Recently, I couldn’t help notice that the price of eating out keeps going up. The average dinner for two at a chain restaurant such as O’Charley’s, Applebee’s or The Olive Garden hovers around $30-$40 depending on what time you go. With this in mind, I have tried to take advantage of coupons and savings.
Applebee’s- if you want to take advantage of their happy hour prices then you will be dining very late. You used to get discounted drinks and appetizers during happy hour. Now, you only get CERTAIN appetizers discounted 8-10pm. The same salsa and chips you get free at the Mexican restaurant is one of your discounted appetizers.
Burger King- puts out booklets of coupons with one meal being free if you buy a similar meal. Current survey has BK in front of McDonalds as far as flavor.
Groupons are a good deal. I have never had anyone refuse one at a restaurant. Usually they are for about half off the normal price. Sometimes they are for a set meal.
KFC-I noticed that you get less chicken pieces in a bucket for what looks like a savings. They are good about honoring coupons they print in the paper. Used one recently for buy one meal, get one free.
La Hacienda (Mexican Restaurant)-offers you phone coupons on your smart phone. Warning no one in the restaurant is aware how to type it in yet. Instead of getting 20% off our $40 dinner as the coupon stated. We receive $4 off.
Logans-in your Sunday coupon section, you find Logan coupons for about 25% off your meal or buy dinner, get one free on certain days. They do honor these coupons. (This may seem like a no brainer, but if you read on you find out not everyone honors their coupons.)
Paneras-remember when using your Panera’s card resulted in rewards? As a frequent customer, I can’t remember the last time I receive anything for using my card. The company has definitely cut back on this policy. The prices have sneaked up too. A recent lunch for one person was nine dollars and some change.
Restaurant.com- using restaurant coupons from restaurant.com is still a good deal, but pay attention to restaurant requirements. Individual restaurants put requirements on the use. One local restaurant would only allow us to use it on a Sunday morning and if only 4-6 people were in the party. Our coupon was never used.
Subway is notorious for not honoring their coupons. Their reason is that stores are individually owned and each owner decides. Ask first, if you're unsure. Still, it is hard to beat a foot long sub for $6 that can easily be two meals.
Many restaurants offer daily deals too. The Irish pub, Claddagh, offers buy one, get one free Fish and Chips on Mondays.
You might be up for an extra discount too. I remember when my son joined the National Guard; he asked everywhere he went if they had a military discount. Most restaurants do. They have senior prices too. A few even honor AAA memberships. Listen for special advertisements. Sometimes the special at Red Lobster, really is the best deal on the menu.
Eating out is never a bargain, but you can always try for the best deal. Remember to tip your server because that is part of your expense too.