Enjoying a great meal in restaurants is one of the best ways to relax and have fun and there are around 15 million restaurants in the world to help you with that.
Whether you’re settling down for some fine dining or picking up some cheap and cheerful fast food, there are tips and tricks that you can use to your advantage. They’ll make your dining experience all the more enjoyable, and many will save you money while you’re at it!
If you think that you’re not getting your money’s worth, not finding the best items on the menu or not finding the healthiest dishes at restaurants, then this is the slideshow for you!
Eating is such a primal, simple activity. But as you’ll see, there’s a lot of nuances when it comes to buying something that is so basic!
Most Restaurant Specials Are A Waste Of Money
The specials board sure can look appetizing, but there are a few reasons to give it a miss if you’re not in a restaurant with a stellar reputation. 1. In the average restaurant, specials are made up of leftover ingredients being upsold in an attempt for the managers to get rid of them before they go bad. 2. The chefs will be better at cooking the food that they cook every day.
Get A Space With No Reservation With A Present
Some restaurants are highly in demand. If you want to get a table on a day when there are supposedly none, you could always try giving the manager a gift to bribe your way in. Perfumes, alcoholic beverages, even chocolate bars can mean that you get a space in the best place in town!
The Second Least Expensive Wine Is Often The Worst
Restaurants know that most people will order the least expensive wine on the menu. Therefore, they ensure that it is good wine that is both affordable but high quality. That means that the second least expensive wine is often the worst and should be avoided!
Ask For The Check When You’re Making Your Final Order
If you are pressed for time and you know when you’re making your last order, also request the bill. It’ll cut up to 10 to 20 minutes off of the waiting that you have to do.
If Your Restaurant Specializes In Non-Pasta Based Dishes, Don’t Order Pasta
Pasta dishes can have a low value for money in a restaurant that is not known for their pasta. Order a chicken entree without pasta to get your money’s worth!
Wine By The Glass Is A Rip Off
How many times have you ordered just one glass of wine, but then decided on another? In many restaurants, it would have been cheaper to order the whole bottle than two wines! Even if you do end up drinking conservatively, you can keep the wine that you don’t drink for home!
Bring Something That Will Make Unstable Tables Secure
Sometimes, a restaurant can have friendly waitstaff, a nice ambiance and great food for it all to be ruined by a wobbly table! To avoid this, bring something that you can use to keep the table in place, like some placemats or even a slim book.
In A New Sushi Bar? Order One Piece Of Sashimi As A Starter
Sushi is one food where you never want to skimp on the quality of the ingredients! If you’re unsure about the quality of the sushi bar that you’re in, just order one piece of sashimi as a starter, and that will let you judge whether or not you should order more.
Phone In Ahead And Ask Questions Only Reviewers Ask
You may not be a food critic, but the restaurant doesn’t have to know that. If you’re booking a table, just a few questions will make the managers think that you could be a reviewer. Asking about the history of the restaurant, what dishes they’re most proud of and why and what makes them unique will do the trick. It could lead to the best service of your life!
Ensure The Bathrooms Are Clean Before You Order
Sometimes, you may wonder if a restaurant really deserves an A grade. There’s an easy way to assess it. Before you order your food, go into a restaurant’s bathroom. If it is clean, then you know that the kitchen probably will be as well.
Get Free Food By Taking Surveys
Many chain restaurants reward people who take their surveys. Some places, like Panda Express, will give you a free entree just for answering a set of questions online.
Copy A Signature Sandwich To Make It Cheaper
Restaurants like Subway sell some sandwiches with a fancy name to get people to buy them. But sometimes, it’s cheaper to make the same sandwich by adding all the different ingredients together. For instance, a double steak and cheese sandwich at Subway costs less than a Philly Cheesesteak, but it’s the same thing! Always work this out beforehand!
At Drive-Throughs, Always Order The Largest Water You Can
Water is free, will come with cooling ice and will be there when you next need it. That means that ordering water at a drive-through can save time on your journey, as you won’t have to stop for it later. If you’ve got a long drive, you will probably want water at some point, even if it isn’t when you’re getting food.
