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Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Tastecard - Is it all it's cracked up to be???


I have been kindly asked to delete this post by Tastecard's lawyers. I regret having to do so.


If you have had a positive or negative experience with Tastecard, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

61 comments:

  1. A friend of mine has had one for the past year and has barely made it pay. She's encountered very similar problems to you and wouldn't recommended it, which is a shame. Maybe they should change the saying to "There's no such thing as a half price lunch"?

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  2. I get a feeling that the only ones that should get Tastecards are those who dine every single day at Pizza Express...

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  3. I've had quite a good experience with the tastecard, and I rarely eat in chain restaurants. I do tend to check the website for places in my desired area (usually covent garden or chelsea) first, though.

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  4. I could never understand the incentive for restaurant owners to give offers through tastecard rather than through toptable or london-eating, etc.

    Assuming offers are a means to drive increased visits to a restaurant, I would have thought it would make more sense to do it through the most heavily visited sites / publications (unless of course you don't want to damage your price perception in the market - but in this case tastecard probably isn't the best method either)

    When I've seen restaurants offering offers, they seem to span all the booking sites, and occasionally tastecard as well. Does anyone know more about why a restaurant would choose to offer discounts ONLY through tastecard? The concept sounds pretty uncompetitive from the start.

    Sorry to hear about the bad experience.

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  5. I have had it for a couple of years, but in the last year the restrictions have increased massively and the restaurants I like on it, decreased. So in the last few months I have barely used it. I knew of having to book in advance, and when I look for a restaurant, always check if it's usable... there are too many restrictions and hardly anything at the weekends, so next year I will be careful and stop it from renewing automatically (oh yes. happened)

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  6. I've used mine plenty and the only really problem has been December (which to be fair is understandable, the restaurants have to make a living right?).

    Yes you have to book in advance, but surely that would have avoided your problem at Red Cafe wouldn't it? And they only exclude Fridays and Saturdays so I don't really see the issue, I can't see any other restrictions and haven't encountered any myself.

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  7. I only have good experience with my tastecard. I informed myself how I can use it before I got it and never run into any troubles using it.

    If I want a spontaneous meal on the tastecard, I use the iPhone app which shows me the nearest restaurant I can use. If it's a reservation only restaurant, I call the restaurant on the number provided in the app and it's never been a problem to reserve just 15 - 30 mins before arrival.

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  8. To north19... tastecard is actually quite huge, I owned a restaurant in Hammersmth and we had to come off tastcard as we were getting too many bookings - so it's a bit of a double edged sword. They will generate far more covers than any other offer related sites and booking sites etc (toptable etc) - I can only imagine groupon can compete with them on the amount of bookings they can generate to be honest. Also, as a nod to David - we used to get quite a few people who hadn't researched how to use their card, we restricted Fri and Sat nights (the only 2 exclusions allowed) but were massively frustrated by people coming in trying to use the card and those nights - and not telephone booking -! We needed people to telephone book so we can at least have seats avaialable for full paying diners too (it gives us the oportunity to turn tastecard away I suppose - but reasonably).

    Is it worth a go for punters? I would say so definitely. Is it worth it for restaurants? not so sure!

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  9. Interesting from the restaurant owner in Hammersmith. When you gave an offer through tastecard, were you excluded from offering it in other on-line sites which forced the customer pre-book first?

    Also enlightening re. scope and scale of tastecard - I eat (some of) my words!

    On a slightly tangential note, there was a great article a while ago that I now can't find called something along the lines of "The trouble with Groupon". The premise was that discount sites offers two contradictory promises to the customer and the retailer. To the customer "Use us and you'll never have to pay full price again", to the retailer "Yes, this customer comes in the first time at a discount, but then they'll want to come back and be a frequent full price customer in the future". Is this what is happening for the restaurants? Or is tastecard a great way to fill low-trading periods?

