August 15, 2022

Bucks: VillageVines: Dining Discount Site Tries a New Name

The former VillageVines dining site is betting on a new name and expanded scope to enhance the popularity of its model of restaurant reservations.

The site has changed its name to Savored and added five new markets. It is also offering Zagat rankings for the site’s participating restaurants and reviews from Travel Leisure and New York Magazine.

Unlike other restaurant sites, users pay $10 per booking to make a reservation on Savored.  Then, when patrons dine at the restaurant, they receive a 30 percent discount off their bill — food and alcohol combined. (Savored keeps the fee; if the discount it arranges doesn’t at least save you the fee, the company refunds it).

Users make the reservation and then show up; they don’t need to bring a coupon, although the site does suggest that patrons “remind” the host or hostess that they reserved through Savored, to get their automatic deduction at checkout.

“If a hotel has an empty room, they put it on at a lower price,” said the site co-founder, Ben McKean. “If a restaurant has an empty table, they put it on our Web site and offer 30 percent off.”

The site already offered tables in major culinary destinations like New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington. It is now adding Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami and Denver. The site’s list includes more than 500 restaurants. (In Boston, the site offers a 40 percent discount on food only, because state law prohibits giving discounts on alcohol.)

In New York, the site includes restaurants like the Capital Grille, Jean Georges, Le Cirque and Aquavit (which offers a 25 percent discount), Little Giant and Dinosaur BBQ.

Many restaurants, especially those serving expense-account diners, don’t like to participate in coupon-type plans, Mr. McKean says, so the discreet automatic deduction Savored uses is attractive to them. Although the discount the restaurant must offer is hefty, it is far less than the 50 to 75 percent some businesses end up giving on daily deal sites that have become popular, so it’s a more attractive proposition for the restaurants. “These are still very profitable diners,” he says.

The tradeoff with Savored is that, because restaurants are looking to fill tables on slow nights and times, there might not be any reservations available at your top choice on the night you want to go out.

A check on Monday morning showed that Kittichai, a Thai restaurant in New York’s Soho neighborhood, had tables available early in the week. The Capital Grille caters to the Financial District crowd, so it offers tables only on Friday and Saturday nights, when Wall Street types are elsewhere. Little Giant shows tables available only on Sunday and Monday nights. And just two midweek nights were listed as available at Dinosaur BBQ in July.

There’s always the possibility of a cancellation, though, right? And speaking of cancellations, if something comes up and you can’t make your reservation, you must cancel at least two hours ahead to get a refund of your $10 fee.

Have you tried to book a table on Savored/VillageVines? Did you get the restaurant you wanted?

Article source:

Speak Your Mind