Whether it’s a slightly burned beef patty, the wrong kind of soda, or a slightly overly filled burrito, you are never safe from mistakes and mix-ups that can occur with your fast-food order. You might think you can predict everything that can go wrong, but unless you know some real fast-food-saving-master-hacks, it’s a lost cause. So, sit back, grab a pen, and take some notes on these 10 Fast Food HACKS No One Told You About Before (Part 2).
10. Skip The Meat
As most of you might know, in order to keep costs low, the majority of fast-food outlets tend to use somewhat less than top of the line cuts of meat in their food. If you’re in search of a quality meaty burger, then a fast-food joint may not be the best place for you to be. However, if the meat is the least of your worries and you’re looking to get even more fiber in your diet, why not skip it completely? If you go to Taco Bell, for example, it might not save you any money, but it might still be worth it in the end. You can easily turn your order completely vegetarian without having to jump through hoops. Customers are allowed to replace the meat on any menu item for either potatoes or beans, free of charge. Not only will you ensure that no suspicious meat makes its way into your body, but you’ll also benefit from the feeling of eating a little bit healthier than usual. In places like Chipotle, you might get even more than you bargained for if you decide to go with a meatless option. You like to eat your food with guacamole but don’t feel like paying extra? If you opt to skip protein altogether in your burrito, they can give you that green bad boy for free. Another tip? Ask for it on the side; they tend to give you more on the side than if they put it on your burrito. Who needs meat when you’ve got free guac!
9. Straight-A’s Can Get You Food
This next fast-food hack will be especially useful if you or your kids get good report cards. It’s no secret that getting As is something almost everyone aimed to achieve in school. But, how would you feel if those efforts were rewarded, not by your school, but by your favorite fast-food restaurant? If you tend to get good grades, you’ll be happy to hear that some fast food outlets might reward you with a free treat. At Baskin-Robbins, they will give you a complimentary scoop of ice cream if you show them your report card. At Krispy Kreme, you will get one free doughnut for each A that you earned. That means if you got 6 As, get ready for half a dozen sweet goodies! Now, as for Chick-fil-A, you can get a free six-piece serving of chicken nuggets or even a free ice cream cone if there’s as much as one A on your report card! And at Wendy’s? You don’t even need an A. Bs are just as good to get a free treat! Of course, it’s not every location that will offer the same deals. A lot of fast-food locations are owned by franchisees, and not every franchise participates, so it’s better to call in advance just to make sure you don’t show up expecting freebies. So the lesson here is – always have your report card on hand so that when you’re lucky enough to find a fast-food chain offering this deal, you’ll be ready!
8. Take Advantage Of Made-Up Holidays
Have you ever heard of Talk Like A Pirate Day that takes place every September 19th? Or how about No Socks Day on May 8? The answer is probably no. The world is full of weird, superfluous made-up holidays that don’t really serve a purpose – except make us laugh – since most of them aren’t officially classified as sanctioned holidays. Or so you thought. Turns out, some of these totally random days could actually end up scoring you a discounted dish or even an entire free meal. Take into account the number of national “holidays” that involve food. National Pretzel Day, National Coffee Day, National Taco Day, and even National Margarita Day – to name a few. While they might seem like totally normal dates, some fast-food chains offer some pretty sweet deals on these days that most people don’t even know about. For instance, on February 9th, it’s National Pizza Day, and a lot of pizza joints sell their pies for much lower prices. In 2020, Papa John’s even slashed their menu prices by a whopping 25 percent. On the 13th of July, it’s White Castle’s turn to offer free small servings of fries for National French Fry Day. And, of course, for National Doughnut Day, most of your favorite places will give out free doughnuts. So, take advantage and find out when your favorite food holiday is!
7. Order Coffee Differently
Starting your day with a nice, cold ice latte is definitely one of the best ways to do so. However, if you’re an avid coffee drinker, you know how expensive it can end up being, particularly if you drink one every single morning. So, if you’re not ready to leave your precious latte behind but want to save some money, then this next hack is for you. On your next Starbucks coffee run, to save nearly $2 on your order, don’t order the iced latte directly. Instead, ask for a triple espresso on ice in a large cup. Then, head over to the condiment area and build your own latte by adding milk and sugar yourself, and voila! You’ve got a cheaper, and yet just as delicious iced latte that you didn’t have to pay a ridiculous amount for. Now, this hack might not work every time, especially in times of pandemic restrictions. Starbucks is mostly only doing takeout, so the milk stations aren’t open. Plus, if you order in the Starbucks app for pickup, ice and cold cups aren’t options when you order an espresso shot, so that could also be an issue. But, in regular times, this is the best way to save some bucks. In the meantime, just add the ice and the milk yourself when you get home. You won’t even notice the difference!
6. Freeze Your Condiment Packets
Show of hands: how many of you have a solid collection of little fast-food condiment packets hidden in a kitchen drawer? No matter what you eat or where you get it from, you always end up with some spare packets you never know what to do with – until now. Whether it’s the soy sauce from your Chinese take-out or your handful of taco sauce, there are tons of ways to make good use out of it. For example, some people take these little fast-food sauce packets and make even tastier, fancier sauces with them. Others make games out of it or simply integrate them into their everyday meals. But, the ultimate way to reuse the packets? Put them in the freezer! But, why would you want to freeze little leftover sweet and sour sauce packets, you ask? Because they make the perfect mini ice packs! You can use them to relieve the pain of minor bumps, bruises, and cuts, or better yet, bring them in your packed lunches! Not only will they help keep your lunch cold and fresh, but they’ll also make the perfect condiments for your meals. By the time you’re ready to eat, they will have melted enough to be used. Now you can add chilled taco sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce, or even dressing to your sandwich or salad!
