Save money when eating out
Save money when eating out
Eating out is a luxury that most of us enjoy from time to time, although it can sometimes prove expensive. Here are 10 simple tips that could slash the cost of a restaurant meal.
21. Click and print restaurant vouchers Many restaurants offer online promotional vouchers. For example, Pizza Express regularly runs 2-for-1 deals on main courses. Check newspapers for vouchers regularly and make sure you visit websites, such as VoucherCodes, HotUKDeals and MyVoucherCodes, to check for discounts and deals before you go out. It can be worth checking daily-deals websites, such as Groupon and Wowcher, for restaurant deals too.
22. Book your night out online Websites such as Opentable, Lastminute and 5pm specialise in 2-for-1 deals, 50% off offers and promotions where wine may be included with your meal. You can search for the deals that are currently available in your area, then book a table at your chosen restaurant. When you arrive at your dinner destination, you'll simply need to remind your server that you booked through a special deal online.
23. Sign up for chain restaurant discounts Joining some chain restaurants' own clubs can save you a lot of money. These tend to be free to sign up to via email, and are run by large chains such as Chez Gerard, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, La Tasca, Pizza Express and Wagamama. Once you're on a company's mailing list, you'll get details of special deals sent straight to your inbox as soon as they are launched.
24. Enjoy lunch in London If you're in London, try eating out at lunchtime instead of in the evening. There are great bargains to be had at some of the country's best restaurants. A set lunch at the Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester can be £60 a head, including three courses, wine and coffee. Other top eateries that offer cut-price lunchtime menus include Wild Honey and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Always call ahead to check special offers are still available.
25. Eat out 'off-peak' If you're flexible, you can eat at some great restaurants quite cheaply. For example, many offer a pre- or post-theatre menu that is cheaper than what's on offer during peak hours.
26. Join a dining club Become a member of a loyalty scheme and save up to 50% at participating restaurants. Tastecard costs £79.99 a year and is accepted at more than 6,600 restaurants. Annual membership of The Gourmet Society is £69.99 and can be used at more than 7,000 restaurants.
27. Bring your own bottle There's a raft of restaurants around the country that allow you to bring your own bottle (BYOB) to have with your meal, and going to one could save you a tidy sum. A typical bottle of house wine costs around £15, whereas you could pick up an equivalent one from a supermarket for around £5. See the online BYOB directory on the Wine-pages website for a list of BYOB restaurants. Some charge a corkage fee of around £2, so check before you go.
28. Don't buy expensive bottled water Establishments that serve alcohol are now required by law to give customers free tap water, so don't be shy about asking for it. Some restaurants charge more than £3.50 for a bottle of mineral water, so twice-monthly diners could save almost £100 a year by switching to tap.
29. Remember your doggy bag There should be no stigma attached to taking home leftover food. You paid for it, so why waste it? People commonly over-order in restaurants, so it makes sense to ask for a doggy bag and take your leftovers home. This will save you money on lunch the following day.
30. Be social If you regularly eat at a particular chain or have a favourite restaurant, then sign up to its Facebook or Twitter account. That way, you won't miss out on any special offers or deals.