All you can Eat Buffet Early Bird Special Pre Theatre Discount Voucher Coupons Save Money

When finances are tight, cutting back on non-essential expenditure, such as eating out, is one of the first things that people do to save money. But eliminating all the pleasures from your daily life can actually have an adverse effect on your emotional well being and make you feel donwright miserable, so it’s important to retain some ‘treats’. With this in mind, here are a number of ways that you can save money at restaurants, meaning that you can still enjoy a meal out with family and friends without busting your budget.

Coupons and Vouchers

Many restaurants offer coupons or vouchers that will give you discounts of your meal. Check your local newspaper regularly for cut out coupons and vouchers. It’s not uncommon these days to find excellent offers, including coupons that will entitle the bearer to a free main course for every full price one purchased or discounts of up to 40% on the total cost of your bill (although this generally does not include drinks). The Internet is also a great place to find deals. By signing up to your favourite restaurants’ websites you will be emailed details of their latest offers. Then all you have to do is print out the coupon and present it with your bill.

Early Bird Specials

Also known as ‘pre-theatre’ specials in the UK, these are perfect if you like to eat early. These deals are offered outside of peak dining hours, usually between the hours of 5 and 7pm. You may have the choice of the full menu, or a limited selection of dishes, at a reduced price. Typically, diners taking advantage of early bird specials have to vacate their table by a specific time.

All you can eat

All you can eat buffets tend to be favoured by restaurant chains, rather than independent establishments. The concept is simple: you pay a set price and you eat all you can in a single meal. Pizza and Chinese are two cuisines that have embraced the all you can eat concept.

Daily Special

Many eateries today offer a ‘Daily Special’ whereby they will promote a specific dish on a given day, at a reduced cost. Of course this does limit your options somewhat, as to get a reduced meal you have to want to eat what’s on offer that day, but as these offers tend to be on the more expensive menu items, it can be a good way to try a dish that you perhaps wouldn’t normally choose because of the cost.

Set Menus

Set menu’s are a great way to get two, or even three, courses for a specific amount of money. You will generally be presented with two or three choices for each course, making it a good deal if you are feeling particularly hungry. If you are not a big eater a set-menu may not be the best option, however, as it may work out less expensive to just order a main course rather than paying for three courses that you are not going to eat.

So, it is perfectly possible to be able to eat out without paying full price for a meal, whatever your preference and budget. As with everything, however, make sure you do your research beforehand to make sure that you really are getting a good deal.

Business dining etiquette

Of all the different types of dining situations, business dining, and the proper etiquette for it, are perhaps the most difficult to maneuver. This is because it depends very much on the relationship between the people who are dining together.

The main aspect of business dining etiquette that makes it so difficult to navigate is the fact that there is almost always a hierarchical nature to it. Bosses dine with underlings, salespeople dine with prospective clients, prospective hires dine with prospective hirers, and on and on. It’s this lopsided power structure that makes knowing how to behave and what to say more difficult than other types of dining experiences.

General rules

But, regardless of context, there are some general rules of etiquette that should be followed in any business lunch.

The first is that you should be polite to the point of being extreme. This is especially true if you don’t know the person you are eating with. Say please and thank you, and this includes when you speak with the wait staff. Don’t sit down first unless you are the one that did the inviting, and don’t sit down before any women that are in the group. If you’re paying for the other person’s meal, order first, if not, order second. If you are dining with someone of the opposite sex, it’s polite to compliment them on how they look if they’ve obviously dressed for the occasion.

Unwritten rules

The next thing is to follow certain unwritten rules, such as putting your napkin in your lap, whether it’s cloth or not. Also, don’t eat with your elbows on the table, and set your knife down between cutting bites to eat. Don’t dominate the conversation, but do contribute, and be sure to wipe any food that gets on your mouth, lips or face. And never, ever talk with food in your mouth.

If you were the one doing the inviting, it’s your job to lead the conversation; on the other hand if you were the one that was invited, it’s your job to dole out the information the inviter is looking for, and to do so without the other having to work on you to get it out.

As for how to dress for a business meal, it depends very heavily on the type of business you’re in, the event, whether you’re coming from work, and what you are after besides the food. For the most part, dinner etiquette requires that you wear a suit if you are meeting someone else. For lunch, you would wear what you normally wear to work, unless it’s a special appointment, in which case you would likely wear a suit.

A Short History of Fast Food

The concept of fast food is not a new one. During ancient times, for example, travelers could stop at roadside carts along the way or at inns for the purpose of obtaining quick, convenient meals. Interestingly, however, while taverns and coffee houses became popular places to gather and share food and beverages in the 17th century, the idea of eating out for the purpose of enjoyment didn’t take off in Western society until the 18th century.  

