Sep. 24, 2012 at 10:08 AM ET
Business travelers looking to save money on travel can save on dining without sacrificing quality. Tim Zagat, the founder and publisher of Zagat Survey, shares with discerning diners his money-saving dining tips.
From picking the right venue to what to order, Zagat offers insight into how to save big while on the road.
Zagat recently released its annual America’s Top Restaurants survey. This year’s survey covered 1,578 of the U.S.’s top restaurants in 45 markets and was voted on by more than 156,000 diners who dined out an estimated 25 million times in the past year, or roughly 3.1 times per week.
The average price of a meal in the U.S. is $35.65, which includes a soft drink, tax, and tip, according to the annual survey. The most expensive city for dining is Las Vegas, at $47.53 per meal, and New Orleans, at $28.36 per meal. These tabs pale in comparison to the average price in London, which is $69.25, and Tokyo, which is $113.09, when factoring in exchange rates from September 2011.
"The purpose of a business lunch is presumably to make a deal," said Zagat. "You should be thinking not of the price of the meal but the value of the deal."
Eat lunch not dinner
Lunch prices are 20 to 30 percent less than dinner prices in most places, according to Tim Zagat, founder and publisher of Zagat Survey. While diners are less likely to order cocktails when dining with their families, they are even less likely to order them at lunch.
Find out what your business client likes to eat and pick a place that appeals to them. "Let them know you care about their happiness," said Zagat.
Get a discount
Many firms and companies have discounts for the places they frequently go. If your business doesn’t have such an arrangement, it is worthwhile to establish a discount at a few restaurants. The places that know you the best will treat you the best, according to Zagat.
Zagat has noticed a trend in restaurants not only offering hugely discounted lunches but also offering delivery straight to your desk; saving not only money but also time.
Eat out on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Try to plan your dining out based on the calendar. Avoid Thursdays through Sundays, when dish prices tend to be higher. Zagat recommends booking a table for the beginning of the week.
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