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  10. Totally agree....they always get funny if you haven't called to book even if the tables are empty! The choice is poor mid week & non existent at the weekend (unless you want to risk an unknown indian restaurant) & the website is light years behind rivals with very limited reviews, no ratings & poor functionality.

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  11. I have had Tastecard for three years and I use all the time. It does have its limitations but you have to realise why it was conceived in the first place. You can't blame restaurants for trying to get more people through the door during the week when their reservation book is quieter and then discouraging the people looking for deals at the weekend when more people are looking to eat out.

    It doesn't require much insight to book 24 hours in advance and to be honest most of the places that I have been to on a 'spur of the moment' visit usually don't mind that we haven't booked as long as the place isn't full.

    If you eat out a night a week such as I do, the card pays for itself in no time at all

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  12. I completely agree with this post. I've had two introductory offers to tastecard and have barely used it both times. Places I actually want to go to I'm willing to book in advance, but they're not on tastecard, or it will be a weekend when I want to go, whereas places I just want to turn up to because I'm hungry and have an hour or so to kill have this infuriating book ahead policy. Even if you call them just before going in. It's ludicrous.

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  13. Maybe you have too high expectations. We can't afford to eat out as much as we used to, and the Tastecard has meant that now we can. Our first visit was to a lovely pub, deep in the countryside, we were welcomed, and the full menu was available to us. We have revisited since with friends, and it's well worth using the card.
    There will always be people who pick holes in things, but if you read the small print before you start it's perfectly clear what you can and can't do. The card was free on a promotion, and I've just renewed it as it's such good value for money.

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  14. People like to save money, fact, but people also like to complain, also a fact. Another fact is that people don't read up on things properly before they use them. It's like sitting in first class on a train with a standard ticket then blogging about how unfair East Coast trains are. Read the ts and cs then review the product, it's as easy as that!!!
    From my perspective I got a card in Carphone Warehouse when I bought an iPhone last year. I've used it plenty, a bit at the boring chains like Pizza Express, but much more at some independents which, to be frank, knock the spots of the microwave technicians at these chains anyway. I reckon I've saved about £300 so far, so I'll look for what offers they are doing next year, then make a decision on whether to renew.

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  15. I've had my tastecard for 6 months and it's definitely been worth it already. I've only used it maybe about 6 times but each time have saved between £20 and £40. Even if i'd paid the full price advertised on the site atm (£80) i would've made it back after the first couple of uses. Have the unhappy people on the page not seen that there is a free trial? Or just purchased it without looking into how to use it?

    Compared to their competitors they have the simplest and least restricting clauses. Some others restrict more than just fri/sat and quite often the number of courses you can have! (tastecard always covers all courses)

    I think it's pretty obvious to use the website or the apps to find restaurants and it clearly states any restrictions so you know if it's available or have to book. If i lived in London i'd be saving an unbelievable amount!

    Some people just expect the moon on a stick i guess!

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  16. I`ve had great use from my Tastecard and will renew when it runs out in May. Yes you have to do things like check the website for restaurant conditions and book in advance - but it tells you that! Yes you can sometimes find that there is more limited range, cheaper lunchtime menu available - but then having booked with the tastecrad just ignore it and go with that or take the a la carte option with tastecard and get something better or something you prefer that is not on the cheaper menu! As for having to book 24 hours ahead - yes it states telephone bookings in the terms / website for each restaurant anyway so just read it! Also a number of times I have happened to be in another city and found a tastecard venue on my phone app as marked nearby. I`ve gone in and asked if I could have a table without advance booking and more often than not been accepted. I`ve also phoned ahead far less than 24 hours ahead without a problem - my record was 10 minutes in advance. Some places have offered weekend restrictions and holiday restrictions but again it always clearly states. No - for me it has been great value (Even more so considering I paid £2 for a year off ebay! )Must have saved hundreds of pounds this year and will continue to buy even at full price as some of my favourite restaurants - all high end independents in Leeds / Yorkshire, offer potential use.

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  17. I think it is brilliant - it's free as a Mail subscriber and if you follow the instructions on each restaurants website there are no problems. I have saved a fortune.

