Chances are that the savvy family sitting at the next table is paying less for their meal than you are. Whether you opt for a family style restaurant at lunch or something a little more upscale for dinner, the following tips will work to save you money. Find out how to get the deals at your favorite chain restaurant.
Be an Investigator of Great Deals
Put your detective hat on and start sniffing out all of the little known offers, such as rock bottom prices on rotating deals, kids eat free nights, and promotional offers. Some restaurants will even offer free or almost free meals if you are willing to preview a possible new menu item and fill out a form with your comments and impressions.
Visit the chain restaurant’s website, sign up with them through social media and chat up the wait staff and managers to learn about all of the best opportunities for saving.
Get discounts on your meals when you eat at the least popular days, usually Mondays and Tuesdays, or the least popular times, such as between lunch and dinner or late night. You will be offered discounts on entrees, appetizers or drinks–or you may get some extras thrown in as a bonus. Some places will offer you discounted coupons for a repeat off-peak visit.
Since not all chain restaurants experience the same off-peak times, it is best to ask your favorite chain restaurants in advance. This information isn’t usually posted on their websites.
Eat with a Friend
Increasingly, many chain restaurants are offering two-for-one deals that include two full-sized entries and either an appetizer or desert for a low price, usually $20 to $40. Some restaurants offer family-sized platters with up to four plates for $50 or less.
If you don’t mind sharing, you can get a real deal, especially since many of these chain restaurants also offer free bread and or salad to complement the meal.
Use Those Coupons
It used to be that you could only find restaurant coupons for fast food chains, but not any more. It is now acceptable to apply coupons at almost all chain restaurants, even the ones that are upscale and pricey. You can often find coupons in coupon books (you purchase the book which gives you hundreds of coupons to use in your area) or through websites such as Groupon and Living Social.
More casual restaurants usually offer coupons in the mail, through Sunday newspaper inserts or through email when you sign up on their websites or fill out a customer card during a visit.
Joining an e-club, which involves nothing more than giving the restaurant chain your email address, usually yields plenty of coupons including high value bonus ones for signing up in the first place.
Use these strategies before your next visit, and you’ll never have to eat out without getting a deal at your favorite chain restaurants.