How to save when eating out

Eating out regularly is an expensive habit. But we don’t advocate missing out on all the fun. Here are our tips on how to save money at any restaurant.

Watch the mineral water.
Make sure you drink tap water, or watch how often the waiter re-fills your glass and replaces the bottle.

Look out for specials and loyalty programmes.
Most restaurants run seasonal specials. Take a look at our Restaurant deals for a list of specials running in your area. And look out for restaurant groups such as Primi Piatti, who run a loyalty programme which provides membership discounts.

Coupons and Daily Deals.
Even the fanciest restaurants are now offering group deals. Take a look here for some local deals, or sign up to a daily deals site in your area for updates on specials.

Bring your own bottle of wine.
Even with a corkage fee, this should come in cheaper.

Snack before leaving home.
If you arrive ravenous, you’re bound to over-order.

Order big plates to share.
This often works out cheaper, and you get to taste a little of everything.

Skip dessert.
If you’re craving something sweet, pick up a chocolate on the way home.

Watch the booze.
The more you drink, the less you care about how much you’re spending, and the more likely you are to drink and eat more.

Compare prices online.
Research prices before booking. There are plenty of fantastic restaurants that don’t over charge. It’s worth doing a little research to find them.

Know menu, have budget.
Look up the menu of the restaurant before you go. Choose your meal, and commit to your budget. If you have a tendency to overspend, take the exact amount of cash required for your portion of the bill. And don’t cheat by bringing your credit card along!

Go out for breakfast or lunch.
If you’re keen to eat out but are running low on cash, meet for lunch or breakfast instead it usually works out cheaper than dinner.

Go local.
There are tons of local, ethnic restaurants with fantastic food, despite the fact that they may not have the fancy decor or comprehensive wine list of the more upmarket restaurants. In Johannesburg, try Derrick Ave in Cyrildene for a variety of excellent Chinese and Thai restaurants.

Remember prices change and new deals pop up all the time. To keep up to date with the latest savings, subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.