My Two Recent Restaurant Savings Wins
As I discussed more than a couple of times here one Money@30, my wife and I enjoy a weekly tradition we call “Together Tuesday.” Typically, this date night includes treating ourselves to dinner out. Mind you, we’re not talking fancy, five-star outings — it’s mostly just chain restaurants that some may loathe but I have a soft spot for. In fact, one of the things I love about some of these places are the great deals you can score if you play your cards right. Over the past couple of weeks, it seems lady luck was definitely on my side as I managed to rack up two big savings wins.
First stop: Chili’s. I’ve always been a fan of their 2 for $22 special that includes an appetizer to share and two entrees for, you guessed it, $22. However, I was surprised to see that, as of this visit, the deal was now 2 for $25. Initially, I presumed this was just inflation but, as it turns out, the deal now includes an appetizer to share, two entrees, and a dessert to split as well. Now, in reality, this isn’t really saving us money; just making us eat more. Still, I kind of like the new set-up.
Where the actual money came in was via Chili’s loyalty program and a special offer being promoted on their “Ziosks.” First, after the demise of Plenti, Chili’s introduced their own loyalty program that entitles members to either free chips and salsa or a free soft drink on each of their visits (note: you need to visit at least once every 90 days to retain this benefit). Since an app came with our meal, I opted for the free Coke instead. Meanwhile, my wife splurged and went for the Presidente Margarita that was only a $5 add-on to our meal deal.
But wait — that margarita ended up being free thanks to a special offer we encountered when paying our bill. On the Ziosk, we learned that, if we used our Discover card via a digital wallet such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, we’d receive $5 off of our bill. Being Discover It cardholders and iPhone users, we gave it a shot and, sure enough, our receipt showed a $5 discount. Sadly, it seems this particular promotion has now ended, but it’s definitely something to watch out for in the future.
It seemed my savings didn’t end on that night as, earlier this week, I had another triumph at one of my personal favorites, Red Robin. Conveniently, it just so happened to be another Tavern Double Tuesday for the chain’s loyalty club members, meaning that my meal of choice (a thin-patty double cheeseburger and bottomless fries for $6.99) was free with the purchase of another entree and two drinks. On top of that $7 savings, an e-mail from Royalty Rewards let me know that I could save $4 off a purchase of $10 or more. I figured there was no way I’d be able to combine these two offers but, to my surprise, our server activated both of them without me even having to ask! As a result, we saved $11 on a $28 bill —not bad at all.
The moral of the story is that there are many ways you can save a little money when dining out. Although some of these specific offers might not be around for long, similar deals are popping up all the time (hint: signing up for free loyalty programs will help ensure you stay informed on special offers). Hopefully I’ll have some more savings wins to share in subsequent weeks as our Together Tuesday tradition rolls on.