Must-Have Restaurant Apps
Article by Angie Kibiloski
For the next installment of my favorite, must-have apps, I want to talk about some fantastic restaurant apps, which reward you with free food items. These could be rewards after you’ve made a number of qualifying purchases, given out for your birthday, or other random times throughout the year. As with the shopping apps I highlighted in my last article, these restaurant apps have been around for awhile, and are for major chains, but there are so many people I talk to who either don’t know these apps exist, or just have never bothered downloading them. After reading about them all, click on the links in each listing, and start earning free food treats for yourself. So many restaurants have their own apps now, so this is by no means a complete list, just a few that I personally use all of the time. If your favorite eatery isn’t listed, check with them, they may have a rewarding app to offer too.
Let’s start with breakfast, the most important meal of the day, and the app that I use most frequently. Starbuck’s has long since had a great loyalty program, before their app existed, but the app opens up a lot more functionality than just swiping your Starbuck’s card. In fact, I very rarely use my physical card anymore, since I always have access to my stored funds through the app. You can use it to browse their menu, place a mobile order, activate Offers to earn extra Stars, and cash in your Stars for food items. These Stars are the main way this app gives you free food or beverage rewards. Each time you make a purchase, you earn Stars, 2 per $1 spent, and once you’ve collected enough, you can trade them in for things like coffee, breakfast sandwiches, lunch salads, and even bagged coffee beans, depending on the number of Stars you want to spend. Bonus Stars can also be earned by completing purchase Offers, which I think of like little quests, or playing the games that they hold a few times a year. For instance, one of their frequent Star Offers might be to make any purchase 2 days in a row to earn 25 Bonus Stars. Their most recent game had you hopping around a board to land on mini-game spaces and earn rewards, with each purchase earning you a turn. You will also be gifted a special treat on your birthday, which allows you to get any food or beverage item of your choice. If you go to Starbuck’s often, this is a must-have app, for all the extra treats you can earn, and the convenience of having it all at your fingertips. If you don’t have this app already, get it here for either Android or iOS.
Krispy Kreme is another breakfast app that you’ve gotta get. Krispy Kreme gives you a great free reward for your birthday, which is usually your choice of doughnut and beverage, any size, any variety. There will also be periodic Offers in the app, like the frequent Free Original Glazed Dozen, when you purchase any other dozen, or a free doughnut to celebrate the release of a new flavor, like their recent Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup partnership. You’ll also earn free food and beverages after you make a certain number of purchases, and scan your app when paying. For instance, buy 12 donuts and get one free, or buy 12 coffees and get one free. Like with most restaurant apps, you can find your nearest location through the app, but an awesome additional feature lets you know when their delicious Original Glazed doughnuts are coming hot and fresh off the baking line at any given location. You also get a free Welcome doughnut, so go sign up today, with Android or iOS, and enjoy some delicious, doughy goodness.
Moving on to lunch and dinner, how about a nice healthy sub sandwich? There are several major sub chains that offer apps, but I’d like to highlight Firehouse Subs, not just because they have a great rewards program and a colorful, super easy to navigate app, but also because a portion of each purchase goes towards local fire stations and first responder charities. The app allows you to place a mobile order, as well as track your Rewards points, which you earn every time you make a purchase, 1 point for every penny spent. Oddly, you can’t scan your app in-store to earn, the cashier has to type in your phone number. You do get a fancy firemen’s emblem Rewards Badge in the app, with your phone number emblazoned on it, so I’m not sure why they don’t add a barcode too. You can view all the different food items you can earn by collecting your points, like a Small Sub for 6,000 points, or a Medium Sub for 8,000. You will also be periodically rewarded with a free fountain drink with purchase, or other treats, as well as a Medium Sub of your choice during your birthday month. Their subs are SO good, and I look forward to this reward every year. The Rewards don’t stop there. You’ll get a Welcome Reward of a fountain drink when you sign up, and you can earn bonus points when you refer friends who sign up through the app. Firehouse Subs just has really delicious, high quality food too, so if you have a location near you, make sure to download the app, for Android or iOS, and start enjoying it all today.
