Together with two other couples, we buy an "Entertainment Book" each year. Hence, when we go out to dinner with them, we use offers from the book.
Restaurants seems to have something of an ambivalent attitude to books of this nature. Sometimes they give a slightly negative impression when you produce the card or voucher to pay for the meal. This of course leads to the obvious response, at least to my mind: why do they participate in the scheme if they're not keen on it?
I might add that, in may cases, the business they obtain from us via the Entertainment Book is often solely the result of the book, as these are venues that we would otherwise not have patronised.
All these thoughts came to mind one night recently. Our group produced its cards at the end of the meal, to be met with the response that in two cases, the cards had already been used at that restaurant. How could this possibly be, we asked? But the staff were adamant - look, our number has clearly been marked off on your card. There was a bit of a stand-off, and we were about to concede, when the couple on the next table over intervened. The gentleman was very well informed about the issue. He said that the number the restaurant was quoting as being "their" number was the page number of their entry in the Entertainment Book, not the card reference number! The restaurant was sceptical: no, they said, our number has changed! But then, lo and behold, the gentleman went to his car, produced the book, and the result was total vindication. Somewhat sheepishly, the restaurant retracted and we got our discount in full. However, the fact that the issue arose and the attitude displayed left a taste in our mouths that was only partly offset by little plate of chocolates produced by way of apology (which we shared with the adjoining table!).
To complete the story, the food was great. However, that will be the subject of a separate comment on a restaurant review website.