Photo: DaseinDesign, Flickr
If there's one upside for foodies in this depressing economy, it's the sudden appearance of websites specializing in culinary discounts. Sites like Groupon.com, Livingsocial.com and Restaurant.com offer diners deep savings designed to bring in customers -- and users benefit.
BlackboardEats.com, launched in late 2009, has grown rapidly by following this model, offering customers a free email newsletter and website with deals at top restaurants in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. The downside? Diners living outside of those areas were out of luck. Now, though, all you need is a mailbox: A new "Everywhere" edition of BlackboardEats recently launched, specializing in online gourmet food deals discounted 30 percent or more, and everything's delivered to your door.
The system is pretty straightforward: Customers sign up (just an email, name and zip code) and get a newsletter every Wednesday. Users have 24 hours to grab a passcode, then another 48 to use it. Offerings range from artisanal foods to cookware to culinary travel destinations. But are the deals worth the hassle of mail order? So far. Two of the first discounts were for Maine lobster rolls and tails (40 percent off) and Intelligentsia Coffee (30 percent off). A deal for 40 percent off Spiegelau glassware is lined up for next week.