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  18. The basic concept is quite good. However, trying to use it at the weekend is virtually impossible. My big problem and one I know lots of other people have had is that they automatically renew your membership and will not refund you your membership even if you emigrated and therefore can't use the card. As I said, the concept is good. BUT tastecard's billing practices are not good and are very unfair.

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  19. I'm a pub/restaurant owner who's just been approached by 'Tastecard' and said 'no'. I understand their business model - sell a card and persuade other businesses to give away stuff at half price - magic! I run a country pub with a net profit of circa 20% - how would this work for me? Any offer based on 'marginal costing' needs to be tightly controlled and we do make selective 'loss leader' offers - on our terms. However, if you told me any restaurant could offer this as standard and still make money - then, personally, I wouldn't want to eat there.

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    1. I was conned into accepting the taste card in my restaurant.They told me how much more business i would be getting. That was rubbish we had people who did not understand it turn up and cause trouble.We got off taste card the staff feel much more happy. We are a much better restaurant now then when we were with the silly taste card. Plus taste card customers don't tip.

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    2. 'taste card customers dont tip'
      what a load of rubbish!

      Delete
    3. Totally agree with Inntoxicated. We are a small country inn and tastecard has been a disaster. Stopped it after a month only to be told we have to give 28days notice which was never mentioned before. We were sold it on the premis that customers were mostly corporate entertainers who would drink loads from the bar and had paid good money for the privilege (not to us thouigh). Every single person presenting a card to us had got it on a free promotion. Not one bought an alcoholic drink, only three bought soft drinks, one a cup of tea, all the rest asked for jugs of tapwater. We lost massively. Our decision to join the scheme but the sell was total bollocks and I would never trust a business like that again.

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    4. BE AWARE WHEN YOU BUY A TASTECARD
      THEY KEEP UR BANK DETAILS ON DATABASE.AND RENEW AUTOMATICALLY.READ THEIR TERMS AND CONDITIONS.ROBBERS
      JUST SENT ME A NEW CARD FOR 2014 AND CHARGED ME £29.00
      Please make a special note of point 5 - Term
      5.1 The club is an on-going subscription service so your membership is continuous and your membership is renewed automatically at the end of each membership year, each membership year being 12 months from the date we confirm you have become a member. If you have supplied an email address we will send you an electronic reminder approximately 3 weeks before your renewal is due to advise you of the details of the new subscription. If you do not want to renew your membership you should contact us by telephone on 0800 5677 241 or 01484 477 645 at any point within your 12 month membership period and no later than 5pm on the working day preceding your renewal date. You are required to inform us if you change your correspondence address (both email and postal). We will not be liable for any non-receipt of communication from us, including non-receipt of the renewal reminder. The automatic renewal does not apply to gift purchases.

      Delete
  20. Should of bought a Phantom Card! http://thephantomcard.com/restaurant-retail-travel-entertainment-discounts.htm

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  21. I am a restaurant owner in Marple, Cheshire.
    http://www.murillos.com. I joined taste card in February this year and so far tastecard has brought us a lot of new customers. We offer 50% discount from our a la carte menu on a starter and main or main and dessert and the response has been fabulous. I know it is a big discount to give but it works if you do a resonable volume. We offer the taste card all day Sunday to Thursday and it is available all day, the only restriction we apply is to pre-book in advance as we only accept 20 covers per service and we don't accept the card on Friday and Saturday. Up to now every diner we had with the tastecard has spent an average of £28.00 per head, I would rather have 20 extra covers per service on weekdays paying £28.00 per head than having four or five tables only spending the full average. I think as a restaurateur if members look carefully at the terms and conditions of restaurant members they have a very good deal with this discount card. Please TASTECARD keep promoting your service.
    Thank you.

