In Part 1, I gave you some e-clubs that stood out for their coupons and free menu items, and I’m sure there’s many more. Just spend an evening on your computer and see what you come up with. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
If you’re “mature”, look for your senior citizen discount, if you haven’t started taking advantage of this already. Many of them start at the age of 55. And, as soon as you walk into a restaurant, look for signs or a chalkboard that advertize daily specials or limited-time-only promotions. Sometimes even the tables themselves will tell you about their specials – at Governor’s, every table has a monthly calendar telling you what deals will be offered when. During holidays, especially Christmas, many offer great deals on gift cards, giving the buyer a free gift card for themselves when buying one for a gift. Quite a nifty idea, And very important, take advantage of word of mouth. You can’t possibly know about every good deal, like wings for less at Buffalo Wild Wings, or a promotion at any of the casino buffets – watch the Isle of Capri in Bettendorf. They often offer a $4.00 or $5.00 lunch one day a week. Often, the best restaurant deals I’ve had have come from friends or co-workers.
Look through the Sunday paper sale ads – there’s often sheets of coupons for local fast food restaurants. The best seems to be for Steak ‘N Shake. Their menu is cheap and great anyway, and a coupon on top of it makes it even better. If you receive the Monthly Valu-Pak, don’t just throw it away unopened. There’s always one coupon at least – this weekend I’m eating at Steve’s Belgrade on a coupon found in my most recent Valu-Pak.
If you get the Dispatch or Quad City Times, flip through it for coupons, promotions, and early-bird specials. I usually see 3 to 4 ads every day, one of which I might be interested in. Keep an eye on TV ads – there’s always commercials for something good and a value, Red Lobster in particular. And look through the free magazines at the front of grocery stores, especially River City’s Reader. They not only offer restaurant coupons inside, but put out their Dining Guide, which is also a big help. Many schools, churches and organizations sell the Dining Club books to raise money, and while they can cost $25.00 and up, it doesn’t take long to pay off your original investment.
I hope these two reviews have given you some good ideas on how to save when eating out. With an adventurous spirit and a little time and effort, you can never pay full price for a meal.