Whether you can afford weekly restaurant visits or dining out usually means a plate of mac and cheese on the front stoop, restaurant deals can seem very appealing. They’re great ways to treat yourself and still save some bucks, right?
Not necessarily. Restaurants can offer a smorgasbord of gimmicks aimed at getting you in the door—and keeping you coming back.
Coupons, discount certificates and “Restaurant Week” promotions have exploded as the industry struggles for customer loyalty in a challenging environment. The National Restaurant Association says it recently surveyed consumers and found most describe the economy as fair or poor. The Washington, D.C.-based trade group adds that 4 out of 10 respondents said they didn’t go out to eat as much as they’d like.
Restaurant come-ons can be a treat for your budget, but you can just as easily get financial indigestion. It’s important to consider how much you receive for what you pay, read the fine print and ask questions.
Here’s a taste of seven gimmicks, accompanied by some advice to chew on.