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  22. I am a restaurant owner in Marple, Cheshire.
    http://www.murillos.com. I joined taste card in February this year and so far tastecard has brought us a lot of new customers. We offer 50% discount from our a la carte menu on a starter and main or main and dessert and the response has been fabulous. I know it is a big discount to give but it works if you do a resonable volume. We offer the taste card all day Sunday to Thursday and it is available all day, the only restriction we apply is to pre-book in advance as we only accept 20 covers per service and we don't accept the card on Friday and Saturday. Up to now every diner we had with the tastecard has spent an average of £28.00 per head, I would rather have 20 extra covers per service on weekdays paying £28.00 per head than having four or five tables only spending the full average. I think as a restaurateur if members look carefully at the terms and conditions of restaurant members they have a very good deal with this discount card. Please TASTECARD keep promoting your service.
    Thank you.

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  23. I entered a competition through MSE 3 years ago when tastecard was tastelondon and low and behold won an annual membership. Back in those days the scheme was fairly small but now seems to have gone massive. When the membership I renewed and got plenty of use out of it, not in the chains (although not bad when you want a quick Pizza followed by cinema) but mainly at independent restaurants I probably wouldn't have even known existed. I talking about ones off the main high street in Clapham and a couple in Balham that I simply wouldn't have gone to.

    I then cancelled when I moved back up to Manchester before seeing that they had gone national and buying again in Summer last year.

    Those who complain about the weekends obviously dont understand the scheme. Why would a restaurant do 50% off on a Friday (unless it was useless)? Surely they should be full that night? And those complaining about booking, I always book a restaurant anyway, otherwise how do you know if there is space?

    Interesting comments from the guy in Marple as well. And now that Ive looked at his website I'll be trying his place too. So, there we go, it does work!!!!!

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  24. Just got my tatecard today - restauarnts here i come!!!!!!

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  25. Hi,
    I really like your blog!
    Take a look at mine... http://foodiefondue.blogspot.co.uk/
    I would love your feedback on how to improve

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  26. tastecard is quite good if you want to only eat in chain restaurants. However, I don't and did not want them to just renew my membership. They renewed it, sent the membership to my old address (even though I had previously told them I didn't want to renew my membership). They now won't refund me the money I have paid or send me a replacement card.
    BE VERY CAREFUL DEALING WITH TASTECARD. I am not the only person who has been caught unaware by their business practices http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3068248

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  27. Ive used the tastecard now for over 2 years and it's fantastic. in fact, i've just used it yesterday to celebrate a friend's birthday.

    Like any scheme there are rules you have to follow. If you dont then thats your problem.

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  28. Had my tastecard for two years, I buy it through work at a discount, it has saved us a fortune and we have tried lots of places we wouldn't normally consider trying. I would not think twice about renewing. We rarely use it on the chains. I have had no bad experiences and would recommend it but you have to fully understand how it works and check whats available in your area.

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  29. Why was this post deleted? Did tastecard offer you incentives for deleting this post?

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  30. Lol @Jon
    I am a restaurant owner and we have been part of the tastecard scheme for about a year. It has bought a steady flow of new customers, not loads and certainly hasnt filled us during the week, it maybe accounts for 20/30% of our evening trade during the week. I too agree with the comment about how we can possibly make money, our gp is around 70% so we probably break even or something around that with staff we already had on the roster. Plus we sell a few extra drinks. We are also a function venue and cater for anything from birthday parties to weddings, we have taken function bookings on the back of customers that came through the tastecard, so all round i would say its a good thing, not a massive business builder for us. I also have a tastecard and eat out regularly and there are some good independently run offering on there as well as the pizza exress zizzi etc... also a few of the heathrow hotels are on there with some decent grub on offer. If you read the intructions you can't go wwrong, can't use it Friday/Saturday nights, maximum number of guests for the discount, simple really. I think it works from two aspects, first of all to drive trade during the week with promises of half price food, and also to keep people out there spending, not necessarily making us any more profit but keeping eating out in the front of peoples minds hopefully benefiting us in the future...

