How to Save on Takeaway Food

Getting a takeaway is one of life's simple pleasures but it can be costly. So we've put together some tips on how to save on takeaway food.

A selection of takeaway food including a burger, fries and Chinese made out of brightly coloured paper on a yellow background.
(Image credit: Getty)

Whether it’s pizza, burgers or your regular Chinese, a takeaway with your friends and family is a firm favourite for most of us. But as much as we all love a takeaway, they can quickly become expensive and household budgets are stretched further than ever. 

We’ve written guides on how to save on groceries, eat healthily for less, have a BBQ on a budget and have a budget-friendly picnic. As well as a guide on how apps such as Too Good To Go can help you save money on food and help you reduce food waste. So we thought it was about time we put together some little hints, tips, and ways to save on takeaway food! 

Discount Codes

The first tip for saving is, and the reason we’re all here, the humble discount code. Discount codes are one of the most straightforward ways to save money on takeaways. These codes can offer everything from savings on your food to free delivery. So whether you’re ordering through an app such as Deliveroo, Just Eat or Uber Eats or ordering directly from the takeaway if it’s a chain, then you’ll more than likely be able to find a code for your order.  

Don’t Order Through Third Party Apps

Although they’ve become everyone’s go-to when ordering takeaway, sometimes third-party delivery apps may mean that you’re paying more than you could be. Whether it’s restaurants and takeaways charging more to cover the cut that the apps take or the delivery and service fees, a large chunk of what you’re paying can be for things other than your food. You’ll probably save yourself some money by doing things the old-fashioned way, ordering directly.

However, sometimes it’s definitely worthwhile downloading through the takeaway’s own app if they’ve got one. They’ll sometimes offer welcome deals to new customers giving them money off their first order or even exclusive deals not available in other apps.

But if You Do, Use a Code

A Man delivering takeaway food in brown paper bags to a front door.

(Image credit: Getty)

However, if you are going to use the apps then make sure to wait until you’ve got a discount code. Discount codes for the delivery apps can help by removing delivery fees which in tandem with special offers on the app can help you save. Alternatively if one of the apps is offering a code for £10 or £15 off, for example, even with the added fees you’ll still be saving on your final bill!

Raise Any Issues With Your Order

Another thing to keep in mind when ordering through one of the apps is to raise any issues that you had with your order with their customer service team. Did your food take too long to be delivered or arrived cold? Let them know. Something was missing or wasn’t cooked properly? Then definitely let them know. When there’s an issue with an order, delivery apps tend to offer discounts on future orders to keep customers onside, so it’s a good way to make the best of a bad situation. 

Multiple Accounts in the House

When using the delivery apps, if you live with multiple people, then be sure to use separate accounts to order. Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats all offer discounts to users that haven’t ordered in a little while to pull you back in. So with a constant rotation of different accounts to order from, you should hopefully regularly have a code or a discount to save on your next order, and if you don’t you’re probably ordering too regularly! 

If there’s only one or two of you in the house then this is a bit trickier. However, just making sure to order off of different apps each time should hopefully work the same and net you some savings! 

Ordering Mid Week

A green neon arrow sign with the word 'takeaway' in red neon next to it.

(Image credit: Getty)

Whilst it’s traditional to get a takeaway on a Friday or Saturday night, moving the meal to a weeknight is a great way to save! Pizza places are well known for offering deals on a Tuesday, the best known are the 2-for-1 deals that Domino’s and Papa Johns offer. 

It’s not only pizza places getting in on the weekday savings, the delivery apps do it too. Deliveroo offers users the chance to save 20% on selected orders on Thursdays with their Tasty Thursdays promotion and Just Eat gives you the chance to get 20% off selected orders on Tuesdays with their Cheeky Tuesdays offers.

Collecting It Yourself

An easy way to save, depending on how local you live to where you’re ordering from, is to opt to collect your order. By choosing to collect your order yourself, you’ll be able to shave a few quid off the cost of your order. Whilst it’s a small saving if it’s a one-off, if you’re regularly ordering from a favourite place, you could save a serious amount over the course of the year. 

Drinks and Desserts from Shops

A little bit of planning ahead or a quick trip to the shop whilst you’re waiting for your delivery can also help you save. Drinks and desserts, that’s if you even need anything else after your meal, tend to be much more expensive from takeaways than from shops. So with just a little bit of extra planning and an extra journey to the supermarket, you can get even more for your money.  

Order Large Pizzas

Children's hands each taking a slice of pizza from a cardboard pizza box.

(Image credit: Getty)

This tip is purely for those pizza orders. Instead of going for two small pizzas, you get more for your money by ordering a single large one instead. Thanks to a little bit of maths, in particular, the formula πr2. Using this formula, ordering a single large pizza will get you more for your money than ordering two smalls. It may mean having to compromise on toppings though. However, two medium-sized pizzas will get you even more for your money. As shown in the table below using Domino’s as an example: 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 SizeArea
Small9.5 inches222.46 square inches
Medium11.5 inches325.98 square inches
Large13.5 inches449.23 square inches

So as you can see from the table above, two small pizzas will get you 444.92 square inches of pizzas, whereas a large one gets you 449.23 square inches. On the other hand, two mediums get you, a frankly whopping, 651.96  square inches. 

Rewards Schemes

If you regularly order from the same places, it’s definitely worth checking if they’ve got any reward schemes. In fact, we’ve written before about how much coffee reward schemes can save you. Most of the big takeaway chains offer one as a way to reward regular customers, Papa Johns, for example, runs their Papa Rewards scheme. By signing up you’ll start to collect one point for every £4 that you spend, so by spending £100 and earning yourself 25 points you’ll be able to get yourself a free large pizza! Whilst spending £100 to get a free one sounds like a lot, depending on how often you order you can quickly start racking those points up.

Papa Johns isn’t the only place that offers a rewards scheme, McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Zizzi and Pizza Express all offer their own to name a few. 

Meerkat Meals

Next time you’re looking at comparing prices of insurance, why not use Compare The Market to find a deal on insurance as well as save on food? By comparing and buying an eligible product, you can earn yourself a tonne of discounts on eating out as well as 50% off Domino’s, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut Delivery. 

If you’re not on the lookout for any insurance policies but still want to save similar savings, then why not check out Tastecard? You’ll get a range of discounts on dining out including 2 for 1 and 25% off food and drinks, savings on cinema tickets and days out as well as the same 50% off pizza deliveries.

So are there any other ways?

There is another way to save on takeaways that doesn’t actually involve takeaways at all! The easiest way to save money on takeaways, as with all things, is simply just not to buy them. Plenty of takeaways can be replicated at home for a fraction of the cost, plus by making them at home you’ll be able to have much more fun! 

Jordan Alexander
Food & Drink Editor

I’m Jordan and I’ve been working at MyVoucherCodes since the summer of 2021. Outside of money-saving, I’m a keen musician and guitar player and can regularly be found in a dingy venue somewhere in Bristol or perched in front of my laptop recording. When I’m not doing this you’ll find me exploring the city, watching cult B movies, reading a Stephen King or Murakami novel, or guiding the mighty Bath City to Champions League glory on Football Manager. All the cliches, I know.