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I really enjoy eating out and am always visiting different cafes and restaurants all the time so it makes sense to take advantage of any special offers offered to me.
So three months ago when I saw the Taste Card advertised on a website for a 3 month free trial I snapped one up straight away.
WHAT IS A TASTE CARD If you are a regular to all this money saving malarkey then you will know about these dining society cards that are out, they are meant to secure you special discounts at different restaurants subject to the terms and conditions. If you are unaware of these cards they are credit card size and come through the post with the advise of going on their website and having a look at all the different restaurants near and you and the offers they provide.
HOW I APPLIED I went on to the website www.tastecard.co.uk and was met with a really nice easy front page with the options of how to use your card, search restaurants, gift service, joining the club, corporate, restaurants and join newsletter. The colours of the taste card are green and black so everything is pretty much green and black. I clicked on Join the club and was faced with a short form to complete with all my personal detail and within 2 weeks I received my card through the post.
WHAT NEXT As soon as I received my card I went back to the website and clicked on search restaurants. I thought it was good as you can search through the restaurants they cover without actually being a member so if you were to buy the card you would know exactly what you were getting unlike other card providers who do not offer this facility. I then typed in my postcode and got a list of over 20 different restaurants within my area, which is quite good as I only live in a small town. The next city to me had several times more places to visit. I have to admit the choice wasn’t amazing and was mainly Indian restaurants and low end pubs that offered bar meals however they did offer my local probably a pub chain which are quite nice places to visit so I was happy at that. A local Chinese restaurant was also offered which made me happy, as I love Chinese.
The card does cover over 4,500 restaurants over the UK so I am sure other people would get more use out of one as they may have a better selection of restaurants near them covered and I suppose if you holidayed a lot in the UK you could take your card with you. The main chains they advertise on the front page of the website to get you drawn in are La tasca, Strada, Café Rouge, Prezzo, Bella Italia, ask, Chez Gerard, Pizza Express, GBK and Zizzis.
THE OFFERS This is where I think the Taste Card falls down every restaurant offers a certain deal the majority are 50% off the food bill 2 4 1 on meals and 25% discount of the food bill but they are limited to 2 people per booking or they will be only able to use the card Sunday to Thursday and this would not include a Sunday lunch some restaurants also do not allow you to use the card on bank holidays or throughout December. So to benefit from the offer you will have to enjoy going out on weekdays and only in 2’s some of the restaurants offer the discount for up to 8 people but these are very few and far between. I have to admit as well when you go on the website of some of these restaurants they already offer 2 4 1’s on certain days anyway or are currently running special offers so a card would not always be necessary.
HOW TO USE THE CARD To use the card most establishments advise that you must ring and make a table reservation and also advise them that you will be using your taste card and if you fail to do so you may not be able to use the card. Once you have finished your meal show them your taste card as you ask for the bill so they can prepare it for you correctly.
COST OF THE CARD I received my card for free for a 3 month trial which I believe now has been reduced to a 1 month trial on the website. The yearly charge for the card is £69.95 but I believe there are loads of different offers flying around like the one I received this morning of a full card for £49.99
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE CARD When I received my card we wanted to use it straight away so I called the Chinese restaurant that was listed as a 50% of the food bill to be told they were not allowing the taste card yet ?? We had arranged to go so we went anyway and at the end of the meal I asked if they did the taste card discount and they looked at me gone out they took the card away and asked a manager who then said we don’t know what it is sorry. I wasn’t convinced so I asked them for a receipt and left I then emailed the taste card to see what they had to say and I never got a response so a month later I saw the Chinese was still on the website so emailed them a copy of my previous email I then got a response 4 days later saying they had contacted the restaurant and they did offer the discount and sorry for the mix up. I then emailed them back saying this was all well and good but what about the discount I have my receipt if they could take it up with the restaurant. I also advised them that I was not a paying member of the card and was only on a trial but is this was the sort of thing that goes on I wouldn’t buy into this card. This email was never to this day replied to and this was over a month ago now. I have since visited the website & that restaurant has now been removed from the list! I have to say it wasn’t all negative though I went to a very nice country pub and after our meal I realised I could have rang up and used my card so I went over to the till and had a quiet word with the waitress and she said you do normally have to ring and advise we would be coming but on this occasion she would honour it which I thought was really nice and we received £12.00 off our meal which was lovely. This was nice as we got the card for free but if we had paid for the card I wouldn’t have been so happy.
OVERALL THOUGHTS I go out for meals a lot but only doing this trial made me realise we go out a lot of Fridays and Saturdays and if we could only use this card twice in 3 months making a grand saving of £12 I doubt very much it would be cost affective for us as £12 every 3 months only equates to £48.00 and if your paying £69.95 then you have actually made a big fat loss! I personally wouldn’t recommend getting one of these cards as restaurants at the minute are offering some really good deals for example the last time we went to Frankie and Benny’s we completed the after meal survey and yesterday we received a £10 off voucher to be spent on day off any meal as long as it wasn’t already discounted. Just shop around before you go out and save yourself some money instead of paying taste card to lose you some money.