Choosing A Restaurant Start With Finding The Best Deal

LOS ANGELES , February 27, 2013 () – Last week, I decided to treat myself to a fast-food meal for dinner. I debated over many options. Carl’s Jr. Del Taco. Jack in the Box. McDonald’s. Finally, I decided to let fate decide.

And when I say “fate,” I mean coupons.

I opened up my coupons, saw what kind of discounts I currently had available to me at these and other establishments, and made my choice based on quantity of food against the lowest price.

The winner: Jack in the Box. I had a coupon for buy one Ultimate Cheeseburger, get one free.

The scenario above is something that Americans are increasingly doing: Finding ways to spend less on a restaurant meal. We’re not looking to eat out less necessarily. But in today’s economy, it’s survival of the lowest price.

According to a forecast recently released by consulting firm AlixPartners, expected average spending per restaurant meal in the U.S. in 2013 should fall 4.7% to $12.85 as diners seek out coupons, discounts and other deals as a way to cope with the weak U.S. economic recovery. Another interesting statistic: restaurant traffic is expected to increase 3% this year.

Brand loyalty will always play a role when we choose what restaurant to go to. But when money gets involved, people turn fickle right away. Sometimes, those who speak to us about our wallets the most will have our ear. Food establishments need to make sure they’re speaking the right language.

Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence Inc. His favorite restaurant is always the place that has the best coupon or deal at the time. He can be reached at

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