We finally did it! We bought a restaurant coupon from Groupon, an e-commerce organization. It sells discounted restaurant gift certificates, among other things, through its deal-of-the-day coupons.
For $20, my husband purchased a coupon worth $40. He asked whether I thought we could use the certificate when dining with another couple, and, if so, how we should handle the dinner bill. I suggested we could use the certificate and share its cost and savings with the other couple.
This could be done in several ways:
We could ask the couple to reimburse us $10 for their share of the cost of the certificate, and then apply the $40 certificate towards the payment of the bill. We would split the remaining portion of the bill equally.
If a request for reimbursement seemed awkward, another option would be to apply the $40 certificate towards the payment of the bill. After dividing the remaining portion equally, we could then add $10 to the other couple's share and deduct $10 from our portion.
If this were a couple with whom we often socialized, a third option would be for us to absorb the entire cost of the certificate. Our friends would most likely reciprocate at another time.
Here are some additional suggestions about using coupons:
Be cautious if using a coupon when dining for business. If you are the host, pay the bill away from the table. In larger restaurants, you can usually do this by excusing yourself from the table. In smaller restaurants, speaking privately with the cashier is not always possible.
Calculate the waiter's tip based on the pre-coupon amount.
If using a coupon becomes too complicated when dining with other people, don't use it. Use the discount when dining by yourself or with your significant other.
There are many other companies that offer discounts, such as Living Social. Check them out and you may find deals you can use.
Additional dining tips can be found in my etiquette book Greet! Eat! Tweet!