Coupon Sherpa recently ran a list of 23 ways restaurants cut back on expenses and after reading through some of them I found that it is pretty easy to make these same cutbacks in our kitchens. I haven't grabbed all twenty-three, but they are all interesting to read.

1. Reduced Portions - Smaller plates and smaller baskets of bread.
Kitchen changes - Reduce portion sizes by using salad plates as the main dinner plate; who doesn't like to go back for seconds! Try filling up beforehand with bread or soup before the main meal as well.

2. Meat Substitutes - "What you think is Veal Parmesan may actually be "Pork Parmesan. The look-alike meat is an easy cost-cutting substitution for diners who rarely taste veal."
Kitchen changes - Substituting turkey and chicken in dishes calling for meat is easy and cheaper. Instead of Pork bacon, try turkey bacon for a $1-2 less. Also use chicken in the place of ground beef for spaghetti sauce, it is delicious!

3. Weaker Drinks- Drinks with seltzer water, using smaller glasses and adding more ice are all ways to make a drink last longer.
Kitchen changes - Using more ice and smaller drinking glasses will allow the drink to stretch further. If you've made home-made soup, add in more water for the broth to fill up on.

4. Recycling Buffets - "Rather than toss uneaten food from yesterday's or last week's buffet, more restaurants are freezing everything for future use."
Kitchen changes - Don't forget to tightly wrap up the dinner meal left overs for a lunch on Monday or freeze it for a quick "frozen dinner" on the next weekend.

5. Cheaper Ingredients - "...the seaweed is really cabbage and instant potatoes have stretched the mashed potatoes."
Kitchen changes - all kinds of food substitutes exist if you to stretch a meal or don't want to run out to the store for that one item

6. Is it Fresh? - Restaurants aren't always getting fresh food every day, now they may get a larger order of food every few days to cut down on the cost of deliver.
Kitchen changes - Buying in bulk the items that are used often like cereal, bread or TP. Also look at replacing fresh produce with frozen foods for a better savings when foods aren't in season.

7. Recycling Food - "What happens to all those extras on a slow night? They end up in the buffet, reworked into meatloaf or worked into bread pudding."
Kitchen changes - Save leftover vegetables in a pot in the freezer for a weekend pot of vegetable soup. With fruits going bad, cut off the bad parts and make a fruity smoothie.

8. Cheaper Paper Goods - Restaurants are cutting back on napkins, if you want more you have to ask for them, they aren't sitting on the table any longer.
Kitchen changes - Use cloth napkins at the dinner table and toss in the wash at the end of the week. Same goes for the BBQ out back, no more paper plates when you can use regular plates and toss them in the washing machine

9. Begging for Sympathy - "More restaurants are posting signs asking us to appreciate they've had to make cutbacks and raise prices due to higher commodity and fuel prices"
Kitchen changes - Sometimes truthfulness is the best way to handle a party gathering, let them know about your creativity and you may be surprised at how relieved people are when they have to host next.


  1. Dollars Not Debt // Wednesday, February 03, 2010 9:19:00 AM  

    Great article. I am tracking my Debt Free process on Dollars Not Debt. The journey to pay off credit cards and consolidate debt to focus on one payment. My pf blog is new but fun.

  2. Kate Forgach // Wednesday, February 03, 2010 10:01:00 AM  

    Dawn: I love what you did with my post for Quite an ingenious way to repurpose. :-)

    I plan on referencing this clever post in my next Reading Recommendations on 02.09.10.


  3. Grammar Parrot // Wednesday, February 03, 2010 11:25:00 AM  

    Any ideas for finding cheap (reusable) napkins?

  4. Dawn // Wednesday, February 03, 2010 11:31:00 AM  

    @Dollars Not Debt
    Thank you for the info.

    @Kate Forgach
    Thanks for the head's up and that you like my repurposing. :D

    I'm so glad you asked! I have picked up cloth napkins at thift stores and yard sales and even gotten some as gifts.
    The first set of cloth towels I used was a thin pack of 6 kitchen towels that I bought for $1, they were perfect and I could get them wet for the messy BBQ chicken. :D

  5. Grammar Parrot // Wednesday, February 03, 2010 12:13:00 PM  

    If I get bored enough, I might try making my own. Here is a web site with patterns and tutorials:
    But the thrift store ones, if I can find them, would be much easier.

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  7. Natural soap // Friday, February 05, 2010 4:54:00 AM  

    It is only natural to consider having your kitchen laid out like a restaurant, this advice makes more sense!

  8. Amy Harper // Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:59:00 PM  

    Great blog! I am a mother of 2 and I am always looking for great deals :)

    I just bought a the Fuel Doctor FD-47 and also the Magic Jack and so far been happy.

    Any suggestions on how to save more money on dressing kids?

  9. Kathy // Saturday, September 18, 2010 2:27:00 PM  

    Good comments. I got some new ideas. I have been doing some of these already. Some to be frugal and some to keep more plastic and paper out of the landfills.

    One of the things I love to do to stretch a pot of chili is serve it over rice, pasta, or potatoes. It tastes great and the chili goes twice as far.

  10. Retail Signage // Monday, November 22, 2010 5:15:00 AM  

    Excellent article. I especially like #2 and #7. Very important in this economy.