Americans spend a lot of money on food. In fact, it’s the No. 1 way we end up wasting our money. That includes eating out at restaurants, which can be much more expensive than eating at home or preparing your own meals. But the reason we eat out, in many cases, is to get out of the house and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor. We want variety, flavor, and skill — not another bowl of ramen or frozen pizza.
Most of us realize restaurants will employ a number of methods and strategies to get us to spend more. It’s in their best interest, of course, to make the biggest profit off of each customer. You can’t really blame them for that, but that doesn’t mean you need to remain blissfully unaware you’re being taken for a ride.
It goes far beyond simply charging you more for food, too. You might see an item on a menu at a fancy restaurant and think, “I could make that at home for a fraction of the price.” And you might be right. But you came to a restaurant for a change of pace, and it’s probably not the time to get into a hypothetical price war in your head. Instead, you can look for a few things that might help you save some money in the end.
Quid Corner, a U.K.-based loan lender, recently published an infographic by NeoMam Studios that dives into 11 specific ways restaurants are trying to get you to spend more. Some might come as a surprise, while others will seem obvious to a seasoned diner. No matter your level of experience at fancy and quaint restaurants alike, you’re bound to find a way to save some money on your next meal.
The first trick? It’s all about thinking outside of the “box.”