Shoppers Served Restaurant Bargains

By Bob Hansen
|  Friday, Nov 27, 2009  |  Updated 10:49 AM PDT
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If you're paying full price to go out to eat, you're not trying hard enough.

Diane Edwards is part of the 20 percent of diners who eat at Joey's Smokin' B.B.Q. in downtown San Diego.

"I feel absolutely like a bargain shopper or customer when I use those coupons," Edwards said.

Not far away, many customers at Zanzibars in the East Village is also opening its doors to bargain hunters.

"We like them to come in," said David Simpson of Joey's, who uses coupons himself. "We want them to try our food. We want them to be here in this atmosphere and have a good time, and feel welcome."

Discount dining is mainstream these days, a way for customers to eat on a budget and a way for restaurants to fill their tables.

"I do not want people to stay home," said Steve Garner of Zanzibars.

Zanzibar sells $25 gift certificates for only $10 on the Web site Restaurant.com. He says they are good for business from both sides of the register.

"It is a benefit to them, but it also gives the freedom to say they want to add a dessert or coffee or couple glasses of wine," Garner added. "They don't feel pressured to do that."

Joey's offers $50 coupons for just 25 bucks through NBCSanDiego.com's Double Dollar Steals. Many of the gift cards have strings attached. For example, you may have to spend the full amount of the coupon, you won't get change back, and you can't use it to pay for drinks of leave a tip.

Still, it's the same food and the same atmosphere at a fraction of the regular price.
 

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