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Budget-Friendly Bites: How to Use Dining Offers and Coupons That Make Eating Out More Affordable?

Budget-Friendly Bites: How to Use Dining Offers and Coupons That Make Eating Out More Affordable?

While we all love eating out at popular restaurants, no one loves draining their pockets! However, with careful planning and the right strategies, you can enjoy dining out without burning a hole in your pocket. Whether it’s a pizza night with friends or a family dinner, it pays to make the most of discounts and coupons. Eating out need not be an expensive ordeal for your finances when you know how to take advantage of deals, discounts, and credit card offers.

If you are wondering about the best strategies to save on your meals, we have got you covered in this article. Explore some practical tricks that would help you save money while you enjoy appetizing meals each week. Ranging from restaurant deals to loyalty programs, we will guide you to enjoy budget-friendly bites throughout the year.

Why do restaurants offer deals and discounts?

Have you ever wondered why restaurants and cafes offer heavy discounts to their customers?

Well, it’s just a part of their marketing strategy. Everyone loves relishing quality meals at affordable costs, right? You’d find it challenging to deny free stuff!

Carefully crafted deals attract hundreds of new customers to restaurants. Whether it’s the pizzeria, a bar or pub, or even a casual restaurant, discounts work wonders for these establishments. Restaurants can draw new customers and eventually scale their business.

Let’s take a look at these numbers to give you a better idea about the popularity of deals and discounts at restaurants.

  • In 2020, 88% of customers applied a coupon at restaurants.
  • 38% of customers would be ready to travel an additional distance of 10 miles to avail of restaurant deals.
  • A study reveals that 81% of customers regularly look out for dining deals.
  • Around 33% of restaurant-goers decide where to eat out based on the availability of deals.
  • While purchasing meals, 77% of customers use restaurant coupons.

Different types of restaurant deals and discounts you should know

Explore the different types of restaurant deals and discounts that should help you save money while eating out.

Buy one get one (BOGO) offers

BOGO offers have been a tried-and-tested strategy for restaurants to draw new customers. Customers get the opportunity to maximize the value of their money. Depending on where you eat, you might come across different types of BOGO offers. These include:

  • The second bowl of noodles or pizza comes free when you pay for the first one
  • The second item comes at 50% of its price when you purchase the first one
  • You may also get a cheaper item when you pay full price for the first one

These promotional offers at restaurants draw new customers and go a long way in establishing their popularity. As a consumer, why not capitalize on these deals and look out for maximum discounts for large meals?

Remember, these offers are available only for a limited period on selected items. So, you need to keep track of the restaurants giving away these deals.

Student discounts

If you happen to be a student or a college-goer, student discounts at restaurants can save you food bills worth hundreds of dollars throughout the year. When you live on limited funds, it pays to be frugal and make the most of these discounts.

Many restaurants offer student discounts of up to 10% or even more to attract buyers. While you can enjoy these deals directly at some restaurants, others require you to make a purchase above a certain value.

At some eateries, you may have to produce a valid identity card. Even if the restaurant doesn’t require your documents, make sure to inquire about the discount before you place the order.

Apart from offering discounts to students, some restaurants offer free add-ons. So, there’s none stopping you from exploring delicious dishes and exciting your taste buds, even when you live on limited funds.

Combo food deals

We all love combo deals, particularly when restaurants meticulously pair up our favorite meals and drinks. As a customer, you would look out for a full meal at a minimal cost at restaurants. That’s why some restaurants oblige customers with a combination of commonly paired food and drinks. They price the combo meal in such a way that customers end up saving some money.

In other words, you would have to pay more had you purchased those items individually rather than going for the combo meal.

Look out for combo meals at different restaurants for lunch, dinner, or parties. This way, you would save lots of money throughout the year while enjoying the same menu.

The larger your ticket size, the more you can save through combo meals. So, plan your purchases strategically so that you can save a portion for the next day when you order the food home.

Happy hours or time-based discounts

You might already have noticed some local restaurants and cafes offering time-based deals. Popularly known as “happy hours’, these deals bring you a great opportunity to save money on meals by making your purchase within a particular time window.

Some restaurants offer this type of deal on specific days in a week or within specific hours on multiple days in a week. During happy hours, you can purchase meals, appetizers, or drinks at discounted prices. Certain restaurants offer these discounts on a first-come-first-serve basis. Unless you turn out to be an early bird during the limited window, you won’t be able to save!

In most restaurants, you would find the happy hours timed after the peak hours. They strategically choose this sales window so that they continue to get customers even after the prime hours are gone.

Military discounts

Some restaurants have devised a noble way to show their appreciation to US citizens who served the country as a part of the military. In case you are a veteran or active-duty military personnel, you may check out these special discounts. Certain eateries also offer military discounts to the family members of soldiers or war veterans.

