How to save 30% on restaurant meals

Eating restaurant food doesn’t have to be expensive. Follow these simple steps to save 30% or more on your next restaurant meal. πŸ™‚

  1. Pick a restaurant that offers a 10% discount if you pick up your take out order.
  2. Contact the restaurant and tell them what you want to eat.
  3. Go retrieve your food and bring it back to your home.
  4. Enjoy your meal. πŸ˜€

That’s it. You can experience authentic restaurant cuisine, while being comfortable in your own dwelling. You don’t have to dress nice or wear pants that feel tight after you eat. You can eat in your underwear if you want. Nobody will judge you. πŸ˜‰

Let’s compare the costs of eating in a restaurant to eating at home using an example. Imagine we want to order $40 worth of food for 2 people from this Thai restaurant in Vancouver. #notasponsorΒ 

Cost if we sit in at the restaurant:

  • Menu item = $40.00
  • 5% sales tax = $2.00
  • 15% tip = $6.00
  • Total Cost = $48

Cost if we pick up the food and go home to eat:

  • Menu item = $40.00
  • 10% discount = (-$4.00)
  • 5% sales tax = $1.80
  • Total Cost = $37.80

(Note: Fixed sales tax amount. Previously calculation was incorrect)

As we can see, taking out the food saves us $10.20. So if we eat inside the restaurant we’ll have to pay 27% more, orΒ 30%Β if we tip 18% instead of 15%. The total cost of take out is even lower than the initial $40 figure presented on the restaurant menu. That’s a good deal! πŸ™‚ If we go to a restaurant in Ontario we can replace the 5% GST with a 13% HST. Most establishments that offer the pick up discount will advertise it on their website.Β Usually there is a minimum order amount of $30 or so. This is perfect if you’re ordering for 2 or more people, and if you have access to a vehicle.

Here are a couple more restaurant examples.

If ambiance and being pampered to is important then maybe the 30% premium to eat on location is worth it. But personally the value of ordering restaurant food to me comes from not having to cook, not having to clean, and the social element of enjoying a meal together with friends or a partner. So if I receive the same economic utility by eating at home as eating out, then I’ll choose the cheaper option. In fact, eating out comes with additional potential stress factors such as rowdy restaurant patrons, paying for parking, uncomfortable seats, feeling rushed, etc. Also, my home wasn’t cheap. I paid $230,000 for it. So I should make good use of the space, especially when it can save me money by not being somewhere else. #opportunitycost.


Whenever I hear about a new restaurant that I want to try the first thing I do is find out if they offer a discount for pickups. πŸ™‚


Random Useless Fact:

Author: Liquid Independence

Editor in Chief at Freedom 35 Blog.

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Tom from Dividends Diversify
02/26/2018 7:43 am

Just cutting the tip is a big deal. But, I have never heard of a restaurant that offered a discount for pick up. Maybe I just need to ask. tom

02/26/2018 8:23 am

The pick up discount is new to me so maybe that is a Vancouver thing… As Tom said, the tip ends up being more than you think but for me, the real savings come from ordering drinks vs having better and cheaper drinks at home. There is hardly any added work and the premium you pay for having someone bring it to you already poured exceeds this 10% mythical discount you speak of.

02/26/2018 9:32 am

At least where I live, the person who does the take out order still would like a tip because they only make like $4.25/hr. So I usually tip them something, but less than if I was actually dining in the restaurant. There are also no discounts for take-away here unless they have a coupon or something.

02/26/2018 5:33 pm

I would prefer to save 100% by cooking at home :-). I agree though pick up is definitively cheaper. It removes the tip component which could easily cost 15% or more. Another idea is to buy discounted gift cards online. Restaurant gift cards generally sell at deep discounts.

S Arun
02/27/2018 7:26 am

Good advise πŸ™‚
You missed the Tips to waiter in your calculation, usually 15% of your cost.


02/27/2018 10:11 am

Why is 5% of $36 equal to $0.72?

Financial Orchid
Financial Orchid
03/01/2018 12:29 pm

Similar to me but I’m doing a more intensive

Financial Orchid
Financial Orchid
03/01/2018 5:16 pm

Simple concept you explained, but I like it! That’s why people who have their own place generally opt for this. I definitely invite more friends over nowadays than before, or maybe it has to do with age too.
The only time I’d go out to dine is if I’m meeting with casual acquaintences, coworkers, or people I don’t know so well. Otherwise, I much prefer eating @ home, way more relaxing, quieter, and intimate. And I can lounge around in my sweats. Win^3

03/02/2018 4:44 am

You have completely ignored the cost of picking up the food β€” gas, vehicle wear & tear, your time, etc.

You’ve also ignored the fact that this strategy will only work with places which offer take-out. High end restaurants, which have higher quality food, don’t usually offer take-out orders; thus you are limited to $-$$ eateries (within a relatively short distance).


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