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Earn rewards for supporting local restaurants

Fallbrook restaurants are now giving food away to new and returning patrons; all it takes is a few “punches” to get it.

The Fallbrook Area Visitors Bureau (FAVB) has teamed up with ten Fallbrook area restaurants to create Dine Around, a restaurant dining rewards program, as a way to stimulate Fallbrook locals to dine locally, as well as entice people from surrounding neighborhoods to try these restaurants.

“[We wanted] to put together a program of some kind that would promote our member restaurants – and it couldn’t be any form of discount program,” said Linda Kissam, executive director of the Visitors Bureau. “So we decided to do a rewards program.”

After a series of meetings with restaurant owners to figure out what the best strategy might be to bring in diners, participating restaurants came up with the idea to reward diners with gift certificates, and Pala Mesa and Pala Casino came up with the idea to offer a grand prize.

The program started November 1 and Dine Around participants can now request a rewards card at participating restaurants or at the Visitors Bureau. They must then visit six different participating restaurants in the plan, within six months, and spend a minimum of $25 at each place in order to get a “punch” on the rewards card for that visit.

Once the card has been punched six times, participants can go to the Visitors Bureau office and receive a gift certificate to one of the participating restaurants for a minimum of $25.

As an added bonus, a grand prize drawing for a ‘stay and play’ package from either Pala Casino & Resort or Pala Mesa Golf Resort will be given away at the end of the six-month period to one of the diners who filled out a restaurant survey when they redeemed their rewards card.

“We’ve been getting lots of calls, e-mails and walk-ins asking for cards and more information,” said Kissam, who believes the program is already a success. “Many of our restaurants have already run through their initial allotment of rewards cards. We will be doing a second run of cards after only one week.”

Faro Trupiano, who owns Trupiano’s Bistro on Main and is one of the participating restaurants, says that while he has only punched a few cards in a few days, he “can sense the buzz” of people talking about the new program.

“Restaurants have gotten to the point where they will try something new to bring in more business,” said Trupiano, “and I don’t think [the Dine Around program] is unreasonable for a restaurant to join.”

Whether to bring in new faces or revive longtime but absent patrons, restaurant owners joined the program for a variety of reasons. Kissam senses restaurant owners wanted a program “to remind everyone that Fallbrook has a wide range of amazing dining opportunities,” so it isn’t necessary to drive out of town to get a great meal at a fair price.

“What was required was a ‘greater vision’ from each of our participants,” said Kissam. “Each restaurant promotes the other and together we all prosper. What could be better than having new people visit your restaurant and be given the opportunity to wow them?”

The participating restaurants each offer different dining styles, from bistro-style food to casual cuisine to high-end dining. The Dine Around rewards program will run until April 30. Participating restaurants include:

• Aqua Terra Restaurant (Pala Mesa)

• Brother’s Bistro

• Café de Artistes

• El Jardin Mexican Restaurant

• Garden Center Café

• La Caseta Mexican Restaurant

• Le Bistro

• Rio Rico Restaurant and Café

• The Oak Room (Pala Casino)

• Trupiano’s Italian Bistro

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