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Restaurant Discovery Voucher - Activity Superstore
We were given this rather generous gift by my sister and brother in law for Christmas last year. It came in a smart looking box with a whole lot of information explaining about how to get the voucher and what it offered so it looked like a nice gift rather than some vouchers that come as a credit card or even a piece of paper in a card.
I understand that these gift experiences are sold in many different places like Smiths and other high street shops as well as on line. I had always looked at these boxes offering gift experiences in Smiths but they were always rather expensive as not one was less than £50 which is a pretty generous gift in my view.
On line these are often options for using reward vouchers and once again I have looked but thought they seemed very expensive so I have never purchased one on line. The site is pretty user friendly and there is plenty of choice but I am not sure that having experienced this gift, i would ever purchase one.
WHAT THE VOUCHER OFFERED
The promotion blurb that came with our gift box said :
"With a wide selection of restaurants including AA Rosette winners, this is the perfect gift for all food lovers. You will enjoy a delicious menu of dishes specially selected to give you an all round experience of a cuisine or cooking style. You can choose to try something completely new, sample a modern twist on an old favourite or just enjoy a delicious meal out together.
You will either be served signature dishes that represent the character of the restaurant or a tantalising set tasting menu of around five to six courses per person, depending on which venue is chosen. Each taster menu serving will usually be a smaller size portion to enable you to enjoy more courses. The dishes will be served in succession so you are able to take your time appreciating the different flavours."
When we opened this we were delighted as we love taster menus and thought this would be a great chance to try a new restaurant. They said there were restaurants all over the country so there should be plenty of choice.
We had to send off some part of the voucher to an address and they then sent us back a code which we could use to access the site to book our experience.
We couldn't find where the restaurants were listed so had to email the company to find out the list of restaurants that were offering this experience. This is when the fun started. There were only two restaurant local to us, one in Burton Upon Trent, and one in Matlock and neither of these looked that great and on trip Advisor and similar sites they both had poor to average reviews. So much for the exciting taster menus experience we thought and put the voucher to one side for a few months.
A month or so later we were going down to London to stay with my daughter who lives in Wandsworth so we looked on the list to see if there were any restaurants down there that appealed. There were two in Wandsworth, one a curry restaurant and the other a pizza place so not exactly my idea of a taster menu experience so we didn't bother with those either as we never have any problem finding somewhere good and different when staying down with my daughter.
Attempt number three was when we spent a few days up in Rothbury in Northumberland and there was an Italian place in Rothbury that accepted the voucher so we booked to go there telling them we had one of these 'Restaurant experience vouchers'.
When we finally got to this restaurant and showed them our voucher the lad explained that they don't do a taster menu as such, you just get £50 off the bill. So this voucher is a real con. Okay we got a nice enough meal but possibly not one we would have chosen had we not had to limit our selection of restaurant to one of only eighty in the entire country.
In my opinion this is a racket as the voucher is NOT what it claims to be. £50 is a really generous gift I think and it should be something special not just a voucher for £50 off you bill in an average sort of place. I think that the restaurants involved in the scheme are taking part in order to get custom, a bit like those taking part in Groupon and the like. The difference with Groupon is that you can see what you are buying before you pay, so you know if it is an Indian, a Chinese, an Italian or whatever type of food . With this voucher the choice is severely limited depending on where you live, a choice of two places near us was very limited especially as neither one was very good. According to reviews on line
The restaurants we looked up were not award winning and we certainly were not brought signature dishes or indeed treated to anything other than the standard menu. If this was sold as a restaurant voucher for £50 off the meal then fine but they should NOT 'Big it up' saying that it would be an experience and once again i quote from their claim:
"You will either be served signature dishes that represent the character of the restaurant or a tantalising set tasting menu of around five to six courses per person, depending on which venue is chosen."
We experienced neither of these options, just the normal menu and got £50 off our meal which was fine but not what we were told we would be getting.
So I would never ever buy this experience and I would think very carefully about any other experience voucher purchase. We might have been unlucky with ours but it has certainly tainted my view of these.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.