While there are lots of conscientious local steakhouse owners out there who want to do right by their customers, you want to be extra diligent when dining out. It’s not exactly unheard of for a restaurant to get one over you.

So before you book a table at a good steakhouse, it’s a smart idea to be well-informed. Here are a few common tricks some unscrupulous restaurants use to maximize profits:

  1. They claim to offer prime beef. A truly fine steak dinner involves a grade of meat that’s flavorful and richly marbled. The problem is that prime beef is rather expensive, and they’re not all that common either. So some steak houses may say that their beef is great even when it’s not.

This is rather common when some steakhouses boast their “Angus beef.” Angus prime beef is great when it comes to marbling, juiciness, and flavor. But some beef have the Angus tag and they’re not as good. They may be referring to “Angus” beef that even fast food joints brag about—and those aren’t really great.

  1. They don’t cook it properly. Some steakhouses take shortcuts that maximize their profits, but they reduce the quality of the steak. Some places actually precook their steaks during the day, and then finish cooking them when a customer orders the steak. The problem with this method is that the juices escape during the first stage of cooking.

Another common crime in the kitchen is when they cram too many steaks into their broiler at the same time. That disrupts the cooking temperatures, and the beef isn’t prepared properly as a result. You want your steak prepared just right. You’re paying extra for good food so it better be worth every penny.

  1. Only expensive wines are offered. A full-bodied red wine goes very well with steak. Most people know this, and steakhouse managers certainly know it too.

In most establishments, wines are offered at double the retail price. So it means that they make more money when they serve expensive wines. So in some cases, steakhouses only stock the most expensive wines since their customers have no choice but to pick from the wine list.

If your steakhouse really cares about their customers, they’ll offer a more extensive wine list that includes affordable red wines. Try the red wine from South America or Spain—the price is reasonable and yet they offer great value. How can you enjoy a good steak if you’re worried about the cost of your drink, right?

  1. They offer high prices for side dishes. In some steakhouses, the sides are where they make the real profits. The raw ingredients in some side dishes only cost a few cents, and yet they can charge $10 and up for the dish.

To avoid these problems, stick to the basics. All you really need with your steak is a salt-crusted baked potato. Perhaps you can also get a side of sautéed mushrooms.

We’re not saying that steakhouses are out to scam you. But there are certainly those who are only out to make profits and don’t really care about their customers. Knowing what to watch out for will help you avoid becoming a victim and ensure you are always getting value for your money when eating out. Hopefully this article will be helpful next time you’re having steak for dinner!