15 Tips From Restaurant Employees To Help Save Money And Enjoy Better Food

sources: TripAdvisor / BYU

Eating out at restaurants is one of my favorite pastimes. I love trying new restaurants and new types of food while enjoying quality time with friends and family. If you, too, like to eat out, check out these 15 genius tips that will help you save money at restaurants and enjoy the experience more.

1. Kids-Eat-Free Days

source: Financially Alert / Lifestyle Frisco

If you have kids, research which restaurants in your area offer kids-eat-free days. Not only does this teach children how to properly behave in a restaurant setting, but it will also shave quite a bit of money off your bill.

2. Be Wary Of Pasta

source: NOW Magazine

Unless you’re dining at an Italian restaurant or some place known for their pasta, don’t order it. Pasta is one of the cheapest dishes to make, and you’re likely being severely overcharged if you order it from a restaurant that’s not known for their pasta dishes.

3. Restaurant Apps

source: ICR / Medium

If you frequent big restaurant chains, check to see if they have an app. By downloading the app to your smartphone, you’ll likely receive free food and discounted meal coupons.

4. Sit At The Bar

source: Booking.com

If you’re looking to eat at a busy restaurant with a quick turnover, eat at the bar instead of a table. When you sit at the bar, you can still order food, but the servers won’t be in such a rush to get you out of there.

5. Chat Up The Server

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If you’re at a restaurant and are unsure of what to order, ask the server what their favorite menu items are. Servers are generally required to try everything on the menu, so they know what’s great and what’s so-so.

6. Order Appetizers

source: TripAdvisor

Oftentimes, you’ll get more food for a lesser price when you order two or three appetizers than if you were to order one entree (or even an app and an entree).

7. Free Dessert

source: Gluten Free NB

If it’s someone in your dining party’s birthday, make sure you tell the server! Many restaurants will bring them a free dessert.

8. Mystery Shoppers

source: Southern Fatty

Want to make a bit of extra cash while eating out for free? Sign up to be a mystery shopper! Mystery shoppers work for companies to conduct quality control on restaurant food and service without the employees knowing.

9. Bypass The Start Of Buffets

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Most buffets are designed to showcase the cheapest, most filling foods first. They do this in the hopes that people will fill up on this cheaper food, leaving more of the expensive stuff and subsequently costing them less money. If you go to a buffet, bypass the dishes at the start and head right to the middle.

10. IHOP Deals

source: Hawaii Mom Blog

With IHOP rebranding into more of a lunch and dinner chain, many IHOPS let kids eat free after 4 pm every day of the week. If there’s an IHOP in your area, check to see if they offer this deal!

11. Wine By The Glass

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Most of the time, ordering wine by the glass is a bad idea for your wallet. Ordering a reasonably priced bottle of wine is usually the more economical option, as many restaurants will let you cork the bottle and bring it home if you don’t finish it.

12. Avoid Daily Specials

source: Max’s Seafood Cafe

Unless you’re in a high-end restaurant, you probably shouldn’t order the daily specials. These specials are generally made up of ingredients the kitchen is trying to get rid of, so they won’t be as good or as fresh as other menu items.

13. Take Surveys

source: Karras Hotel Laganas / Depositphotos

Many restaurant chains will have online surveys on their websites. By taking these surveys, you can sometimes be given a free meal or a discount at the very least.

14. Ask For The Bill

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If you’re in a rush, always ask for the bill when you order your last menu item. Since servers are often busy with other tables and patrons, asking for the bill early can get you out of the restaurant 15 to 20 minutes earlier.

15. Observe The Washrooms

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The easiest way to judge the cleanliness of a restaurant and its kitchen? Take a look at the washrooms. If they’re clean, you can be confident the rest of the restaurant is, too. If they’re in a bad state, don’t even bother eating there.