Connoisseurs and foodies alike love to eat out. Here’s how they make it a little more affordable.
1. Find your meal ticket
Entertainment books filled with coupons, such as those sold by youth groups and schools, can offer great value if you like to eat out. They often feature two-for-one specials on entrees, free appetizers, or a percentage off the bill.
Silent auctions held by schools or theatre and music groups can offer bargains as well, allowing you to bid on restaurant gift certificates and other entertainment options.
2. Get the tourist deal
Pop into the visitor’s bureau for a book of coupons designed to lure tourists. It offers special prices on local attractions and restaurants.
3. Put students to work
Chef or hospitality schools often operate their own hotels and restaurants, staffed by the students and open to the public. You’ll get great food — after all, the students are being marked on their performance.
Call ahead for reservations, many students invite their friends and spaces fill up fast.
4. A pre-theatre treat
Some theatres arrange special deals on dining with nearby restaurants for subscribers or ticket holders. Take advantage of the deal.
5. Free water
When you order still water with your meal, order a glass or carafe of tap water, rather than bottled water. For a very slight taste difference, you will save the cost of the bottled water that’s not only expensive in stores, but carries a high markup in most restaurants.
6. Wine while you dine
Don’t order by the glass: if two or more of you are drinking a few glasses of wine it can work out about 20% cheaper to order by the bottle.
Unless you spot a wine you know, opt for one from the same region as the restaurant’s cuisine. These will likely have been chosen with more discernment.
Discuss the choice with the sommelier or waiter. Ask for their recommendation within your price bracket.
If in doubt, pay a few dollars more for wine, then skip the coffee.
We all need a meal out every once and awhile. With these suggestions, you can get a smaller bill and still have a full tummy.