3 On Your Side: Tools To Help You Save When You Dine Out

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Whether it’s a night out with the family or an intimate dinner for two, dining out these days doesn’t always have to take a big bite out of your budget.

Here is how some are enjoying a night out on the town without breaking the bank.

Eating out can be expensive but there are simple ways to save.

“It’s so easy, it’s a no brainer,” said Lori Ozer.

Ozer uses Open Table a free online reservation site that rewards customers for booking on the web. 

“Every time you dine out through Open Table, you earn valuable points, and when you get enough points you can redeem them for dining checks which are like cash at any restaurant that’s on the Open Table network,” said Scott Jampol with Open Table.

The reward points are earned only when reservations are initiated through the Open Table website.   If you visit a restaurant home page and book a reservation via a link on that page to Open Table, reward points won’t be applied.

Typically you’ll earn 100 points for each reservation. Reach 2,000 points and you get a $20 check.

“But I always hold till I get to 10,000 points and I get check for 100 dollars,” said Ozer.

Ralph’s Italian restaurant, a fixture in South Philly for over a hundred years, has been using Open Table since last summer.

“You’re filling the seats when otherwise you may not have filled the seats, so we love it,” said Ryan Rubino with Ralph’s Italian Restaurant.

Ralph’s is one of many restaurants that offer 1,000 points to people who make reservations to eat during off-peak times.

“We use it primarily earlier in the night and later in the night. So we get customers when they wouldn’t normally come in and they get cash back essentially,” said Rubino.

If earning points and presenting a reward check seems too much of a hassle then maybe Savored is more your style.

Again, you reserve a table online. But through the Savored site you get a percentage off of your bill depending on the time you eat.

“People may be a little bit shy at presenting a certificate at dinner or be a little bit apprehensive about saying I have a discount. So it’s supposed to be a complete anonymous system,” said Adam Judeh with Nineteen at the Bellevue.

Judeh says the Savored discounts are normally between 15 to 30 percent.

Your waiter applies the discount to your bill and no one ever has to know.

“You just confirm that you’ve seen the 30% Savored discount on there, which should be on your final invoice before you sign it and you’re done. So you don’t have to mentione Savored. You don’t have to say I have a discount,” said Judeh.

Savored is like a secret way of saving, and what could be more appetizing than that?

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