We want to help our clients use their money wisely. A visit to a restaurant can be a welcome break, but not if it keeps you in debt. Be aware of these tricks restaurants use to part you from your money:
- All-you-can-eat. While some patrons come out ahead, most restaurant customers spend more than the value they’re receiving. Some items you want might be unavailable on the buffet. You’ll want something to drink and you may want dessert. If you’re going for the all-you-can-eat deal, try to limit your other purchases. Better yet, ask yourself if it would be less expensive to order something from the menu.
- If you’ve ever visited the same restaurant on a regular basis, you might have noticed an item on “special” that costs more than the normal price. Specials are often used to promote high-profit items or to push food that’s about to expire. Ignore the word “special” and ask yourself if you would order it otherwise.
- Salty snacks. Have you ever noticed how bars offer free pretzels, chips, popcorn, or peanuts? Those cheap, salty snacks will keep you drinking, which results in big profits for the restaurant. Stay away from the salty snacks and drink water. Even though sodas often come with free refills, the first glass can be expensive.
- Your server is trained to upsell you at every opportunity. Whether it’s an appetizer, salad, dessert, or extra cheese, you’ll be offered the chance to spend more money. Servers are happy to do it, especially considering that they’re looking for a bigger tip. Have a budget and stick to it. Appetizers are usually unnecessary. Also, most restaurants provide large enough portions that you can pass on dessert.
Restaurants are like any other business. They want to make as much money as possible. While dining out can be a good time, it’s important to be financially responsible. Stick with your dining budget and don’t spend more than planned. Your waistline will thank you, too!