How to use meal deal apps to eat like a king on a student budget

Now I’m no big foodie but I know where to find a great meal deal. When I realised how expensive eating out can be, I tried my best to find the best deals, through Grabone, Groupon to First Table and now Zomato Gold. I shall now expose my little secret of meal deals.

Grabone and Groupon

Going on Grabone and Groupon is always great, but there’s usually a catch as to why these restaurants need to resort to Grabone and Groupon to get customers. However there are great places that I have tried out that have used Grabone and to my surprise, they were delicious – not to mention the slashed prices!

123 Palms Bar (Highland Park) – now the name of this place may not be particularly  exciting, but the décor and the food was really eye-opening. The restaurant and bar was very retro, with a casino, old-school jukebox and a pool table. They served hot stone grill meals, which was interesting if you have never tried them before. The food was served promptly along with two sides to choose from and a drink of soda or juice. The service was good and showed us they were more than just waiters. 

First Table

First Table was quite a new thing for me. I only started using First Table within the past two years or so as I was introduced by my friend. How it works is that, you go on their website, book an early bird table for $10 (at around 5 pm – 6 pm depending on the restaurant) and the bill will be 50% off for 2-4 people. Sounds intriguing right? Right. It’s a great way to eat a fancy meal out without needing to spend close to $200. It costs a ridiculous amount of money in Auckland to just dine out with a couple friends. There are many restaurants partnering with First Table along the Viaduct harbour, and now there are more that are popping up on the website from all around Auckland. First Table is a growing business because, well, when there’s demand, there needs to be supply right? 

Wu & You (Mt Eden) – Wu & You provides excellent service, addressing you by your name to make your experience more personal. They check up on you at appropriate times where you are not stuffing your face and appear to be genuine when asking how you were. I agree that the service really exceeded my expectations and the food was delicious. They were well-presented and the environment was very cosy and appeared to be a popular location for diners. The food served was Asian-fusion and the restaurant was very modern and aesthetically pleasing with a pink colour theme. 

Zomato Gold

Now this is a new hype. It was recently introduced not too long ago, with 10,000 people on the waitlist to get the membership. I bought an early bird 12 months membership when it was first released on the app. It was 50% off the original price and I also got a 20% off with a referral code. They have since closed off early bird prices and are now $65 for a 6-month membership. How it works is that once you purchase the membership, you are able to get 1+1 off food meaning you buy one meal and get another free OR 2+2 off drinks, by which you buy two drinks and get another two free. There are many conditions that are tied to it as well but that’s the main idea. The perk is that you won’t need to book, as you do for First Table. The con is that you will obviously need to buy the membership. 

Yakitori (Auckland CBD) – This was the first restaurant I went to for Zomato Gold, however I do not have much to say about this restaurant. The service was mediocre. The waiter came to us for our order but we had not made up our mind so we asked for a few more minutes. They did not come back and we had to wave them down. The food was decent but not for the price we have to pay for it. Portion size was rather small as well. They served mostly small dishes and you would need to get a bowl of rice to go with it. There are set meals but limited options. The environment was very humid as it was underground and there wasn’t much airflow therefore the experience wasn’t quite enjoyable. However this is only one of the many restaurants listed on Zomato Gold, some of which I have already been before without the membership. So don’t be discouraged to try it out!