In the "Ask Ted" column in the March 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine, Ted Allen offers advice on how to take advantage of -- but also be respectful of -- restaurants that are offering dining specials. Every major U.S. city now offers a "Restaurant Week" (such events held in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. have already taken place this year, most likely to drum up business in the slow, post-holiday season), and most casual-dining chains are launching more specials than ever. Here is a quick primer.
Ted's Rules of Cheapskate Dining
- Avoid discount menus for first dates, anniversaries or Valentine's Day. Trust me: It will cost you more in the end.
- Eat. Then, leave. Don't work on your journal when you're paying half of what the real estate normally commands.
- Don't penalize the waiter. He's doing the same work, but now his tips are being calculated off shrunken checks. Have a heart: Base your tip on the regular price and give at least 20 percent.
- If you're getting an entree for half of what it would normally cost, don't be high-maintenance about substitutions, special requests or anything else.
- And, please: Don't steal the Splenda.