Dining out can be expensive. Even if you choose a relatively cheap place to eat at, you might still find yourself shelling out a good deal of money on the bill afterwards. Especially if you’re with big eaters, you’ll easily experience some bill shock for so many reasons. This is why, if you’re dining out on a budget, you should always consider three things: quality of food, size of serving, and the price of the menu items. This way, you’ll be more conscious in what to order and where to go.
Going to the right kind of restaurant will also help you get more out of your budget. By choosing to a place with huge servings for low prices, you don’t have to worry about your big eaters and your budget. Where to start looking? Here are three kinds of restaurants that you should check out.
Buffets are the best places if you want to eat a lot on a budget as there are tons of affordable all-you-can-eat restaurants out there. There are some that charge as little as $10 per head like Souplantation (aka Sweet Tomatoes in regions outside California), Golden Corral, and Old Country Buffet just to name a few.
However, buffets will only give you great value for your money if you know how to take good advantage of it. To do that, here are some tips you should keep in mind.
- Never starve yourself before heading to the restaurant. Some people like to skip meals before they go to an all-you-can-eat diner thinking that the hungrier they are, the more they can eat. This isn’t the case, though, as doing this can shrink your stomach and make you eat less. Have a light meal before you hit the buffet instead and just skip snacking before your big meal so you’ll be ready for it.
- Stake out the spread before putting stuff on your plate. This way you can plan and chow accordingly.
- Target the seafood. If you’re a fan of seafood, it’s best to eat more of them (if they look and smell fresh) as they’re the pricier options in the spread. You can easily consume your money’s worth with just a few of these things.
- Skip the soda. These drinks will only make you feel fuller, so avoid them. Besides, they’re often not included in the buffet price, so even if they’re bottomless, you really won’t be getting the value of your money from them.
2. Family Friendly Restaurants
Family-friendly restaurants typically offer homestyle meals that are meant for sharing. They also typically come with friendly prices so they can attract bigger groups. If you’re going to eat a lot in these restaurants, you’ll still have to plan accordingly as your bill can still balloon in a jiffy.
If you want to get the most out of these restaurants, there are also a few tricks that you can try out like the following:
- Read reviews. Doing a bit of research about where to eat with the whole family might seem a bit ridiculous, but if you want to get the most out of your budget, this is a must. Look for places that offer huge servings, especially if you’re feeding quite a few people. It’s also a plus if they serve tasty dishes, so everyone will go home happy and full.
- Look for vouchers, discounts, promos, or coupons. A lot of restaurants offer special prices from time to time, so make sure to look for them if you want to stretch your budget a bit.
3. Fast Food Chains
A lot of fast food chains can also be great options for feeding a large group of people as they offer really affordable meals. They also have group meals that will give you better value for your money designed for different sizes of groups. However, as not all fast food chains are created equally, some will give you bang for your buck, while others will leave you wanting for more.
How do you make sure that you get great value for your money when dining with a large group at a fast food chain? Here are some tips:
- Be wise about the servings. Sometimes a group meal has a smaller saving than ordering separate items for the same amount.
- Getting drinks doesn’t always mean that you’re cutting costs. Sometimes the drinks come at such negligible prices that not getting them would be a waste. However, upsizing is an entirely different thing and should be tackled with care. Sometimes, doing this will only cost more money unnecessarily, so you should just skip it altogether.
- Look for vouchers, coupons, and other discounts. Some fast food chains also offer occasional promotions that will let you get freebies or discounts on your meals. Take advantage of these offers and you’ll surely enjoy a hefty meal for a whole lot less.