Are you more in the pizza mood, especially a made-to-order, wood-fired pizza? Blaze Pizza has an easy to use app, that offers you mobile ordering, an order history so you can quickly reorder a favorite creation, and access to their Rewards program. With this, you’ll earn Flames each time you make a purchase, 1 Flame per $1, as well as random periodic free Rewards and Offers, like BOGO pizzas, and $1 agua frescas. Accumulate 120 flames, and you’ll get a free pizza. You’ll get a free dessert item during your birthday month, and a $3.14 pizza on Pi day, both accessible only through the app. You’ll be awarded a free fountain drink when you sign up, and bonus Flames if your referred friends sign up. I love Blaze Pizza, so this is an app I use on a pretty regular basis, especially when they have an in-app coupon. Get in on the wood-fired deliciousness now, for Android or iOS.
My 2nd most used app, right after Starbuck’s, is from Veggie Grill, my very favorite vegan fast food chain. They have maybe the best Rewards program around, and are constantly giving out discount codes or free items. It seems like every other week I get an in-app offer for $5 off a purchase, or a free appetizer with the purchase of a drink. By scanning the in-app barcode when you pay, you’ll earn a $9 Reward credit after spending $99 over time. You’ll also be treated to monetary credit for your birthday, $10 if I remember correctly, as well as an $8 sign up Reward credit. You’ll even get a bonus $5 when you refer a friend, and they’ll get that gift too. Of course, you can do all the other standard app activities, like placing mobile orders, tracking your purchase history, and finding locations near you. Their food is fantastic, with so much variety of types and flavors, that I think even non-vegans would appreciate it. Grab this app today, for Android or iOS, and start enjoying all of their plant-based offerings and numerous Rewards.
Sometimes all we want is a little something to snack on, and a great stand-by, especially when out shopping, is a hot, fresh pretzel. The wonderful buttery smell from the pretzel stand can draw you in from clear across the mall. What better to go along with a yummy pretzel than free Rewards? Wetzel’s Pretzels and Auntie Anne’s both have Rewards apps, but there’s not a whole lot to say about either, so I’ve decided to combine this into a single listing. In both apps, you’ll earn a free pretzel just for signing up, another free pretzel on your birthday, and another one after meeting a purchase requirement. For Wetzel’s, your free pretzel is awarded after 6 pretzel purchases, and for Auntie Anne’s it’s after earning 250 purchase points, which is $25 in spending. You’ll also get various randomly awarded treats and coupons throughout the year. Find your nearest location in both apps, browse the menu and get bonuses when your friends sign up in Auntie Anne’s, and utilize Mobile Pay and send e-gift cards in Wetzel’s. If you’re a pretzel lover, both apps are worth having on your phone, for those peckish moments in the mall. Download them now and start earning those delicious twisty treats. Wetzels: for Android and iOS. Auntie Anne’s: for Android and iOS.
Want something a bit more substantial for a rewarding snack, how about a corndog? Hot Dog on a Stick has an app that’ll earn you free stick items, for making purchases, referring friends, and at special times throughout the year. Each time you make a purchase, you’ll earn Sticks, and when you collect enough, cash them in for some yummy goodies on a stick. Get $3 off a purchase when you sign up, enjoy a free birthday portion of Funnel Cake Sticks, a free stick item on the anniversary of your joining, and access periodic discounts and other free treats. You can also refer a friend and get a free item when they make their 1st purchase. They’ve recently made major updates to their Rewards program, with an all new app, so even if you’ve downloaded this app previously, you’ll want to check out all the new features they have to offer. Start getting your Sticks together, for Android or iOS.
Alright, so now it’s time for dessert, and this final app will be for one of my favorite places to get a sweet treat, Yogurtland. It’s always so much fun to go in and sample the seasonal flavors, then customize my own bowl of frozen yogurty goodness. With their Real Rewards app, the experience is even better. First of all, you can find a location near you, browse the entire menu of flavors, and see which flavors your preferred location currently has ready for serving. In the store, scan the app at the register, and earn 2 points for every $1 towards free yogurt, typically 3 oz. or 5 oz., depending on your Real Rewards tier level. You’ll get 3 oz. free when you sign up, and another 3 oz. free for your birthday. Periodically, you’ll also get a surprise free 3 oz. offer just for being a member. The app is clear and easy to use, and the yogurt is delicious, so why not go and enjoy them both right now. Here’s the app for Android and iOS.
That does it for my list of recommended restaurant Rewards apps, but I’m sure there as so many more out there. As I said, these are just the apps I use most often, from some of my favorite places to grab a bite. If your preferred restaurant isn’t on here, I’ll bet they have an app too, and all you need to do is search for it. Since all of these apps can earn you free food, either by making purchases or just simply by being a member, there’s no good reason not to download them immediately, sign up, and start earning rewards. Who doesn’t like free food, especially when it’s good free food, and easy to earn? Enjoy!