Eating at restaurants is a great experience from nearly every point of view: you don’t need to spend hours cooking a dinner for the family, you can try lots of different dishes and cuisines, and you can meet with your loved ones over a meal without having to organize a dinner party. However, eating out has one significant disadvantage – the expenses that come with fine dining. Luckily, dining out doesn’t have to be expensive. Here is how to eat out on a budget.
Choose the right time
The busiest hours at restaurants are evenings and weekends, and if the restaurant has a flexible pricing policy, the busiest hours will always be the most expensive ones. Plus, many restaurants try to encourage visitors to come in during lunch hours by offering discounts and other perks to guests who come in between 12:00 and 15:00, which means you can get the same experience and try the same fantastic meals for considerably lower prices than during the evenings.
Follow your favourite restaurants
Most restaurants and cafes today have an online presence – for example, a Facebook or Instagram account, as well as a website with a mailing list. By following the accounts or signing up for the mailing list you will never miss a special offer or discount again. Moreover, if you’re a frequent customer and a member of the mailing list, the restaurant can present you with some personal offers based on what you order and how often you come. So, if you really like one particular restaurant, keep in touch with it online and get the most out of your dining experience while saving money.
How to order drinks
Not many casual restaurant goers know this, but drinks make up a large part of the restaurant’s profit. Even seemingly cheap drinks like tea or soda cost much more at a restaurant than they do at a grocery store, not to mention the outrageous prices for alcohol. Opting for simple bottled or tap water can help you save a large chunk of money without missing out on the food. This trick is especially useful when you’re just having a lunch by yourself or with your friends, and not an important meeting or date.
Get a takeout
A great way to enjoy a restaurant meal without any additional expenses is to order your meal to go. First, you get to save money on tips, which often make up a huge part of your dining budget. Second, by ordering a takeout, you can skip on the drinks, desserts, and appetizers, which are usually a must-have part of a dining experience and cost a lot. Additionally, a date that consists of a takeout meal and a movie at home can be just as romantic and memorable as an evening at a fine restaurant.
Eat out on special occasions
In order to attract more customers, a lot of restaurants have special offers for people celebrating their birthdays – usually it’s a huge discount on the food or drinks, or a free dessert. By taking your family out to a restaurant whenever it’s someone’s birthday you not only get to save cash on dining, but can also hold a wonderful birthday party without any effort. The larger your family is, the more often you can take advantage of the birthday offers!