Ways to save on eating out
- Which? reveals 10 top tips that could cut the cost of eating out
- Find out how to get discounts and deals at your favourite restaurants
- Discover how to enjoy eating at a top London restaurant for less
10 ways to save on eating out
Here are 10 simple tips that could slash the cost of a meal out.
1. 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 www.vouchercodes.co.uk, www.hotukdeals.com and www.myvouchercodes.co.uk to check for discounts and deals before you go out.
2. Book your night out online
Websites such as www.toptable.co.uk, www.lastminute.com and www.5pm.co.uk 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 in advance. When you arrive at your dinner destination, you'll simply need to remind your server that you booked through a special deal online.
3. 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 La Tasca, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Pizza Express, Chez Gerard 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.
4. Enjoy lunch in London for less
If you happen to be 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 Gordon Ramsay’s Claridges restaurant is £30 a head, while dinner could set you back £80 a head. Other top eateries that offer bargain lunchtime menus include Wild Honey and Ristorante Semplice. Check The Good Food Guide for details, and always make sure you call ahead to check special offers are still available.
5. 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 that on offer during peak hours.
6. Join a dining club
Become a member of a loyalty scheme such as The Gourmet Society, and save up to 50% at restaurants that are part of the organisation. Annual membership is £44.95 and can be used at over 4,500 eateries.
7. Get the Good Food Guide
The Good Food Guide not only features more than 1,200 restaurant reviews - it could also save you money when you eat out. The latest edition contains £50 worth of money-off vouchers, and is available now.
8. 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 a decent one from a supermarket for around £5. See the Wine Pages directory for a list of BYOB restaurants. Some charge a corkage fee of around £2, so check before you go.
9. 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! With some restaurants charging more than £3.50 for a bottle of mineral water, twice-monthly diners could save almost £100 a year by switching to tap.
10. Don't forget 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 could save you money on lunch the following day.