If you’re a family of four or five, eating out isn’t exactly cheap these days, not even at a fast food place. At a time when every penny counts, more and more consumers are approaching restaurant menus with a cocked eye looking for ways they can save a little on their meal.
One of the prime motivators that restaurants are using to give their customers a price advantage is their app, but as ConsumerAffairs recently found out, there’s more than one way to skin a menu at all of the U.S. largest chains – especially the well-loved Chick-fil-A.
Kyle James at Rather-Be-Shopping.com recently shared his narrative about how he nearly had to take out a loan to pay for a recent family outing at Chick-fil-A. “So I figured it was time to research some clever ways to save money on my next trip to Chick-fil-A,” he said, and set out to do just that.
Here’s some of what he came up with…
Yummy and cheap grilled cheese
Wait a minute – there’s no grilled cheese on the menu at Chick-fil-A! Well, James disagrees.
“Just order a “Toasted bun with cheese” and they’ll gladly hook you up,” James mentioned in his Chick-Fil-A secret menu article. “The price at most locations will run you about a buck, even less in some areas. Also, don’t forget you can even have them add whatever veggies or condiments you may want at no extra charge.”
App, app, and app some more.
As ConsumerAffairs has recently reported, restaurant apps may be the best money-saving advantage diners have these days. But James especially loves the Chick-fil-A app, calling it “the best thing to come along since sliced bread.”
“Not only does it allow you to place an order and then slide in for a stealth pickup or delivery, but you can quickly rack up Reward Points to be used for free food and treats in the future. And by future, I mean like probably your next visit as it doesn’t take many points to earn free goodies.”
And if apps and privacy are a concern, Chick-fil-A says its app doesn't share user data with other companies or organizations.
A hidden BLT for under $2
Another hidden gem is Chick-fil-A’s version of the BLT. It’s essentially a lettuce wrap with ripe tomatoes and crispy bacon in the middle, but James says that you can add in the sauce of your choice for no extra charge. From his research, the price of the BLT is $1.89 on average, but depending on location, that price might vary a smidge here and there.
Forget the toy, go for the ice cream
“When you order your child a Kid’s Meal at Chick-fil-A, keep in mind that you can opt for an ice cream cone instead of the cheap plastic toy,” James suggests. “It’s a tasty win for your kid, and the bottom of your foot will thank you too.”
But, a little piece of advice: “Be sure to tell them when you order as they won’t take back the toy once you or your child has handled it.”
Military? Senior? Student?
Many Chick-fil-A locations offer special deals for active military, military veterans, senior citizens, students, and other special groups. But, it’s a location-by-location thing so you need to contact your local Chick-fil-A restaurant for more information. Here’s a link to those and their phone numbers.
Receipt surveys are your BFF
To many, restaurant receipts are just an unnecessary piece of paper, but James says that there’s savings gold printed on each one.
“Instead, take a closer look at it and notice the ‘Survey offer’ near the bottom. All you gotta do is visit the website listed, answer a few questions about your meal/visit and they’ll send you an offer to collect a FREE sandwich,” he said.
However, there is a little wrinkle that you need to understand – you have to complete the survey within 48 hours of your visit or you get nothing.
If you’re a family, then order the 'family meal'
Another app feature James thinks is a huge plus is the “Family Meal” section. He said that by creating his family’s meals this way he could’ve saved close to $10 on pretty much the exact same meals that he paid nearly $60 for.
“It should be noted that the selection on the family meals is very basic and only includes their regular and spicy chicken sandwich but you can customize them however you please,” he noted, adding that this “family” thing also includes all of the chain’s regular sides, sauces, and desserts.
You say it’s your birthday?
Everyone loves to indulge themselves with something sweet on their birthday and Chick-fil-A is ready to help with a freebie Chocolate Chunk cookie.
“The best part? The offer that they email you gives you a month to collect, so no pressure, which is very thoughtful,” James said.
Hungry? Poor? Try this…
“Order the Four Chick-N-Strip entrée and 2 buttered buns and make your own sandwiches,” James says. “Don’t forget to slather on your favorite sauce and bam, you just got two chicken sammies and saved a couple bucks in the process.”