Eating out can be expensive if you’re not careful. Whether you’re dining at an upscale restaurant or your local chain, you can save money if you follow certain tips.
Here are some of the biggest mistakes to avoid when eating out.
The House Always Wins
Restaurants earn a serious amount of their profits on alcohol consumption, which is why even low-end restaurants have a lengthy selection of spirits and cocktails. Before you try that $23 bottle of pinot noir, though, consider sipping on its house brand counterpart.
Many restaurants sell a house red and white that offer a comparable taste to the more expensive brands. Usually, the quality isn’t inferior to the specialty label, and you’ll enjoy a nice meal while saving about half the cost. Reserve the pricier brand names for special occasions; for a regular night out, the house red will work with most meals.
Skip the Specials
Is your local chain offering a two-for-$20 special or other promotion? Check the deal closely before choosing the so-called bargain. You may not like the options available on the restricted menu, and in some cases, a special is only a special by name. Priced individually, you might pay just as much to order the items separately.
Sometimes, restaurants do offer good deals for pairing certain entrees and appetizers together, but you might be surprised by how often this isn’t a good deal.
Grocery stores offer promotions all the time on bulk items that really don’t save you any money because you’re paying more for items you don’t need. Likewise, restaurants may try to bundle their meals in a way that’s less economical, and you end up with food you only kind of wanted. Instead, read through the menu and make smart decisions about food you actually want to eat. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
Be Careful What You Pay For
The popularity of coupon sites makes it easy to snag a great deal for a local restaurant. However, some of these coupons come with serious strings. You may end up paying more than you would have or saving only a few dollars. If you pay $25 for a coupon that lets you order $50 of food, you might think you’re saving half of the cost. In reality, the coupon could require that you spend at least $50 on the meal, excluding beverages or alcohol. It may also exclude certain holidays or special events.
Pay close attention to the fine print of online restaurant coupons to make sure you’re getting a good deal before you buy it. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck paying for things you didn’t want or be out $25 for no reason.
Forced Gratuity? No Thanks
You’ve seen it before in restaurants: Practically every restaurant menu comes marked with a disclaimer that they charge a certain percentage of gratuity for parties larger than six. In fairness to the restaurant, they want to make sure that their wait staff recuperates a fair tip from large parties. Because large parties require more maintenance, they feel entitled to a forced gratuity. What you may not know is that you have the right to refuse this forced gratuity.
Simply request that you be charged individually for your items and be allowed to pay a tip as you see fit. Forcing a gratuity assumes that you won’t tip well, and you’re being charged an additional fee on top of your bill that you didn’t approve. Stand up for your rights; just be sure to tip well for good service.
Sebastian Webb is born in New York, being the only child he get all the parents attention. Everything they have, they invested in him and his future. Now, he is a successful man, writer, who likes hiking, photography but the thing he loves the most is to travel and get familiar with other cultures. In this article he wanted to help you by letting you know your right when you go out to eat. Sometimes it can be very expensive to take your other half or colleagues out for a dinner. but with these tips you can cut your losses and not lose on quality of restaurant.