It’s no secret that eating out can be expensive. Restaurants make money by charging each dish for labor and profit, so it’s always way cheaper to eat at home.
However, dining out is an experience in itself so it will be a pity if you’ll completely stop doing so to save money. This is especially true when there are good techniques for enjoying fine dining at a fast food budget.
How can you do this? Here are five ways that you might want to try soon:
Lunch out instead.
Nearly all restaurants are busier during dinner because it’s when people have the time to go out. There’s hardly a crowd in most of these establishments during lunch hours, especially during the weekdays. As a result, eateries charge less for their lunch menu to attract more diners to drop by in the middle of their day.
This makes it an excellent time for those who are very frugal to dine out. Lunch specials can go as low as half the price of dinner items so you can certainly save a few bucks while enjoying a high-quality meal through this technique.
Dine out as a group.
Experts also recommend eating out with friends if you want to sample different dishes from a specific restaurant without paying for everything. This will let you order family style and sample various dishes and only pay for one or two at the end of the meal.
Order smaller portions or share (if the restaurant allows it).
Most of the time, you won’t even get to finish the whole serving restaurants provide. This can make you feel like you’ve wasted a good amount of food and money. So if it’s allowed by the restaurant, it might be best to just split one dish if you’re eating with someone else. This will work really well if you usually order appetizers as well.
If this isn’t allowed, a lot of restaurants will let you scale down your order. You might be able to order a half serving to save a few bucks and ensure that you won’t have leftovers.
If this is still not allowed, you can also opt to just have the leftovers packed in a doggie bag for you to take home. You won’t necessarily save money but at least you won’t be wasting food this way.
Take advantage of promotions.
While this isn’t exactly the case for high-end restaurants, a lot of good dining establishments run a lot of promotions that will let you save money or even eat for free. Be on the lookout for birthday, holiday, anniversary, and special event promotions. You might also benefit from getting their loyalty cards or subscribing to their newsletters as they tend to give out free stuff using such methods as well.
Check out other dining options that offer similar quality ingredients and culinary expertise.
If the only thing you’re after from a fine dining restaurant is the quality of their food, you can also turn to other eateries that do the same. Casual and fast-casual restaurants, as well as food trucks, can also be great options for amazing food at a good price.
Get your food to go.
If you’re just hankering for a specific dish but don’t want to spend a fortune by eating at your favorite restaurant, getting it to go and eating the food at home can be a great way to save some cash. This will let you just get one item without a fuss.
Most restaurants accept phoned in orders for pick up or you can also use online ordering and delivery services to get a good restaurant food at your doorstep. So if you feel like eating something nice but are too lazy to step out, you can enjoy something else other than your usual Panda Express delivery.
Don’t order a drink.
Drinks are some of the biggest money makers of restaurants because they’re marked up nicely without the diner having to do much to prepare it. So if you really want to spend less when you eat out, skip the sugary beverage and just ask for tap water as they’re usually served without a charge.
By this, we mean ordering something you can’t make cheaply at home. Again, food at restaurants costs way more than how you can make it at home. So if you can make it at home, even if the taste isn’t the same, it might still not be well worth the markup.
This is why experts recommend that you get something special if you’re going to eat at a pricey place. While this tip may not necessarily help you save a few bucks but it will make the money you spend worth every penny.
Dining out on a budget is completely possible if you know how to get it done. It doesn’t matter if you want to eat at a Cracker Barrel or at a Grand Lux location, as these tricks are sure to work every time.