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dean

      I am a restaurant owner myself. I have a few questions and perhaps you can help me out a little? Can I contact you directly on email if you dont mind? If not, Whats ur email address? Mine is mjmasalawala@gmail.com if you would like to drop me a line with your email instead of posting it here !

      Thanks Dean
      M

      Delete
  31. Had tastecard for a year now - on the reduced 29.95 membership fee - and saved loads. On one meal alone I saved £85 - almost three times the annual membership fee. There are restrictions and it can be frustrating at times - particularly some of the individual restaurant requirements that are buried in the additional information - but generally speaking it's a great purchase.

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  32. I should add to the post above that it's considerably better in London - many more independents etc that actually make the card worthwhile and generally have fewer restrictions than the chains.

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  33. I applied for the free trial card, keep getting emails telling about offer yet to date nonTastecard has arrived. So, not impressed at all.

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  34. can mt wife use my tastecard to go for a meal with her sister ?

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  35. can the tastecard be used only by the person who's names on the card? or eg can my wife use my to go for a meal with her friend ?

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  36. I got a tastecard trial through a promotion at new look. Havent used it once as places dont accept use on a weekend. I work all week the only nights i would ever want to use it would be fri or sat! Its useless.

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  37. Tried the tastecard in several places since we received it and it is great. Saved a lot of money and has a good selection of places from town to country. Will keep using it.

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  38. Be careful - I recently moved from London - they charged my credit card and even when i wrote to them on the day of the renewal to cancel and issue a refund, they refused and still will not issue a refund. I didn't receive the card in the mail and paid the renewal fee - a complete waste. So if you are going to cancel, do it at least 7 days before renwal.

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  39. I've had a tastecard and made great use out of it. However it would appear lots of chains are leaving the club. Therefore it's getting harder to use the card. I now have a Hi Life 2 for 1 card and get more use from it as they tend to offer higher quality restaurants.

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  40. We used to use it at Cafe Rouge but they have now stopped as they have left the scheme.... Don't think I will renue this year.

    Keith

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  41. I have had the card for two years at £29.95 and do not use it regularly. It's a pretty straightforward calculation when it comes to ROI for renewal - use it 2-3 times and you make back the cost therefore it is worth renewing and having in your wallet. So what if you cannot use it on Friday/Saturday, so what if there are other restrictions - all you need to do is save 30 quid across one full year and it makes sense to keep it. My sense from reading some posts on this blog is that you expect to eat at Le Gavroche every Friday with 50% off!

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  42. There are great deals to be had at a decent places....put in the effort and do the research! Top 5 in London.....it is great for week day dining and there are places on the weekend... again you have to put in the time to investigate and the restrictions are reasonable considering the great deals you can get. FYI I have booked a restaurant 5-10 minutes before walking in and experienced no problems.

    some recommendations! All London....

    1) Baltic Southwark- gorgeous Polish food my favourite.
    2) Sartori - Central London for a proper pizza from a wood burning oven
    3) Chetinnad South Indian Village - lovely, lovely prawns and Dosa's
    4) Souk Medina - Moroccan (great lamb and chicken tagines)
    5) Old Ship Hackney for some decent pub food

    I have saved loads on it....

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  43. I've had my tastecard for almost a year, and I'm not joking when I say its saved me and my friends close to £400 in that time, including a saving of £160 at Souk Medina for a table of 13 people on 1 card...
    Like the 2 users above have said, do some research, find out the restrictions, and in most cases, book in advance, its simple. Why everyone in London does not have one of these I will never know.

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    Replies
    1. Complete rubbish. The terms of the card state quite clearly that only one card can be used per booking and that means one discount for one person in the party however many are actually paying full price.

      Which Anonymous member of Tastecards staff are you?

      Delete
    2. In fact you are completly incorrect Anon many resturants apply multiple discounts I have used my tastecard to get 1/2 price on a group of 6 people ! And I regularly use it as a discount for 2-4 adults. Many resturants have left the scheme and the chains are putting in some silly restrictions but using the app and if you are willing to make a few phone calls you can easily get a dinner at very short notice mid week. Just make sure you get the name of the person you speak to and be upfront about the card before you sit down to avoid any unplesent arguments.

