengthen their relationship with me, by offering me 50% off coupons to some of the city’s best local finds we became best friends. Even better, their demographic and finds tend to fall into the lower price range ($-$$$) and offer great options for regular weeknight dinners or Sunday brunches. Their coupons also have a cap which range from $15-$35, which isn't hard to hit if you decide to have any booze with your meal. But, it's a great friendship, and awesome deals. Best part: Their iPhone App gives me 1/2 off offers on the go.

I have immense love for my new friends and will share my restaurant adventures with you soon.

1 comment:

Nicole J said...

Sounds like you've got this retail/restaurant hacking down pat! Keep it up and feel free to share any feedback on Scoutmob you might have.