Today’s fast food is a million dollar industry that has come a long way over the years. A quick look at the history of the fast food industry reflects roots in a bygone era, although there is some controversy as to date. Nevertheless, the most significant advances in development to date were made in the 19th century. One of the earliest was the “Automat” restaurant in New York City, opened in 1912 by Horn & Hardart, that experienced success offering the public pre-prepared food behind small glass windows. 

Later, in 1921, another company, White Castle, was founded. Opening a hamburger restaurant in Kansas, the company experienced success and eventually revolutionized public perceptions. At that time, most people considered the burgers that were being sold at fairs and carts to be unsafe and even spoiled. White Castle founders decided to allow customers to see their food as it was being prepared and eventually changed public perception and made the hamburger a respectable, affordable, and quick meal.  

The fast food industry was greatly influenced by the drive-in restaurants of southern California in the early 1940´s. There was a desire to take advantage of the rising popularity of cars, so restaurateurs designed facilities that allowed customers to order and eat without having to leave their vehicles. 

In 1948, Richard and Maurice McDonald operated a newly redesigned fast food restaurant that utilized an assembly line process. Then, in 1953, they opened a second restaurant and became a franchise, adding more restaurants over the years since then. According to the National Restaurant Association, the company now has over 30,000 franchised stores in more than 120 countries.

Other companies also opened fast food restaurants. Taco Bell and Burger King, for example, both got their start in the 1950´s, while Wendy’s and Subway got theirs in the 1960´s. Some, like Dunkin Donuts, put their products in stores, contributing to the continuing rise of fast food meals, snacks, and beverages available at our local supermarkets and stores.

Just as in the past, today’s fast food restaurants continue to meet the demands for quick food and convenience. What is different, however, is that more people than ever in history are consuming fast food at home or at restaurants, either due to necessity or to desire, and are consuming more often. At the same time, the public is becoming increasingly concerned about issues of health and nutrition and are looking for healthier, but still tasty, food choices. While we do not know the direction the fast food industry will take in coming years, one thing is certain: the need for fast food will remain. 

Japanese food: Sushi basics

Sushi, Japan’s original fast food, was first sold from a Tokyo vending cart by Hanaya Yohei in the mid-nineteenth century, and is now a popular and healthy alternative to western fast food. Those who hesitate to sample sushi for the first time may be surprised to learn that since Mr. Hanaya sold his original sushi, a wide variety of recipes have been developed many of which are aimed to satisfy western tastes.

Sushi is built by combining sticky, vinegared rice with different fillings and toppings.

Thin slices of raw fish, or sashimi, may be served alone or as a sushi topping. However, while some sushi contain sashimi, many others are made with vegetables and cooked meat or fish. Some kinds of sushi may be wrapped in nori, or dried seaweed, which has a surprisingly mild taste.

Sushi is shaped into various forms. These include nigiri, a small ball of rice decorated with a fish or egg topping, temaki, a seaweed cone which contains rice and various fillings, and maki, which is what most people think of when they think of sushi. Like temaki, maki consists of rice, and assorted fillings, but is rolled into a tube shape rather than a cone, covered with seaweed or sesame seeds, and then cut into bite-sized slices.

Sushi is also accompanied with soy sauce and two unique Japanese condiments, wasabi, a potent green horseradish paste, and gari or pickled ginger. Commercially-bottled gari is pink. White gari will have been prepared fresh on the premises and has a far superior taste.

Maki and temaki come with many choices of filling, such as tamago (egg), smoked or cooked fish, meat, egg and vegetables. Popular choices for a first-time sushi eater include cucumber and other vegetarian rolls, California rolls (cooked crab and avocado), tamago rolls, Philadelphia rolls (smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber), dynamite rolls (tempura, vegetables and chili) and Hawaiian rolls (canned tuna and egg).

Before sampling sashimi, it is important to be aware of certain health precautions. It is crucial that the sushi bar or restaurant is spotlessly clean and that the fish is ocean fresh. If there is a noticeable fishy smell in the restaurant, this is a sign that the fish served is past the peak of freshness. Also, pregnant women and people with immune system issues should avoid eating raw fish, although they can safely sample the many non-raw options.

There are various ways to order, depending on the location. At a sushi bar, customers can ask the chef for recommendations or choose a random selection. In a restaurant, they can ask the waiter for recommendations, choose randomly from the menu, or order a set plate of assorted sushi.

When ordering a random selection, it is a good idea to begin with six or twelve pieces. Since one maki is a whole roll, typically cut into six or eight pieces, a suggested first order is one or two maki, or one maki plus a few nigiri to start. Additional items can be ordered later.

When the sushi arrives, it will be laid out alongside a small blob of wasabi and several pieces of gari. The usual way to eat sushi is to dip it in a mixture of wasabi and soy sauce, and a miniature bowl is often provided for mixing the wasabi with soy sauce provided on the table. Gari is eaten between each sushi to freshen the palate.