The next time you think about going to your favorite restaurant, consider a few tricks that will save you cash in the long run. These include enquiring about loyalty cards, pinpointing special events, using reward cards and splitting meals amongst friends and relatives. Also, don't be afraid to approach the staff about the terms of promotional offers and dining deals.
Get Restaurant Coupons
Restaurant coupons can save you money on your food budget, especially if you seize the one-off deals that offer significant discounts. I've always found that Restaurant.com and Groupon.com offer interesting coupons you can use for local dining deals. For example, Restaurant.com says it can get you the best deal for every meal. The way the site works, you find a restaurant, choose your deal, then you dine and save. Groupon.com also offers a similar pitch, promising you the best deal ever. To take advantage of food coupons on the site, click on the "Food & Drink" tab, choose the cuisine you want-say, vegetarian-and select your favorite meal and deal among the several promotional offers that are displayed. Both of these sites also have dining apps that make deals available on the go.
Request Gift Cards
Some restaurants offer gift cards to customers who dine frequently and spend a substantial amount of money at their facilities. It never hurts to ask the waiter or restaurant manager to go over your options. Also peruse sites like Restaurant.com and Amazon.com for companies selling discounted gift cards in your area.
Seek Discount Moments
Within the restaurant industry, you can find discount moments and special promotions aplenty. The most common include family pricing, children's specials, late night, happy hour, birthday and wedding anniversaries.
Family Pricing – A restaurant that offers family pricing generally requires there to be at least four people present in the party. If that's the case, it's worth it to dine in a large group. The requirement for what qualifies as a "family" is typically flexible, so don't worry about bringing someone who's not directly related to you.
Children Specials – Some eateries have events for kids that provide free or reduced priced meals. Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities if you have children.
Late Nights and Happy Hours – You can get good prices if you dine late at night or during happy hour (typically between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.) Ask the manager of your favorite restaurant more about the terms and pricing conditions for late nights and happy hours.
Birthdays and Wedding Anniversaries (And Everything Else in Between) – Most restaurants relish the fantastic business opportunities that promotions, birthdays and wedding anniversaries bring to their facilities. Not only do the restaurants make more money in part to the increased number of clients, but they also view the celebration as an effective way to promote their brand. All of the above factors, and many more, would justify the restaurant manager's willingness to offer you an attractive pricing package for your special events.
Use Your Rewards Card
Reward credit cards are a great way to save money dining out. You can charge the tab on your card, which automatically accumulates rewards points you can redeem in cash or can apply towards other purchases. Call your credit card company to learn more about its rewards program, how to enroll in such a program, and whether you can upgrade your existing card automatically. Visit this resource for more information about rewards credit cards you can use at restaurants.
Divvy Up the Food – If You Can
Split the meal if you need to. Some restaurants have portion sizes that are so big, authorities and other public-health observers question their impact on the nation's obesity rates. Truth be told, restaurants and other food industry players make more money by selling more food – that is, you guessed it, bigger portion sizes. You don't have to eat everything served; if you are by yourself, you can ask the waiter to kindly pack the remaining food so you can finish it at home.
Saving money while dining comes down to being picky, that is, methodically choosing the kind of meal you want to eat. Some restaurants offer heavily discounted meals later in the day. The same meal could cost you half as much if you go during lunch time, compared to the evening. To get more information, make a list of your favorite restaurants, call each restaurant's manager, and ask about the eatery's promotional policies and the best time to reap substantial discounts.
Another way to reduce your restaurant tab is to request tap water instead of bottled. Note that you have to be proactive and ask for tap water, because the waiter may not necessarily provide it to you as a first choice.
Saving money while dining out should not be a daunting exercise if you plan ahead, make the right decisions and use available online tools. Don't forget to also talk to the staff at your favorite eateries to learn more about discount opportunities and special savings programs.