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(6 votes, average 4.50 out of 5)
Food - Restaurants
Written by Eric "El Cheapo"   
Thursday, 22 October 2009 10:37
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I love great food.  Mostly, I eat the cheap stuff, but sometimes, my wife and I feel like splurging a little on a first cabin restaurant.  In these uncertain times, most couples have a hard time justifying the need for a $200 steak dinner at that quaint French Restaurant where the house wine alone sets you back an additional $100. The best restaurants don't put coupons in the mail or offer discounted gift cards.  But you can still head out to your favorite high end restaurant and cut your bill in half by using these 10 tips:

1) Skip the wine or BYOB: Wine is unreasonably expensive in most high end restaurants.  The typical markup can be from 200% to 350%. Compare that to a margin of maybe 40% on the food and you can see that alcohol is where restaurants make their money.  I know a good waitress in a high end steak restaurant who tells me that, before the recession, alcohol usually accounted for 24% of the average bill.  Right now, it's closer to 10%.  If you absolutely must have a fine bottle that would normally set you back $90, call ahead to find out the corkage fee and bring a bottle or two of your own.

2) Split the Appetizer: If you're like me and 80% of Americans, you could stand to drop a few pounds.  Instead of getting two of those $12 appetizers, just get one and split it. If you're on a date, make it seem like a romantic gesture intended to demonstrate your capacity for sharing.  Appetizers typically have much higher margin that a main course.  A $12 appetizer might have 1/6th of the food that a $30 entree has.  Yeah, sometimes you'll get that certain look from an uppity waiter. My wife and I did this in a 5 star hotel and the French waiter came to the table and made some small talk - most of it blunt. "maybe next time you'll both order appetizers."  I love French cooking so I resisted the urge to say something like "Merci. But we didn't think much of the first appetizer."



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