Omnivore - VillageVines relaunches as Savored.com

Website combines online reservations with savings

If you still just hate just picking up the phone and calling a restaurant to make a reservation, or if you're really obsessed with the Groupon/LivingSocial/etc. online deal sites, you're in luck. The restaurant world has a new Web site dedicated to making online reservations and saving diners a little money, too (well, after they spend a little money that is).

Last month, VilliageVines relaunched as Savored.com. The name is an improvement in itself - all I think of when I hear VillageVines is that little pink whale that frat boys wear on their bow ties - but the website made a few other adjustments as well. It now features restaurants from 10 U.S. cities and has partnered with Zagat, so all Savored members get to see the Zagat reviews for every restaurant.

But mostly, the point of the site is the same. Users sign up to be a member (that part is free) and browse through restaurants in their area. Once they find one they want, they pay $10 to make a reservation online. That $10 gets them 30 percent off their meal (food and drink) at the restaurant. It's a pretty good deal, since Savored targets fancier restaurants that make it easy to earn back that $10 and then some. But if the 30 percent discount doesn't save diners at least $10, Savored will reimburse the fee.

How does the site do it? It works, basically, the same way as hotels.com:

“If a hotel has an empty room, they put it on Hotels.com at a lower price,” said the site co-founder, Ben McKean. “If a restaurant has an empty table, they put it on our Web site and offer 30 percent off.”

So you might not find the exact restaurant you want at the exact date and time you want, since availability on Savored goes by how busy the restaurants are. But the site is easy to use and aesthetically pleasing, and a good way to save money at a nice restaurant. Looks like Open Table has some competition.