Clark’s top 10 restaurant apps for free food and discounts

Clark’s top 10 restaurant apps for free food and discounts
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All year long,‘s Michael Timmermann is sharing quick and easy ways to save money as part of our Michael Saves series. Check in every Monday as he puts new and familiar savings strategies to the test. Sign up for our newsletter to have these stories delivered to your inbox!

If you’ve been following money expert Clark Howard for a while, you know that fast food is one of his guilty pleasures — it’s cheap, quick and tastes so good!

But have you downloaded the apps for the places that you visit the most? Maybe you should.

Most of the major fast-food and fast-casual restaurant chains have been aggressively pushing their apps, which allow you to find nearby restaurants, view the menu and even place your order.

Read more: 5 secret menu hacks you probably haven’t tried

Download these apps for free food and discounts

The other day there was a line to the door at a popular quick-service restaurant I frequent, but since I ordered and paid through the app, I just went to the counter and picked up my food.

But these apps aren’t just putting the “fast” back into “fast food.” They can also save you money.

At that same restaurant, I overheard a cashier ask a customer if he was a loyalty club member. The customer said he had a card but never bothered to activate it.

“You and everybody else,” the cashier responded, explaining that he was missing out on rewards.

As you’ll see from our list below, most of these restaurant chains will give you something just for taking two minutes to sign up for their loyalty program — and the rewards only get better over time.


By ordering through the Chick-fil-A One app, customers can cut to the front of the line and receive free food, which the chain refers to as “treats.”

Examples of treats will vary, but it could be a Chick-fil-A Sandwich, Waffle Potato Fries or maybe even an Icedream.

After redeeming your treat, don’t forget to rate it within the app! This will help Chick-fil-A better personalize your treats to your preferences in the future.


Get the door. It’s Domino’s! The chain’s $5.99 menu gets even cheaper when you earn points that lead to free pizza.

Piece of the Pie Rewards is a pretty simple program. You earn 10 points for every online order of $10 or more and receive a free medium pizza after you earn 60 points.

Members are also automatically entered to win 10 shares of Domino’s stock! Read more here.

Panera Bread

Do you have a MyPanera Rewards card? The fast-casual chain known for its 100% clean menu will give you a treat (usually a pastry) just for signing up, plus something extra on your birthday!

Download Panera’s app to see your rewards and the number of visits until your next one.

Read more: 7 surprising things you might not know about Panera

Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Subs, the restaurant chain founded by firefighters, wants you to celebrate your birthday with a free medium sub!

By signing up for its rewards program, members earn points that can be redeemed for complimentary drinks, meal upgrades, and free subs and salads.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Could you use another cup of coffee today? Sign up for DD Perks to receive a free any size beverage coupon just for joining — and you’ll get one on your birthday, too!

With this program, you’ll earn five points for every $1 you spend and every 200 points gets you a free beverage.

Starbucks Rewards

Joining Starbucks Rewards does have its perks! In addition to a free birthday surprise, you can get free in-store refills.

Members earn two stars for every $1 they spend and receive a reward every 125 stars after reaching Gold Status, which is when you have 300 or more stars.

Packaged Starbucks coffee from the grocery store also counts! Here’s how to get credit for those purchases.


If you love the taste of a McDonald’s Big Mac, Chicken McNuggets or anything else on the menu, this app if your key to free food!

You know how you’ll get those McDonald’s coupons in the mail from time to time? You’ll find those offers and more in the deals section of the McDonald’s app.

Here are some of the offers available right now:

  • Buy five McCafé beverages, get one free
  • Free Minute Maid Slushie with any purchase
  • $1 off any purchase of $7 or more
  • Free Happy Meal with Premium Salad purchase
  • Buy any two breakfast sandwiches for $4

Read more: The secret reason why a McDonald’s Coke tastes the best

Jamba Juice

Want something a little healthier than most of the other places on this list? Join Jamba Insider Rewards to receive $3 off your next purchase and $3 off with every 35 points that you earn.

Like many of the other chains, there’s a birthday bonus: a free small smoothie!

Moe’s Southwest Grill

Founded in Atlanta, Moe’s Southwest Grill is known for its fresh, made-to-order food (no microwaves!) that’s served with free chips and salsa.

Rockin’ Rewards members get a free cup of queso for signing up and a free birthday burrito.

Auntie Anne’s

Love pretzels? Auntie Anne’s Original Pretzel, with just five grams of fat, may taste even better when it’s free!

The rewards system is straightforward. Pretzel Perks members earn 10 points for every $1 they spend and receive a free pretzel item after every 300 points.

You can score a free pretzel after your first purchase and on your birthday!

Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog,
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