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Dining at restaurants while trying to save money on food may seem a lot like trying to lose weight while eating stacks of decadent cookies on the reg. And there’s no wonder why. To turn a profit, restaurants generally charge about four times as much per dish as they paid for its individual ingredients—that’s a 400 percent markup. (I know, we died a little, too, when we found out!) And According to the National Restaurant Association, Americans spend more than $782 billion—yes, billion—at restaurants each year.