InBundles is the mom-and-pop of dining sites. Founder Danny Lyu explains that their small-scale business model and lack of advertising allows them to offer personal services to restaurants and customers. Catering to a restaurant’s marketing goals translates to happier owners and better deals for diners. Scoping recent deals we found a great selection of New York favorites including Caracas Arepas, Esca, and Baoguette Café.
The premise is familiar: one deal per day. And it requires paying a smaller amount for a package of a higher value — $10 for $20 worth of food, etc. Variety assures you can find a deal for your ever-changing dining whims — everything from a slice to a three-course meal. Though the site is centered in Manhattan, Lyu hints that it plans to expand to Brooklyn. You can only hope the company’s “organic growth” will reach other cities soon.
Each offer at BlackboardEats is curated by well-known food writers, meaning you can expect a deal chosen by like-minded culinary enthusiasts. Founder Maggie Nemser explains, “All selections are carefully vetted by a team of seasoned food writers and editors. Our editors anonymously review handpicked restaurants to find the best dining experiences for our subscribers.”
That's all well and good, but the best part is there’s no pay for play. After signing up for the newsletter, readers have access to free passcodes that give them discounts to top-notch eateries. Codes are available for 24 hours and expire after one to two months.
Restaurant.com is perfect for the non-impulsive bargain-hunter, or anyone frustrated by the short life of the discounts found on most deal sites. The site features thousands of discounts that never expire. Customers can browse restaurants by zip code and then purchase a gift certificate for the chosen eatery — usually $10 for $25 worth of food. “We offer everyday deals, not a deal a day," said Cary Chessick, the CEO of Restaurant.com. "If you want to plan your Friday night dinner with friends, you can actually do that at Restaurant.com. At other daily deals sites, you might end up hang gliding.”
Bitehunter claims to consolidate the web’s best dining deals into one place. Users can search for deals by neighborhood and cuisine type, or simply scan the homepage for the latest offers from popular coupon sites such as Living Social and Groupon. This would all be simple and efficient if the purchasing stage were centralized; instead, users are still required to visit outside websites and then sign up (inevitably leading to multiple subscriptions that will flood your inbox) before buying the deal. Many of the choices feel arbitrary, or only list already permanent menu “specials” (“$12 brunch”) at random restaurants. Bitehunter is a nice idea for the avid coupon clipper, but to find the most consistent, reliable deals, it seems best to stay loyal to one or two reliable sources.
Savored, formerly known as VillageVines, is less of a coupon service and more of a reservation service. Subscribers who make a reservation via Savored (with a $10 fee) receive 30% off their total bill. The perk of Savored is that it partners with high-end restaurants that don’t typically collaborate with deals sites. However, the service only pays off if you intend to spend a lot. We did the math: 30 percent off a 50 dollar meal is about $16, which after the service fee amounts to only a six dollar discount.