Consumer Reports' best restaurant deals
June 29, 2012 (WPVI) -- Americans spend about $1.7 billion in restaurants every day! But dining out doesn't have to break the bank. Consumer Reports has ways to find some of the best restaurant deals.
If you love to eat out but hate to see your bill, Consumer Reports says there are plenty of deals right at your finger tips.
"One of the first things you can do is visit a restaurant's website to find out about any special offers," says Tod Marks.
Take Chili's. It has a $20 steak dinner special for two, or Bob Evans who has an "Endless Farmhouse Lunch" for $6.99.
"You can also sign up for email alerts and join an e-club to learn about even more deals," said Marks.
By joining California Pizza Kitchen's e-Club, you get $5 toward your next visit. And on Facebook, liking Outback Steakhouse and other restaurants can also lead to dining deals.
Consumer Reports found you do need to choose where you eat carefully.
Their survey of almost 48,000 subscribers gave some popular chains low marks for value; among them Hard Rock Cafe, Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar, Joe's Crab Shack, and Hooters.
"Now, another surefire way to save is to eat where others don't. There's a lot more out there than just an early-bird special," said Marks.
At Applebee's, late-night diners enjoy half-price appetizers, and at Red Lobster you get a discount on some shrimp entrees on Mondays and Tuesdays.
"Here's another sweet way to save. If it's your birthday, eat at a restaurant that offers free dessert," he recommends.
Along with value, Consumer Reports' subscribers also rated restaurants for food, service, and atmosphere.
Among the lowest-rated restaurants overall were Friendly's and Waffle House. Both got low marks for atmosphere and cleanliness.
consumer reports, food, food savings, money saving, fast food, online saving, consumer news, erin o'hearn
- Photos: Maps of Monday's expected snow
- Snow likely Sunday into Monday
- Get the 6abc StormTracker app
- WATCH: Action News Online
- Students evacuated in Camden H.S. gas leak 55 min ago
- 3 injured in 2-alarm fire in Holmesburg 21 min ago
- Family displaced in Wilmington house fire
- Runway reopens after failed takeoff at PHL
- Investigator: Missing plane flew over Malaysia
- SEPTA unveils strike plan; union says strike unlikely
- Police investigate death of toddler at Del. daycare
- Teen father arrested for biting nose off infant
- 5 arrested after Logan murder, standoff
- Video: Pastor collapses, dies, after admitting...