      Delete
  44. The first responder doesn't know what they are saying. The restrictions are individual to each venue. Some will allow large group bookings and the discount applies to the whole bill.

    I've recently renewed at £30 having saved significantly in the first year. I have noticed a few restaurants are no longer involved though and I'm finding it harder to take advantage when/where I want.
    Having said that I reckon I will still recoup my membership fee easily this year.

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  45. I have had a Tastecard for a year, which cost me £30. I eat out two or three times a month, sometimes as a couple sometimes with family and reckon I have saved 10x that at least. I renewed in Dec for another £30 and then between Xmas and New Year took a party of 6 to a west end, non-chain, Thai restaurant and saved £50 off the bill. Used wisely and if it matches your eating habits, it's a great investment.

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  46. Totally agree with the previous commenter- the card pays for itself, provided you have a basic understanding of social media and smartphone apps- and access to a phone. You don't even need to book at some chain eateries, such as Pizza Express any more.

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  47. There is a certain phenomenon that occurs when you use a Tastecard or similar offers. When you are ordering at a restaurant, you say to yourself 'well it's half price after all' so you tend to order more than you might have done ordinarily. In basic economic terms, if the price of something goes down, demand goes up.

    So theoretically you're "saving money" by using tastecard, but that isn't always what happens in practice.

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  48. I tried to book Hush Brasserie in Mayfair, London using my Tastecard. They declined, saying that they were busy and I would have to pay full price. (and yes, I trying on a validday etc). To be honest there have been a few cases where restaurants have tried to make you look 'cheap' for using it. By no means all though.

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  49. I have used taste card in the past (approx 3 years ago), and when I used it the service was fine. I did have a few incidents where it was not until the bill the restaurants advise I could not use it despite booking under a tastecard. But it is what it is and it makes you aware that some restaurants in franchises do not accept the card.

    However, as I was leaving the UK 2 years ago, I did not renew the subscription. But they have been continuing to take the annual subscription fee out of my account. I have now only noticed this is being charged to my account (the account is rarely used), but I am unable to get the money back (even though it was withdrawn a few days ago).

    When I was using the card I would recommend it to my mate and it was a great concept, but this has just left such bad impression, I would never recommend this rip off merchant to anyone, I am also advising them to make sure they advise their banks to block any future transaction. So BEWARE AND CHECK YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS GUYS!

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  50. Tastecard takes no responsibility for the restaurants it signs up! I have had numerous problems with trying to use the service and am now in dispute and in the process of during for breach of contract.

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    Replies
    1. I would love to discuss what you are doing and offer suggestions and support.

      But how to contact you?

      Delete
  51. I have had problems from about half of the restaurants that I have been to who refuse to eiher give the advertised discount or to refuse to give it on some dishes.

    I have complained to Tastecard about some and they have given a reply totally contrary to the facts of each case and just ignore any further emails. They are totally dishonest I am afraid !

    They also refuse to publish any reviews on their site which relate to the restaurants refusing to give the advertised discounts.

    But you can mention the problem in your reviews on the independent sites like Opentable and Trip Advisor etc.

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  52. This company should be reported. They do not make it clear to people when taking out the £1 trial, that a years subscription will be debited from your account if you do not contact them to cancel trial. This fact is hidden in their terms and conditions. I took the £1 trial and never used the card. In fact forgot I ever had it until I saw £40 had been taken from my account. Total rip off company

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    Replies
    1. Stupid People Deserve What They Get15 July 2016 at 14:35

      To Anyonymous 6th January 2016

      You must be a complete muppett. It clearly states this on the front page of the site when you sign up for the £1 card, that it will renew at this price after 3 months.. Idiots like you really hack me off as you are that thick, yet you feel hard done to when these guys havent done anything wrong and its all your own stupid fault. Stop wasting peopls time and go and play under a bus......

      Delete