As families find themselves strapped for cash, they’re spending less money and time dining out. In response, restaurant chains are evaluating their offerings and finding new ways to entice customers.
Of course, Americans can learn to dine out even while sticking close to their budgets. Uno Chicago Grill offers these tips for less-expensive dining:
1. Try Eating in the Lounge or Bar Area. Many restaurants offer special smaller-portion menu items in the bar area. This creates a low-cost dining option while also accommodating guests who may be too busy to enjoy a typical lunch or dinner hour.
2. Enjoy Your “Just Desserts.” Dining out doesn’t have to mean a full dinner. Why not treat yourself to dessert or a specialty coffee? Many restaurants offer dessert specials. Order two coffees and split dessert with a friend for an indulgence that’s light on the wallet, if not on calories.
3. Join the “Insider’s Club.” Most chain restaurants offer loyalty programs, so take advantage of them. For example, Uno Chicago Grill encourages its loyal guests to register for the Uno Insider’s Club online at www.unos.com to receive exclusive offers and information regarding new menu items and promotions.
4. Come for Lunch Instead of Dinner. A recent survey of American workers by the Center for Work-Life Policy found that 21 percent of respondents work at least 60 hours a week under highly stressful conditions. Many restaurants now offer lunch specials that feature smaller portions with a quick turnaround, which works for those pressed for time — and money.
5. Take It to Go. Several leading chains now offer curbside or take-out specials at lower cost than dining in. Families on the go can fit a quality restaurant meal into their tight schedule without busting their budget.
“One look at the headlines tells us how tough it is today,” says Richard Hendrie, senior vice president of Uno Chicago Grill. “So we’re creating options that help our guests reclaim some of their leisure time and enjoy dining out for less.”