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20 Ways to Lower Your Restaurant Bill, Straight From Employees

Eat This, Not That! Logo By © Provided by Eat This, Not That! of Eat This, Not That! | Slide 1 of 18: <p>By Dana Leigh Smith</p><p>Dine out on a dime with these insider secrets!</p><p>Dining at restaurants while trying to save money on food may seem a lot like trying to <a href="http://www.eatthis.com/best-weight-loss-tips">lose weight</a> while eating stacks of decadent cookies on the reg. And there's no wonder why. To turn a profit, restaurants generally charge about four times as much per dish as they paid for its individual ingredients—that's a 400 percent markup. (I know, we died a little, too, when we found out!) And According to the National Restaurant Association, Americans spend more than $782 billion—yes, billion—at restaurants each year.</p><p>But here's a bit of good news: You don't have to ditch your favorite restaurant fare altogether to stick to your food budget. According to the group of restaurateurs and wait staff we interviewed, there are tons of ways to cut $5, 10, and even $20 from your bill—without saying farewell to your favorite waitress or forgoing the food you love. Read on to discover their must-know money-saving secrets and put all that extra cash towards something amazing—like a vacation or a new pair of running shoes. And speaking of dining out smart, be sure to check out <a href="http://www.eatthis.com/restaurant-menu-worst-options">The #1 Worst Menu Option at 40 Popular Restaurants</a>—and stay away from them at all costs!</p>

20 Ways to Lower Your Restaurant Bill, Straight From Employees

Dine out on a dime with these insider secrets!

Dining at restaurants while trying to save money on food may seem a lot like trying to lose weight while eating stacks of decadent cookies on the reg. And there's no wonder why. To turn a profit, restaurants generally charge about four times as much per dish as they paid for its individual ingredients—that's a 400 percent markup. (I know, we died a little, too, when we found out!) And According to the National Restaurant Association, Americans spend more than $782 billion—yes, billion—at restaurants each year.

But here's a bit of good news: You don't have to ditch your favorite restaurant fare altogether to stick to your food budget. According to the group of restaurateurs and wait staff we interviewed, there are tons of ways to cut $5, 10, and even $20 from your bill—without saying farewell to your favorite waitress or forgoing the food you love. Read on to discover their must-know money-saving secrets and put all that extra cash towards something amazing—like a vacation or a new pair of running shoes. And speaking of dining out smart, be sure to check out The #1 Worst Menu Option at 40 Popular Restaurants—and stay away from them at all costs!

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