Whether you work from home or not, it’s a common habit to eat at restaurants. Often, people do this because they don’t have the time to make their own food. And even those that do sometimes just prefer the feeling of eating food made by someone else.
In any case, one thing everybody can agree on is that eating out costs money. And if one is not careful, this can drain one’s cash reserve.
So, what can you do to ensure you don’t run your pockets dry just because of your feeding preference? Let’s find out.
Nine ways to eat out without eating into your pocket
1. Find restaurant gift cards below their face value
Restaurant gift cards are certificates that allow you to eat at your favourite restaurant at a fraction of the cost. If you want to save on dining costs, this is an excellent option to consider.
That said, you should know that buying restaurant gift cards isn’t just about putting your money on every certificate you come across. It’s about taking your time to find those cards that come for less than their face value. For instance, if a card to your favourite Chinese restaurant is originally sold for $100, you want to find a platform where the same card goes for, say, $25. This is how you save costs.
Naturally, you’ll find opportunities like these if you frequent popular media or hospitality websites. Alternatively, you can simply search for the phrase, ‘buy restaurant gift card near me’ on Google.
2. Never pass the chance to ask for a discount
Did you know some restaurants offer discounts to certain kinds of people? I remember when I was in college; I always got meals for half the prices anytime I walked into cafés with my ID card hanging around my neck.
At the restaurant you visit, there may be provision for seniors, children, teenagers, pregnant people, members of the force, students, corporate workers, etc. The only way to find out is to ask.
You don’t have to feel awkward about it. It’s your right to know whether there is any sort of provision for the status you represent. And if they say so, then so be it.
3. Never feel compelled to eat there
Ok, so you’ve walked into that big seafood restaurant across town and asked for discounts, but they claim they don’t offer such. What do you do next? Dip into your pockets and just blow your hard-earned cash?
Of course, not. You have the right to step out from there and go check out another restaurant. Since you don’t owe them anything, you don’t have to feel compelled to eat there.
4. Join their email list
If there is one thing we should be grateful to the internet for, it’s that it’s opened many doors that weren’t even there before.
Nowadays, everybody wants people on their mailing list, and that includes restaurants. As you sift through restaurants on the internet, you’ll find many offering discounts, coupon codes, free meals, amongst other things. All these they do to encourage people to sign up. To also benefit from these wonderful offers, you simply have to look up your favorite restaurants on the internet and then subscribe to their mailing list or newsletter. Naturally, these perks will come with the Subscribe Now button.
5. You don’t always have to tip the waiter/waitress
I know it’s a common belief that we have to drop a little something for the guy who serves us every time we eat out. Yes, that’s true, but only if you’re truly OK to do that.
In case you’re feeling awkward about eating at a restaurant and then not tipping the server, feel free to buy a takeout. At least, that way you won’t have to sit around for somebody to serve you.
6. Watch what you eat
At the end of the day, the things you order determine how much you end up paying. If you’re looking to minimise cost, making wise menu choices becomes inevitable.
In other words, you have to watch the type of food you order and the quantity, too.
As soon as you walk in and get a glimpse of their menu, find affordable combinations that won’t stretch your budget. Also, instead of ordering soft or alcoholic drinks, you may want to opt for water instead. At most restaurants, water is often free. Meaning you won’t have to add the price of drink to your bill.
7. Hunt for promo deals on social media
Again, as with the mailing list, many restaurants nowadays are promoting their brands on social media. If you’re looking for meals that won’t stretch your budget, leveraging restaurant promo deals on social media can be a good way to go.
You can find out about these deals on the pages of local influencers. Alternatively, you can simply look up the restaurant handle on the platform. Or, in a case where you’re searching randomly (with no restaurant in mind), you can search using city-specific, restaurant-relevant hashtags.
8. Visit on National days
Although this won’t help you save costs every day, it’s still worth a shot because it saves you on specific days.
Depending on the city, state, or country where you live, you can always find free dining days like the National Ice Cream Day or the National Chicken Wing Day.
On these days, restaurants usually offer customers a host of freebies, including free appetisers, entrees, or desserts. Check with your favourite restaurant to see what they’re offering on the day.
9. Complete tasks online
Some restaurants often invite customers to take quizzes or participate in online surveys. These tasks are intended to gather relevant information from diners and also to reward customer loyalty.
If you’ve dined at a restaurant before, participating in these sorts of tasks may be the best way to get more food for your buck.
You can check the restaurant website or simply look them up on social media to find out about these programs.