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Top 10 Free Restaurant Apps for Finding Food and Drink Deals

By Paula Kerrigan, dealnews Staff Writer

The clocks have sprung forward, and it's time to start your spring cleaning. But don't stop with sweeping up the dustbunnies from under the furniture. Consider a digital spring cleaning, too. Purge your unused smartphone apps (I found a Japanese drumming app installed on my iPod touch ... WTH?) and free up space for new ones that could potentially also save you money — particularly if you're a foodie or night owl who likes to go out. Declutter your phone, and take a look at our list of the top 10 apps for finding restaurant coupons and deals in your locale. The best news? They're all free! Armed with these apps, you'll be able to afford to eat out without heating up cans of beans for breakfast the next day!

1. Blackboard Eats
Available for Los Angeles, New York, San Franscisco, and Chicago residents, Blackboard Eats (or BBE) helps you find local restaurants and usually scores you between 10% and 30% off your meal. You can read reviews of the restaurant, view available deals, and purchase deals through the app. You'll receive a BBE passcode by email, which you'll use to make your reservations, whether online, by phone, or in person. The best bit? The app is run by former staff members of Gourmet magazine, so the focus is on delicious deals at high-caliber restaurants.
Free Downloads: iPhone / iPad, Android

2. Scoutmob
The recently-updated Scoutmob app is similar to BlackBoard Eats, although it services a vast number of cities including Austin, Boston, Washington DC, and more. Just download the app and browse participating restaurants who offer 10% to 50% off. You'll enjoy savings at cafes, dessert shops, cantinas, bars, and everywhere in between. Unlike BBE though, you need to actually be at the location to access the deal, which you show your server to activate. There are also "Return Perk" deals for customers who return to the same location more than once, and you can learn of any upcoming events in your area, such as film screenings, pub quizzes, and happy hours.
Free Downloads: iPhone / iPad, Android, BlackBerry

3. Foursquare
There are a lot of ways to use the well-known Foursquare app. Primarily, it lets you "check in" to restaurants in your area via your device's location services. Once you've checked in you occasionally "unlock" coupons for specific merchants. The savings with this app are usually modest, but sometimes you do get a pretty good deal, like a free entree or dessert. By checking in on Foursquare you allow other friends to know where you are, plus you can read and add user reviews and recommendations. There are several ways to search for the kind of establishment you're looking for, through food, coffee, nightlife, and more. You can also access friends' lists of their favorite spots and trending locations.
Free Downloads: iPhone / iPad, Android, BlackBerry

4. Jump Tonight
Jump Tonight is a fun, location-based app, which provides an alphabetical list of the restaurants in your area. The great thing about Jump Tonight is that you're able to view upcoming deals a full week out. So on Wednesday, you can plan to meet friends at a nearby Happy Hour on Friday as well as grab a 2-for-1 special at a coffee shop on Sunday. As with the previously mentioned apps, you can see your friends' favorite hangouts, but there's also a "Plans" function to keep track of all your social appointments.
Free Downloads: iPhone / iPad

5. Yelp
Like the popular website, the Yelp app features a variety of restaurant listings that are user-reviewed. Although this app is more purposeful for selecting a specific restaurant, there are occasionally coupons to be had, and users share the deals that they've received. The real value of this app, however, is in the platform's search ability, which ingeniously narrows down exactly the kind of cuisine, atmosphere, and price range you want.
Free Downloads: iPhone / iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7

6. Night Out
Plan your night from start to finish with the Night Out app. You'll receive real-time updates about restaurant specials, happy hours, and other promotions in your area. And the discounts can be significant, as we found savings of up to 50% off. The app is available for eight cities including Chicago, New York, and Denver. While many apps only let you view current deals, Night Out let's you also check your favorite locations to see what deals they plan to offer in the future, even if nothing is currently going on. Some of the promotions are exclusive to this app, and you'll need to buy them through Night Out, then show the voucher via your mobile device to your server to redeem the deal.
Free Downloads: iPhone / iPad, Android

7. Drink Specials
Although this app is a little overdue for an update, Drink Specials still offers a comprehensive list of (you guessed it!) drink specials in your area. Plus, it features bars around the world, so it's a handy app to have on your mobile device if you ever find yourself washed up on a beach in Jamaica. (Hey, It could happen... ) The app uses your device's GPS to find deals near where you're standing/sitting/about to pass out. An example of some of the deals we found: 25-cent boneless buffalo wings and 2-for-1 drinks after 10 pm at our local watering hole. The only downside is that this app tends to crash frequently, so we're not sure how easy it would be to operate towards the end of a night spent imbibing.
Free Downloads: iPhone / iPad

8. Around Campus
If you live in a student town, the handy Around Campus app will help you find great food and drink deals. (As long as you don't mind donning a pair of sneakers and university sweatshirt to get them!) Simply enter the name of the school in your area and you'll instantly see a list of restaurants, bars, and cafes offering vouchers or coupons, for discounts and deals such as free beverages or 50% off on your birthday. Once you find a coupon you like you can choose to print it, save it to your device, or share it with your friends on the social networking platform of your choice. This app services most of the colleges and universities in the U.S.
Free Downloads: iPhone / iPad, Android

9. OpenTable
The OpenTable app functions as an instant reservation-maker. Plus you'll earn "Dining Rewards Points," which you can redeem for "Dining Cheques" and use at an OpenTable restaurant. Another handy function this app has is its ability to email friends to invite them to dine with you — letting you share the location and reservation time so that everyone's on the same page. Search restaurants throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as across the pond in the UK. The app was just updated on March 8, so you can be sure the information is up-to-date.
Free Downloads: iPhone / iPad, Android

10. dealnews
Of course, you should always have our very own dealnews app on your mobile device. Our app is ideal for national restaurant coupons as well as aggregated local deals from the likes of Groupon, Living Social, and more. The dealnews mobile app lets you browse deals whenever you feel like it, or, if you choose, set up alerts for your deals from your favorite haunts. Some of the promotions we've listed recently include a 16-oz. Jamba Juice smoothie for just $2, as well as $10 off two entrées at Outback Steakhouse.
Free Downloads: iPhone / iPad, Android

Don't fall for the old adage, "you have to spend money to make money." Thanks to these free apps, it literally costs you nothing to save money on your restaurant bill — which we know you will put to better use later.

Front page photo credit: 123RF

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Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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Leloca is also a free app that helps you find restaurants
near you. Leloca is a NYC based app that not only finds popular restaurants
near your current location, but thse restaurants are offering discounts
(usually 30-50% off) on meals! Perfect for someone with a budget but who still
loves good food. Check out more at
Leloca is also a free app that helps you find restaurants
near you. Furthermore, the NYC-based app features popular restaurants near your
current location that are offering instant discounts (usually 30-50% off) on
meals. Perfect for someone with a budget but who still loves good food. Check it
Thanks Paula! Wanted to let you know about a new deal app, Leloca. Its free to download for iPhone and Android and it instantly connects people with restaurants near their immediate location offering discounts of 30-50% off dining, to be redeemed right away. There is no upfront purchase or coupon voucher, you just secure the deal, download the barcode and go to the restaurant to eat and save! Check it out, l]
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