“Kathleen, when I was in Panama in February I was talking with a restaurant owner about the benefits retirees are offered there. One in particular, 50% off restaurant meals, he said was up to the restaurant owner to give. He said he did not receive the 50% back from the government. Is this accurate?”
–Nancy M., Overseas Retirement Circle Member, United States
First, to clarify, the restaurant discount for pensionados in Panama is not 50%. If it were, there would be no restaurants in Panama. The discount is 20% for better restaurants and 15% for informal ones. The discount does not apply to beverages, and some restaurants apply it only to the cost of the entrée.
The government does not reimburse the businesses for the discount, and fondas (little hole-in-the-wall local eateries), which have very small margins, do not give the discount.
All that said, the discount is set by law and is not optional. However, you are meant to tell the server that you qualify for the discount prior to asking for the bill.
Continue reading: Where To Invest In Real Estate In Medellin, Colombia