SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — It’s 12:30 on a Wednesday afternoon, and Chaya is overflowing with diners. But most diners don’t realize the same reservation the day before would have saved them 30 percent.

Chaya is one of a growing number of restaurants offering its guests discounts based on the time and day of their reservation.

“They gonna have to go out anyway so if they change their time a little bit an hour and a half earlier or an hour and a half later, then they can get up to 30 percent discount or more,” said Chaya manager Jonathan Giraudel.

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According to Giraudel, approximately ten to 15 percent of their reservations are new customers dining with a discount. They’re not necessarily during off peak hours. Depending on the day, diners can save 15 percent on lunch reservations at 12:00 and 12:30, and 30 percent on dinner reservations between 6:00 and 10:00 in the evening.

Giraudel suggests calling the restaurant directly to book the best discount based on your schedule. Websites such as allow restaurant goers to make discounted reservations at hundreds of restaurants in ten major cities. OpenTable has a similar program with bonus points that can be used as cash.

“It really fits right in with the consumer mentality of the day which is the hunt for the bargain,” said consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow. From high-end retailers to restaurants, discounts no longer tarnish an image.

Yarrow warns if you’re not careful, those discounts can cost you. “Because when people get a discount they tend to actually spend more,” she said.

One Chaya patron echoed that very message, claiming it might motivate them to purchase a more expensive dish.

While Giraudel admits that’s often the case, it’s also kind of the point of discounts.

“They’re gonna get a much better experience for the same amount of money that they would have spent at a restaurant that’s not as fine dining,” Giraudel said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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