© 2017 by Bawoni Consult.

Dining Out on a budget

We're almost through the first month of the year. Time Flies! After all that Christmas spending and holiday cheer, a lot of us feel the pinch in our wallets and are trying to save money to get through the first month or two. But no one really wants to be stuck indoors for 4 to 8 weeks, do we?

Here's a few tips on how to dine out on a budget:

1. Follow your favourite restaurants or new restaurants you would like to try on Social Media.

Most restaurants that are active on social media will post about special promotions or offers on social media to drive traffic into their business. By following their accounts, you will be updated and be able to plan a dinner out with your friends or family on a budget.

2. Say NO to booze!

Yes!!! Although it might be hard, by not ordering alcohol, you will be reducing the amount you spend exponentially. Cocktails are expensive. So instead of a cocktail, order a non-alcoholic drink...soda or if you're still on your healthy kick, order some water.

3. (This might be a bit controversial) Check if a service charge is included in the price

Most people do not pay attention to the fine print when they're looking at menus. Let's face it, we're hungry or thirsty when we walk into a restaurant. If you do pay attention, most menus should indicate whether the service charge is included in the price of menu items or not.

What's a service charge? In simple terms, it is an EXTRA charge made for serving customers in a restaurant.

That being said, you can decline to pay a service charge for the following reasons:

- Bad or unsatisfactory service provided by the waiter or server

- If you order take out/ take away without actually dining in the restaurant.

As already stated, this is an EXTRA charge. So if you pay a service charge at a restaurant that has it already included in the menu pricing, then remember that you do not have to add an ADDITIONAL tip unless you really want to.

That being said, this is not an excuse to go to every restaurant and refuse to pay a service charge with some ridiculous reason that you pulled out of your derriere. We do believe that servers do deserve to be rewarded, if they provide excellent service and for their hard work.

4. Order Appetizers

Appetizers are generally cheaper than mains. So if you're alone, order an appetizer because the portions are more suitable for a meal than a main that you might not be able to complete on your own. We generally recommend, going for dinner with a group of friends, ordering 2-4 appetizers depending on the size of the group and the appetizer portions, then ordering fewer mains. For some reason, this always prevents major spending. We're convinced that people eat a bit slower in larger groups, which fills them up even more because they are taking time to engage in conversation. So order more appetizers and fewer mains.

5. Dine out for Lunch instead of Dinner

IF you are planning on going to a restaurant with separate lunch and dinner menus, then opt to dine out for lunch. In general, lunch mains are a bit cheaper than dinner mains. In addition to that, most restaurants with a lunch menu will have a lunch special that will be cheaper than the rest of the lunch mains. So opt for lunch!

Needless to say, we're a bit limited in this market because we have fewer options when it comes to budget saving options. Hopefully in the next few years, restaurants in Accra will be able to offer more budget friendly deals - especially loyalty schemes which are beneficial to both restaurants and its customers. Maybe we should discuss that in our next post - Restaurant loyalty schemes.

Do follow us on social media - @bawoniconsult.

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