In most cases, you can save between 10% and 20% as a part of your military discount. Explore different dining options like take-out meals, dine-in, curb-side pickup, or home delivery orders.

You would have to furnish your proof of service, such as your military ID card, at some restaurants to avail of a military discount. At other restaurants, you need to mention the discount when you place your order or reserve a table.

Calendar-based discounts

Calendar-based restaurant discounts are popular among customers. Usually, restaurants offer this discount on particular days of the month or week or during specific periods all year round.

For instance, some restaurants offer a discount of 15% on the first week of every month. In other restaurants, you may enjoy a discount of 20% every Monday. Besides, some eateries offer these deals on special occasions like Christmas, New Year, or Valentine’s Week.

So, it pays to keep track of these calendar-based discounts at different restaurants. Once you know the discount schedule throughout the month, you can make savings consistently. Now calculate how much you can save on your food fills throughout the year if you can save at least 10% each time you eat out.

Remember, calendar-based discounts are mostly applicable on selected items. So, you need to explore restaurants offering such discounts on your favorite dishes.

Dollar-off discounts

Many new restaurants offer dollar-off discounts at the initial stages of their marketing strategy. For instance, a restaurant might offer a discount of $10 when your purchase value exceeds $100. This is typically a skimming strategy used by new cafes and eateries – a great tactic to encourage customers to try out their meals

First-party discounts

First-party discounts apply to buyers who place online food orders directly on the website or app of the restaurant. You may not benefit from these deals if you habitually order food through third-party apps. So, keep an eye open for first-party discounts at popular restaurants and try to save more by shopping directly from them.

Now, if you find a third-party platform offering credit card discounts or any other special deal, compare the savings in both cases. Accordingly, you can make the purchase strategically to maximize your savings.

Gift card discounts

Gift cards have gained popularity across all retail sectors, and the food business has quickly adopted the strategy. This is a great way to save money, given that you can purchase gift cards at reputed restaurants at a discounted price. With this discount, you can end up saving up to 20% on your meals. Gift card discounts apply to both food and drinks. Besides, you may order food online by making payments using discounts to save more. For instance, a $45 gift card may fetch you meals worth $50.

Birthday discounts

Well, we all love getting gifts on our birthdays. Why not go for discounts that many restaurants offer on these special days?

Birthday discounts bring you the opportunity to save money at restaurants. Although you get it just once a year, it pays to keep track of the maximum discount you get. Also, consider eating out with your family on those special days. You might save significantly on the birthdays of all your family members while remaining informed about these deals.


Cultivating the habit of conscious spending defines the secret to attaining financial freedom. So, it’s crucial to decide how frequently you eat out, where you go, and how much you spend. This shouldn’t deprive you of the delicious cuisines around you, right?

There’s plenty of scope to save money on meals and dining once you look around. Restaurant deals continue to be one of the best avenues to make savings. Apart from these recommendations, check out offers on your credit cards from time to time. This way, you can save small percentages throughout the year.

Look out for different types of restaurant discounts and make the most of these deals.


What are some apps that can help me save on restaurant meals?

Saving on restaurant meals is easy with popular apps like Groupon, Hooch, LivingSocial, and OpenTable. Groupon allows customers to save on different purchases, including dining through cashback offers and fixed-price discounts.

Hooch is another app through which you can earn rewards for lifestyle purchases and dining. Also, there’s an option to get paid membership for additional benefits like a free drink daily.

You may also check out apps like LivingSocial and OpenTable that can fetch you discounts, discounted meal kits, and points for booking restaurant reservations. Some of these apps also come with provisions such as gift cards.

What are AARP restaurant discounts?

AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) discounts apply only to AARP members. This is a special discount for those senior citizens where they can enjoy a certain discount at participating restaurants while purchasing food and beverages.

Can I get discounts on bulk orders at restaurants?

Yes, many restaurants offer discounts on bulk orders to their customers. So, if you purchase items for large groups, such as family-style food or pizzas, you can qualify for these deals. Restaurants appreciate your presence and decision to purchase sizable amounts of food from them and thereby provide these discounts.

Which credit card can help me get the maximum discount at restaurants?

Different banks partner with restaurants to provide discounts to their customers through their credit cards. You can check with your bank whether their credit cards offer discounts on local restaurants. Accordingly, get a new credit card to maximize your savings at restaurants.

What are the popular types of incentives that restaurants provide?

Deals and discounts at restaurants are the most common forms of incentives. Apart from this, you can also get gift vouchers, gift cards, or points that you can redeem later. With some credit cards, you can also earn additional reward points while eating out at select restaurants.

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