Set menus normally mean good value, but this week I nearly fell foul to some dodgy pricing.
I stayed overnight in a hotel for work this week. A pretty standard Holiday Inn (perfectly nice for what it was). Attached was a Marco Pierre White branded Italian restaurant, and my colleagues and I chose to eat there.
At first glance the set menu seemed pretty decent for hotel restaurants. Two courses for £20 or three for £25. I wasn’t sure I wanted more than just a main so I checked the normal menu too, and I was shocked by what I found.
I should have taken a photo for the exact prices, but most of the starters were priced at £6.95, the mains around £12 and the deserts at £5.95
That means you could easily be spending MORE money ordering the same items on the set menu than ordering them seperately.
In fact, there was only one main (salmon at around £18) where the set menu would have saved you money.
I was with two money savvy colleagues and neither thought to check the other menu, so I’m sure most people turn up and just presume the set menu was a great deal. Well it wasn’t, and the restaurant will be making a tidy profit!
It’s just one occasion where it literally pays you to double check that a combo offer is giving good value.
Here are three other big ones to watch out for
1. Mobile phone contracts
You probably think it doesn’t matter which contract you sign up for. The cheaper monthly contract or cheaper upfront cost for a handset might seem like the best bets depending on what you can afford each month.
But the total cost almost always works out at different in the long run.
To make sure you get the best deal, multiply the monthly cost by the length of the contract and add on the handset cost. Then compare it to a deal with different pricing structure.
2. Multibuy supermarket deals
Three for a pound! Two for a fiver! Sounds good until you realise you’re only saving 10p. Even multipacks don’t always work out cheaper than buying individually.
The clever site and app MySupermarket is handy here too as you can track the price of an item in the last few months so you’ll know if it’s good price with or without the multibuy offer.
3. Airplane and hotel packages
I’ll always check these deals when I’m planning a holiday but I’m yet to find a package that works out cheaper than shopping around and buying my flights and accommodation separately.