Look For Kids Eat Free Days To Save Money
Restaurant bills can add up drastically when you have children with you. But there are many restaurants where kids eat for free on a certain day of the week. Make sure that that’s the day when you take the kids with you! It’s even better if you don’t actually tell your children about the savings. They’ll think you’re treating them instead of saving money.
Hungry On Halloween? Wear Your Costume To Krispy Kreme Or Chipotle
Some restaurants give free food to costumed customers on Halloween. Krispy Kreme and Chipotle are two of those. Just remember, wearing a scary costume to a restaurant on any other day of the year will only lead to you getting kicked out for scaring the children.
Download Restaurant Apps For Free Food And Discounts
If you download the McDonalds app, you can often get free french fries! Many other chain restaurants have apps like this that offer free food and discounts!
Ask For Unsalted Fries – They’ll Definitely Be Fresh
Most places that sell french fries salt them for a couple of reasons. Most people think that the main reason is that it makes them tastier. But salt is a preservative, meaning that it makes fries last longer. Therefore, sometimes the fries aren’t fresh. But if you request them without salt, they’ll have to give you fresher fries! You can always add your own salt after the fries arrive.
Some IHOPs Let Kids Eat Free Every Day After 4 pm
Now that IHOP is pushing itself as a burger bar, it’s more normal than ever to enjoy a dinner there. The really great thing though is that many IHOPs let kids eat for free every day of the week after 4 pm. That means that IHOP could become cheaper than going to the grocery store! And is there any kid who would object to having an IHOP diet from now until they turn 18?
Want To Stay At A Restaurant For A While After You Eat? Eat At The Bar
Restaurateurs are always keen to get people out of chairs after they finish their meal. But there’s no such rush at a restaurant’s bar. You can still order food to the bar, so it’s exactly the same, but you can go at your own pace!
Get Lunch From 2 pm Onwards
We all love lunch specials. But if you go at 2 pm, you’ll also be able to take advantage of early bird specials!
Ask The Waiter If You Can Keep Hold Of The Menu
After you order, waiters tend to take the menus away. But what if your first beer wasn’t to your taste? You need to see the rest of the selection. You could also decide to order a side when your entree gets there if it’s too small. These are just two of the many reasons why you should try to hang on to at least one menu for the table.
Try The Food Before Adding Anything To It
If you add salt to a dish that’s already salted, what do you get? An over salted meal. That’s not the chef’s fault. It’s yours. And avoiding this is a simple as trying the food before you add any extra ingredients.
Want Your McDonalds To Taste Different? Ask For Fries And Big Mac Sauce
The sauce that Mcdonalds adds to Big Macs can be added to just about any item. If you want that taste on something other than a burger, then go for it!
Get A Grilled Cheese Sandwich For 49 Cents
You may think that most fast food places don’t do grilled cheese sandwiches. But just because they aren’t on the menu doesn’t mean that you can’t get one. If you ask for cheese on a bun and ask them to heat it, you can get a grilled cheese sandwich. The cost of this delicious meal can be as low as 49 cents.
Want Your Taco Shells To Stay Crunchy? Order Them On The Side
If you order something with some taco shells on the side, then every single one of the shells will stay crunchy until you fill them yourself!
Want A Burrito Filled With Meat For No Extra Cost? Ask For It Without Rice Or Beans. What Else Can They Fill It With?
This trick will work in chain restaurants like Taco Bell. In independent restaurants, this is just a rude thing to do.
When Ordering A Breakfast Sandwich From A Fast Food Restaurant, Order The Eggs Slightly Differently To How They’re Usually Done
If you want a fresher egg, ask for the sandwich but request that the egg is sunny side up/over easy/something different to how it usually is. The egg will be fresher than the ones that they use for the standard sandwiches.
Always Ask For Light Or No Ice In A Non-Refill Soda/Iced Coffee
If a place offers free refills on soda/iced coffee, then have all the ice you want. But if every cup costs the same, then get a drink with either light ice or no ice. They’re literally watering down your drink!
