9 Ways Restaurants Get You to Spend More

Times are tough for restaurants.

(Image credit: iStockphoto)

Times are tough for restaurants. The average check size has increased just 1.7% per year over the past five years, according to NPD Group, a market research firm. That’s because diners are watching what they spend at restaurants by forgoing pricey extras, such as drinks and appetizers, says Bonnie Riggs, NPD Group’s restaurant industry analyst.

In response to penny-pinching patrons, restaurant owners are compelled to find creative ways to get customers to fork over more cash. We’ve identified nine common tactics -- ranging from the subtle to the overt -- with the help of restaurant industry veterans, consultants and researchers. All are designed to increase the cost of your next meal out.

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Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for Kiplinger.com. She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.