Tips

Save Money on Your Next Dinner Out by Outsmarting These Sneaky Restaurant Tricks

by Rose Marie Walano 3:00 AM, February 8, 2018

Aired February 8, 2018

Looking to save a little dough on your next dinner out?

Friends, you have come to the right place!

Our buddy, chef and restaurateur David Burke swung by and spilled one of the restaurant world's biggest secrets — that there is indeed a method to the way menus are laid out.

And spoiler alert: The method involves getting you to spend the most money possible -- and feel good about it!

But WE want you to save, which is why we had David break down every sneaky little part of the average menu for you, so you're never fooled!

(PS: The buffet is carefully laid out to maximize profit, too. More on that in #4).

MORE: The Best Restaurants Across the Country for Date Night
 


1) SPOT "THE ANCHOR" ITEM
You know that one item on the menu that has a ridiculously high price, making everything else look reasonable in comparison? (Hint: It’s often a steak!) That's the "anchor." That, David says, it how some restaurants get away with selling you a $23 burger. Once you see the anchor, everything else looks like a steal!

2) GET YOUR MONEY’S WORTH BY SKIPPING THE CHEAP SIDES
Potatoes and pasta can be made in bulk for $5, but a small dish is often marked at $5 — wild! It may sound counterintuitive, but that's why Rach says, if you're going to eat out, order something you wouldn't — or can't — make at home. That makes it worth your hard-earned cash!

MORE: 8 Mouthwatering Entrees to Make for a Romantic Dinner

3) DON’T ORDER THE SECOND CHEAPEST BOTTLE OF WINE
David says that the cheapest wine often tastes better than the 2nd cheapest wine, but restaurants know no one wants to look "cheap" buying it. But guess what? That 2nd cheapest bottle is usually comparable to the first -- the restaurant may just have excess of it -- so they mark it up and give it that “2nd” spot, knowing that’ll help get it out the door.

So, according to David, go ahead, order the cheapie -- odds are, it won’t taste that different!

4) IF YOU'RE AT A BUFFET, GO THE DISTANCE
The lower cost foods are always placed at the head of the buffet, and restaurants hope you'll load up on them. (They'll even put out bigger serving spoons!) Our advice? Take a full lap before you start scooping, that way you don't miss out on the good stuff!