5 ways you can dine at fancy Singapore restaurants for half the price

Open Door Policy, a restaurant at Tiong Bahru.

The Straits Times

Eating out in Singapore can be very expensive.

A simple bowl of congee in a Chinese restaurant in town can cost as much as $12 if you include GST and service charge. On average, you can expect to spend between $20 to $30 per person when dining out in Singapore.

But this is Singapore after all, where we always hope to get more bang for the buck. The good news is that businesses are well aware of that, and have come up with all sorts of ways for kiasu Singaporeans to get the best deals – you just have to know where to look.

1) On your mobile

Using mobile apps to score discounts is so common now that there is no longer any excuse for you to be paying full price for your meals outside.

One of the most widely-used apps is The Entertainer, which offers 1-for-1 deals on a large number of participating restaurants including Peperoni Pizzeria, Open Door Policy, Kith Cafe and a whole lot more.

This year, the fee for a one-year sign-up is $125, but those who purchased the product in 2016 managed to snag it at an early-bird price. Its sister app, Cheers, also offers 1-for-1 deals on drinks at bars and restaurants across Singapore.

Another highly-rated app called Eatigo offers discounts at popular restaurants like Paul and Crystal Jade. Unlike The Entertainer, there is no prerequisite fee you have to pay, but the discounts offered can range from 10% to 50% depending on the restaurant and time slot you choose.

2) On food websites

If you’re already using websites like Chope and HungryGoWhere to make reservations for your dinner dates, you should also utilise their exclusive promotions pages for dining offers.

Some of these restaurants are newcomers but many are also highly-rated establishments.

Screengrab of HungryDeals

Food reservation sites also offer discounts for special events like wine tastings and champagne brunches, as well as special occasion meal packages such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day set meals.

So you see, there really is no need to break the bank to impress someone you like. It’s the quality of the date that makes the experience.

3) Through reward programmes

The next time you’re at your favourite restaurant, check with service staff if the restaurant is a participant in any rewards or deals programmes.

Many Japanese restaurants, for example, are enrolled in the J Passport programme. Members of J Passport are offered sign-up promotions and have access to regular discounts at participating restaurants.

If you frequent a certain mall or area, you can also sign up for memberships specific to that place. For instance, Ion Orchard’s Ion+ Rewards programme and Suntec City’s Suntec Rewards programme both offer exclusive discounts on shopping and dining via their respective mobile apps. You can also earn points with dollars spent, and redeem these points for prizes or other privileges at the malls.

4) Via credit card promotions

Credit cards in Singapore offer a wide range of perks, and if you dine out often, you should consider signing up for a card with restaurant-related benefits.

If you opt to have the latest promotions emailed to you, you will receive regular updates on the latest deals offered by your credit card company. Many times, these discounts can go up to 50% with 1-for-1 offers at high-end restaurants.

While you may not utilise these deals for every meal, such promotions can come in handy when you want to have a nice meal for special occasions like a family gathering or a big birthday celebration.

5) On coupon sites

Coupon websites may have gotten some flak previously, but if you are careful with your purchases, the deals can still be pretty sweet.

Fave, which was previously known as Groupon, received a fresh makeover in recent months and is now easier to navigate than before. Some of the deals offered in the last couple of months include a 55% discount for a Peranakan buffet dinner at Hotel Grand Pacific, and 78% off the usual price of a lobster and sushi meal at Amara Hotel’s Santaro By Gion.

And if you are an online shopper, you may have realised that online mall Qoo10 also has a deals section where you can buy restaurant vouchers at cheaper rates. On this site, you can read real user reviews of the deals offered before deciding whether or not to buy it.

So if you find a deal is not as good as it seems, you can take your money somewhere else.