No matter what city you live in, eating out at restaurants can get expensive very quickly. But if you still want to try all of the delicacies your city has to offer, these OpenTable hacks for saving money can help stretch your paycheck a little further.
In case you aren't totally familiar with how OpenTable works, you can book restaurant reservations through the website or via the OpenTable app. "When you book and honor reservations on OpenTable, you can earn dining points," OpenTable’s chief dining officer, Caroline Potter, tells Bustle. "Dining Points can be redeemed for great perks like meals at many OpenTable restaurants or hotel discounts at participating hotels available on KAYAK," she says. Just keep in mind that you can't redeem them on a mobile device.
But in addition to redeeming points, you can also save plenty of money without doing any extra work at all. From finding which local spots won't charge you to bring your own alcohol to getting a great deal on combining your meal with a show, having so many options for finding discounts is sure to make it more affordable to eat out.
Here are some easy ways to enjoy all the delicious food you can dream of, while still being able to stick to your budget.
1. Look For Bonus Point Reservations
In addition to the regular points that you can earn for booking reservations through the app, make sure to keep an eye out for opportunities to get even more points than usual. "Look out for the Bonus Point Tables tab or the +1,000 point icon underneath select reservation times," Potter says, "and you may be able to earn even more rewards faster." Just make sure that you plan to bring a friend (or a couple), because these opportunities are only available for parties with multiple diners.
2. Watch Out For Special Offers
Keeping an eye on the specials tab on your OpenTable metro start page can be a great opportunity to get more bang for your buck, and is very convenient because you don't have to do a lot of extra work to find good deals — they're all right there for you to find. "Look for special offers and perks at restaurants, such as complimentary coffee or bottomless boozy brunch," she says.
3. Check Out Restaurant Weeks
Exploring some of the finest restaurants in your city can be intimidating, but knowing ahead of time when OpenTable will be featuring your city for Restaurant Week can make getting a gourmet meal much more affordable. "OpenTable regularly promotes restaurant weeks in cities around the world," Potter says. "Scroll down on the metro start page to Your Local Dining Scene to find one happening near you, and enjoy prix-fixe meals for less."
4. Get A Good Deal On Alcohol
In case you're not familiar with a corkage fee, it's the price that some restaurants charge you to open your wine and serve it. If you want to avoid this pesky extra cost but still enjoy a nice glass of vino with your meal, check out the Your Local Dining Scene section on OpenTable, which will show you which restaurants offer free corkage (or even BYOB) on certain nights, Potter says.
5. Combine Dinner And A Show
Getting dinner and a show isn't just a recipe for a fantastic night. It's also a great way to save some extra money (which you can then use on lots of snacks during intermission). The Your Local Dining Scene tab is your BFF here yet again, Potter says, because this will let you find which restaurants in your area will give you a discounted prix-fixe meal before or after you go see a play or a concert.
6. Look For Specials At Individual Restaurants
If there's a restaurant you've been wanting to go to for months but you can't quite fit it into your budget, make sure to check in on that place's OpenTable page on a regular basis. "On a restaurant’s profile page, you can also see if a restaurant is offering specials for holidays, such as Father’s Day, or offers on select evenings," Potter says, "like discounted happy hours under the specials tab."
7. Browse Menus Beforehand
If you're on a budget, making sure that a restaurant is within your price range can be key to avoiding having to take a heftier hit to your bank account than you can really afford. While many places have their menus online, they don't always include prices, for some strange reason. Cut down all of the external searches you have to do and figure out what's in your budget by researching OpenTable restaurant profile pages before you book, Potter says.
Next time you're dreaming about that fancy Italian place that just opened up in your neighborhood or can't stop craving your favorite sushi restaurant, just check and see whether there are any money-saving options you can use. You never know when you'll find a great discount.