Ask The Waiter What They Think The Best Item Is
Most waiters will get to eat at their restaurant for free and are usually clued up on the best dishes. If you’re stuck, just ask the waiter.
Look Up The Menu Before Getting To The Restaurant
If you’re trying to stick to a diet, then that can go out of the window if you go into the restaurant not knowing what to order. Sure, you’re supposed to stick to the salad, but you’re on the spot, and the burger looks great!
Eat Some Popcorn Before Arriving
If you really don’t want to fill up on too much unhealthy food, then you can always eat a low-calorie snack, like popcorn, an hour or so before getting to the restaurant. Just try to ensure that you don’t eat too much of the snack beforehand!
In A Nice Restaurant, Ask How A Meal Is Cooked
Sometimes, it’s not always easy to tell if a meal has been fried (or even deep fried!) These dishes are almost always more unhealthy. Therefore, you can ask for clarity. Your waistline will thank you!
Ask For Sauces To Be On The Side
Sometimes, the sauce is smothered over your entree. This adds unnecessary calories (and it may be saucier than you like it.) Get around this by asking for the sauce to be on the side before ordering.
Order A Soup Before The Mains To Eat Less
This Pennsylvania State University study shows that people consume 20% fewer calories if they have soup before their mains. That’s because it fills the stomach up!
Track Your Calorie Intake Before An Evening Meal
If you’re really strict about dieting, then eating a large evening restaurant meal can seem like falling at the final hurdle. But if you track your daily calories intake before getting to the restaurant, you’re more likely to know what kind of meal you can have. Knowledge is power after all!
Imagine The Dollar Signs When There Are None On The Menu
Many restaurants use a psychological trick of omitting dollar signs on a menu to make customers think about the expense less. Just remember that 49.99 is actually them really saying $50.
Look At The Bottom Left Hand Of The Menu To See The Real Deals
Menus are organized so that people notice the most profitable items first. But in the bottom left hand corner, where people tend to focus on the least, there is often a hidden gold mine of great food for a reasonable price.
Skip The Start Of A Buffet
All you can eat buffets are designed to make people eat the most low cost food. That means that the cheapest items are at the front. They’ve done this in the hope that people will fill their plates with these items and ignore the higher cost stuff later on. Skip this low quality, low cost stuff!
If You Know You’re In A Huge Portion Place, Order With A Mind On Reusing Leftovers
Places like diners have a huge set menu. They expect that you’ll take the leftovers home! In that case, you should try to think about what you could make with the leftovers instead of just what you’re going to enjoy right now.
Order An Appetizer, And For The Mains, Another Appetizer!
Two appetizers can sometimes be cheaper than one entree (or more healthy.) There’s nothing to stop you from ordering two and having one as the substitute main.
Some Casinos Offer Free Food
Even if you absolutely despise gambling, a casino can be a great place to dine. That’s because many have free restaurants to entice people inside. If you’re confident of your ability to resist the urge to gamble, then a casino could actually save you money!
Sign Up As A Mystery Shopper
A casino restaurant may be free, but there’s a way to actually make money while dining out. Sign up as a mystery shopper, and companies will reimburse your meal and pay you for your insights. The pay may be small, but money for eating nice food? Yes, please!
Follow Your Favorite Restaurants On Social Media
Many restaurants post updates about special offers. If you follow them on social media, you’re more likely to see a great offer!
In A Non-Familiar City? Ask The Locals!
If you’re visiting a new city or country, then you don’t know what’s the best place to go. You may not even recognize a chain when you see one. For example, in Britain, there’s a chain pub called Wetherspoons that looks authentic but where all the food is microwaved. Ask locals where to eat and what to avoid!
If It’s Someone’s Birthday, Make Sure The Restaurant Knows
Many chain restaurants offer free portions on a customer’s birthday. But independent restaurants can do this too if you seem like you’re not asking for it. Singing Happy Birthday to someone will get the restaurant manager’s attention. They may offer a free drink or dessert to make it special!
Now that you know these tips and tricks, you’ll never dine out the same way again. Enjoy the gained money, lost weight and more enjoyable experiences!
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