5. Ask for Subway’s V-Cut
How many times have you bitten so eagerly in your sub, only to have all the fillings go anywhere but your mouth? It happens way too often, and there’s nothing more infuriating than having to rebuild your entire sandwich because it just won’t stay where it’s supposed to. Thankfully, there is a very simple, very effective way to save some time – and some toppings – during your next visit to Subway. If you want to avoid the mess, ask the employee to cut a deep V into the roll. This way, it’ll leave a wedge-shaped top and a more stable bottom to hold the fillings much better. Funnily enough, before 2000, they used to cut all the bread like this, meaning every sub was held together perfectly, but for some reason, Subway decided to change their cutting technique and opted for the straight across cut. Apparently, the v-cut fell out of fashion because it wasn’t the best way to cut subs with patty-shaped meats. Yet, it’s proven to be the most efficient way to prevent messes. Either way, you can still ask for it to be cut that way at Subway, or basically any other sub shop. Sure, you might have to explain what the heck you’re talking about, but in the end, you’ll be glad you did because it’ll change the way you eat your subs forever.
4. Order With The App
Nowadays, you can pretty much get anything you want with just one click of a button – and that applies to fast-food as well. If you feel like eating a fast-food burger, chances are, there’s an app for the place you’re craving. Many chains have their own app and offer some good perks to those who use them. Special deals, rewards programs, and even scannable coupons are usually what awaits you if you order using the app. For example, if you download the Dairy Queen app, you can get a free small Blizzard! Then there are the rewards programs from places like Dominos and Starbucks, which let you accumulate points and eventually cash in to get free stuff. For McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A, you can order and pay for your food online while benefitting from discounts and coupons offered exclusively via the app. Now onto the free goodies. With Krispy Kreme and Jamba Juice, you can get a freebie for your birthday! And Red Robin goes even further – just show up during your birthday month, and you’ll get a free burger. There are so many advantages to using these apps, and all you need to do is download and enjoy!
3. Build Your Own Big Mac
Ah, the Big Mac. One of the most iconic and popular items sold at McDonald’s – right after the French fries, of course. With around 1.5 million Big Macs sold in the United States every single day, it’s easy to see just how much people love it. However, it’s not exactly the cheapest item on McD’s menu. Depending on where you are, they can be quite expensive, and sometimes, a little too big for your appetite – especially if you’ve ordered a lot of other food to go with it. If you’re tired of forgoing your beloved nuggets because they’re always too much after a Big Mac, and you’re tired of paying more, worry not, we have got the perfect solution for you. All you need to do is order a Double Cheeseburger and customize it. Just replace the ketchup and mustard with some lettuce and Big Mac sauce and let the magic happen! This item has been unofficially called a Poor Man’s Big Mac. Okay, yes, you’ll be missing the middle bun and the sesame seeds, but depending on the location, you could end up saving over $2 on your sandwich! And, apparently, this knockoff has a better cheese game than its predecessor. The slice of cheese placed in between the two patties gives it an extra softness that just can’t compare.
2. The Split And Share Method
If you tend to go on your fast-food craving adventures with a partner in crime, then you might want to pay attention to this next hack – it might save you a lot of money. Usually, everyone orders their food separately. Makes sense since everybody pays for themselves. But, if you notice you always both get the same thing at Subway or Starbucks, it would be a good idea to start splitting the bill and ordering together. Do you remember Subway’s five-dollar footlong catchy commercial? Well, while not every footlong is $5, it’s still a lot cheaper than ordering 2 separate six-inch sandwiches. If a 12-inch sub is too much for you, all you have to do is split it with a friend. You have to choose the same meat and the cheese first, but as long as this is agreed on, you can customize your half the way you want it. Vegetables, condiments, it’s all up to you! You’ll each end up saving a dollar or two, which isn’t a lot, but still worth it! The same goes for Starbucks lovers. If you and your friend usually order the same tall Caramel Macchiato with extra caramel drizzle, try ordering one venti instead and ask for two Tall cups. A venti drink is 24 ounces, while a tall is half that, at 12 ounces. It’ll undoubtedly be less money than ordering two separate drinks, and this way, you’ll also save the time and effort of your barista – who will only have to make one drink.
1. Bring Your Reusable Mug
This one should go without saying and should also already be something you do as often as you can. The amount of garbage caused by disposable coffee cups is insane and needs to be reduced as much as possible. So much so, that the government has even been considering adding an extra cost to customer’s bills when they use these cups. A lot of companies have tried to deal with the growing problem of non-recyclable, one-use, polyethylene-lined coffee cups by developing recyclable cups and lids, but that’s only a handful of businesses. More common chains, like Starbucks, have implemented more drastic solutions; a discount when you bring your own reusable mug. If you bring your mug, not only will you get 10 cents off, but you’ll most likely end up getting a little extra coffee. They charge you for the cup size that’s closest to what you bring in, so if your mug looks like a grande but is actually a tiny bit more, score! Other chains like Seattle’s Best and Peet’s have also started to offer discounts, with smaller, independent coffee shops not too far behind. By bringing your reusable mug, you will help keep the planet a little cleaner and avoid the endless pile of old coffee cups cluttering up your car.