By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Ever notice how Koreans get discounts in restaurants and stores? It doesn’t seem fair that Koreans get all these discounts, while foreigners, who also live here, have to pay in full all the time.
Here comes Eat*-A-One, the first neighborhood card that offers discounts to dozens of international restaurants in Itaewon. American Bill Swisshelm is the man behind Eat*-A-One, the name itself which is meant to sound similar to Itaewon.
``I had been living in Itaewon for a long time, almost 9 years and had seen an incredible explosion of international restaurants over the years. I also thought that foreigners don't usually know how to use Korean discount cards. So, I thought that the card could be a benefit for the restaurants, the customers, and for the neighborhood in general,'' he told The Korea Times.
A one year membership at Eat*-A-One costs only 25,000 won. A cardholder can get discounts of up to 10 percent from around 30 restaurants, shops and even dance studios.
Depending on how often you use the card, Swisshelm said the cardholder can save between 300,000 won to 500,000 won a year.
Swisshelm said he tries to carefully choose the member merchants for Eat*-A-One. ``New merchants are chosen by the uniqueness, quality, and authenticity of their food, service and product,'' he said.
Gold member merchants such as Chakraa, Italonia, La Casa Loca, Pharoah's restaurant, Toque Diner, Namaste restaurant and Saigon Grill offer 10 percent discount. On the other hand, silver member merchants, such as Santorini, Smokey Saloon, Flying Pan and Taco Amigo, offer either a discount or a regular benefit, like a free drink. However, discounts only apply to the cardholder and a guest.
There are also discounts at other Itaewon shops such as at the dance studio You Can Dance, Well-Being Shop and the English bookstore What The Book.
Swisshelm said foreigners, as well as Koreans who enjoy international cuisine, would appreciate the benefits of the Eat*-A-One card. In the future, he wants to include more Korean restaurants and cultural places as member merchants.
For more information, check out www.eataone.com.