A Server Shares 10 Tips on Saving at Restaurants
The place to save money at a restaurant is NOT to skip a tip! I’ve put together a few hints to help save money and still enjoy a break from cooking.
1. Order waters. Servers want you to order alcohol because it brings the check up so much. Most restaurants even require servers to make a specific beverage suggestion when greeting the table. Why would you want to order a bottle of wine at a restaurant anyway? Save some money and buy one on the way home. Enjoy it with your hunny in the privacy of your own home…
Even soda costs $2.50 at the restaurant I work at. Do the math for this:
1 soda= $2.50, with tax= $2.68, with 20% tip= $3.21
$3.21 for one soda for one person! If you were with a few people, you may as well have an appetizer to share.
2. Speaking of appetizers, skip them. No restaurant will leave you feeling hungry without one. And never never order an appetizer when there is free bread or salsa.
3. If you really want an appetizer, order it as your meal. They cost less than a typical entree and are big enough to satisfy.
4. Servers are always appalled by the amount of food they throw away, and never do we see so much waste as children’s meals. Young children can share from an adults plate. A few children can share an adult-size entree. Servers really don’t mind. We hate cleaning up after mac-and-cheese anyway.
5. Share a meal. Some places charge for this, others just require you to buy a salad. It’s a good option if you’re with someone who likes the same thing.
6. My boyfriend and I never like the same thing. He almost always orders a burger, and I avoid red meat. In any case, look into lunch portions. Some places allow you to order from the lunch menu even at dinner time. Just ask your server, they will be happy to help.
7. Take home leftovers. You know that feeling that you’ve ate too much? Don’t. Save it for lunch tomorrow. (And anyone saving money knows to pack your lunch every day!)
8. Skip dessert, or share it. Have you every finished a meal and thought, “Wow, I’m hungry for more?” Probably not. If it’s just something sweet you’re craving, pick up a can of whip cream on the way home. Enjoy with the wine from Tip #1.
9. Check out restaurant’s websites before you go out. You can usually check out the menu and any specials they may have. You can also look at prices and plan ahead. Many places have coupons for you to print out as well. Take advantage of these.
10. I’ve got to say it… Don’t go out to eat! And don’t think that you are saving money by getting fast food instead. That really adds up. If you love eating at places that require a fork, then save your money for this. When you say yes to fast food you are saying no to fork-eating places.
PLEASE remember to tip your servers… and words don’t count. Don’t tell us we did a great job and then leave 10%. Servers cringe when you gush about the great service. We call that a “verbal tip.” We know that you plan to leave a small tip and feel guilty. Tip well, and tip on the amount before discounts and coupons. I could say more, but that would be a whole new post about the difference between thrifty and stingy…
BTW: You want to be thrifty.