What You Should, and Should Not Do, to Save Money at Restaurants

Posted on: 30 November 2016

You may enjoy dining out often, but you may not enjoy the tab at the end of the meal. If so, there are some things you can do to save money at restaurants, and a few things you should avoid doing; note a few of those suggestions here.

1. Do use their coupons

Restaurants may actually like it when you use their coupons, because then they know which coupons are working to bring in customers and which may be a waste of money to produce and print. Be sure you read the fine print of any coupon so you know it won't be refused because of not applying on a certain day or for a certain dish.

2. Do ask about all their specials

Restaurants may be running drink specials at a certain time or a certain day, or may have specials on meals that aren't readily advertised. One reason for this is that they may put something on sale on a moment's notice because certain items didn't sell as quickly as they assumed; they may have steaks or fish that are getting near their expiration date, so they need to sell them or toss them out! Don't go by what you see on signage alone but ask outright if there are any specials that day.

3. Don't make your own food and drinks

It's a common practice of some restaurant-goers to ask for lemons, sugar, and water, and then make their own lemonade, or to try to sneak in food in a handbag. Unless you have special dietary needs, this is very unethical and may cause you to actually be asked to leave the restaurant! Use those coupons, have an appetizer at home, or plan on dessert at home after the meal, rather than trying to prepare foods and drinks on your own once you arrive.

4. Don't take it out on the wait staff

Never try to save on your bill by reducing the amount you tip a wait staff, and remember that their tip should be based on the total of your bill before any coupons and other reductions. You may even want to add in something extra if they needed to work especially hard for you; if you had more people in the party, ordered lots of extra items, or if the wait staff was especially nice to your children or patient with you overall. Their tip has nothing to do with the amount of money you pay for your bill but with their own work, so don't try to save money at their expense.