My family loves to dine out and enjoys different types of cuisine, which can be pretty hard on the wallet. To stay inside our budget we started looking for dining offers. We were introduced to Entertainment Book when my mother received one for her birthday. It's by far our favourite source because it does not discriminate between different types of dining and has no date restrictions (apart from not being valid on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Mother's Day). Some restaurants do not observe these restrictions and would still allow you to enjoy the discounts on those public holidays.
Besides dining offers, Entertainment Book also contains offers for leisure activities, retail outlets, travel and local services. The 2015/2016 book costs $65 (with a percentage going towards fundraising) and my mother recovered about half the cost within a couple of months just by using the vouchers for Chemist Warehouse.
Entertainment Book 2015/2016
Entertainment Book now comes in two forms – the traditional book form with a Gold Card and vouchers; and a digital form that you load onto your smart phone. If you are a couple, you would love the 'buy one get one free' offers. However, the most common offers give you 25% off your total bill with maximum discount cap that varies for each restaurant. Bonus offers are continuously offered through the year so you have the advantage of trying out new businesses at discounted prices!
We discovered Yumtable recently when we wanted to revisit a restaurant we discovered through Entertainment Book. It's not as convenient as Entertainment Book but the offers are sometimes better. To enjoy the offer, you need to book through Yumtable (website or app) and bring a copy of the reservation with you. Their customer service is excellent. We recently booked a restaurant which offered a 30% discount. However the restaurant lowered the discount to 20% at the eleventh hour. Yumtable gave us the differential in kind when they could not convince the restaurant to honour the 30% discount.
Shop-a-Docket is a coupon system found on the back of receipts of supermarkets and department stores (Target, Big W etc.). Instead of scanning the back of receipts, you can visit their website to search for offers and print the coupons. Coupons are available for many areas in Australia and can range from dining to local services. We enjoy the dining offers as they are usually 'buy one get one free' deals or 'buy one get one at a discount' deals. The advantage of using the website is that you can download/print the specific offer you're interested in rather than hoping you'll get it on the back of your receipt! Offers get updated monthly so there's always something new on offer.
Scoopon and Groupon are two other avenues of dining offers that we have used. The process of using their offers is the same. Each offer is only available to be purchased for a limited time/number so if you are keen on it, you have to be quick and purchase the Scoopon/Groupon voucher promptly. To use the offer, you pay for the voucher through Scoopon/Groupon, book a table with the restaurant specifying your intended use of the voucher, visit with your voucher and enjoy your meal at the restaurant. You only have to pay for any additional food/drink ordered on top of the voucher inclusions. We find the process a bit fiddly as the vouchers have varying expiry dates and restaurants normally have restrictions on the days that you can use the voucher and the dishes that you can order.
We have looked at SpareTables but have yet to take advantage of any of the offers. Similar to YumTable you'll need to book a table via the SpareTables website to enjoy the discount. Discounts, booking date, time and number of people that you can book for varies from restaurant to restaurant.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing – we wished we had started searching for dining offers much sooner and saved ourselves heaps of money!
A great article. I concur with Dave in respect of Groupon / Scoopon. Sometimes they oversell, and then it becomes hard to get a seat on the day that I'd prefer to go. The Yumtable and SpareTables seem to have solved that dilemma
Do you know which book gives even better value than the Entertainment Book? Urban Promotions Voucher Book. The one covering Murray Bridge is just under $100 but once bought, everything is free; free pizza, free bottle of wine, free coffee and cake...no purchase necessary. I think it's brilliant. They also do other country areas: Berri/Renmark and Naracoorte.
I have an Entertainment Book which is good, particularly as you can book for whenever you want to go (apart from a few specified days) and it contains some of the top restaurants in Adelaide. I also buy quite a lot of deals from Scoopon, Living Social, Groupon, Ouffer etc. but find the deals vary depending on the restaurant offering the deal. Some have been excellent and others less than satisfactory. In some restaurants you can choose food from the whole menu but other restaurants give you a special deal menu with only a few dishes in each section to choose from. Beware anybody considering a deal currently on offer at Bistro 65 (Grand Chancellor Hotel). We went there on a deal last year and our main meal was supposed to be scotch fillet with prawns (surf'n turf) but were served rump steak instead of scotch fillet. If you get a good meal on one of these deals it certainly encourages you to go back and recommend it to others.