Chick-fil-A is delicious. There's no way around it. That spicy chicken sandwich is divine.Heck, I just ate and looking at the picture of the dang thing is making my mouth water.
My kids love it too. Six piece nugget, fruit cup, and a chocolate milk. Sometimes juice.
Want to know the best hacks for getting the most out of your next visit? I'll hook you up.
Swap the Kid's Meal Prize for a Cone
When you order a Kid's Meal, it comes with a toy or board book. If your kids prefer (and you prefer to let them have it), you can swap that toy for an Icedream cone or cup.
Free Chick-fil-A for a Year: Be a First 100®
Chick-fil-A does a fun thing whenever they open a new franchise location.
It's called the First 100®. If you are one of the first one hundred people at a new Chick-fil-A opening, you can win Free Chick-fil-A food for a year. It's 52 coupons you can use to redeem a Chick-fil-A sandwich meal (sandwich, waffle fries and drink).
It's not technically the first hundred in line, they now do a lottery with a drawing period. This is to avoid craziness and something I fully support. There are also geographic restrictions, you have to live in one of the eligible zip codes near the restaurant (though the regions are fairly large). Check the rules.
(thanks to Erin Chase of $5 Dinners for these photos of an opening in Atlanta!)
As people wait, there are employees outside feeding folks and there's a drink machine too. It's not like camping overnight for a new video game or anything crazy like that… Chick-fil-A has done these enough that it even sounds like a pleasant experience!
Get the Chick-fil-A Cow Calendar
The calendar is available for a limited time each year but you get free stuff each month.
Six of those months are listed as mystery offers, to be listed that month, but the other six are worth way more than the price of the calendar (usually $7 + $4.99 shipping):
Here's what was in the 2017 Cow Calendar:
- January – Small bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup or Seasonal Chicken Tortilla Soup
- February – The Mystery Offer for February is your choice of Chick-n-MinisTM (3-count) (available during breakfast hours only) OR Greek Yogurt Parfait
- March – Any size Coca-Cola® soft drink OR Dasani® Bottled Water
- April – Mystery Offer
- May – 8-count Classic or Grilled Chick-fil-A® Nuggets
- June – Mystery Offer
- July – Small hand-spun Milkshake
- August – Mystery Offer
- September – Mystery Offer
- October – Any size Coca-Cola® soft drink OR Dasani® Bottled Water
- November – Mystery Offer
- December – Chick-fil-A® Original, Spicy OR Grilled Chicken Sandwich
The calendar comes with a card that you bring to the restaurant to redeem your food.
Make Small Modifications for Freshness
Chick-fil-A pumps out a lot of food and sometimes it feels like your food is ready before you finish paying – because it is!
To get it the freshest as possible, make small modifications to your order like a sandwich without a pickle or your waffle fries extra crispy or well done.
Use The Chick-Fil-A One App!
The app is really good for ordering ahead because you don't even need to leave your car to pick it up. No waiting in the drive thru line either.
There are designated spots (there's a sign and the spot itself has lines across it) where an employee will hand deliver your order to you.
And if you're the type of person with a similar order each time (like our standard kids meal order), it'll remember that too so you won't have to go through a million menus to order the same things again.
Best of all – it's a rewards system too. You'll get treats based on your orders, free stuff is always good, and surprise awards throughout the year.
Get a Cow Outfit
On Cow Appreciation Day, Chick-fil-A will give you a free chicken sandwich if you show up with a cow outfit on. Technically, you get an entree and you just need to wear something “cowlike.”
Get a cow costume for Halloween once and get free chicken each year!
In 2016, Cow Appreciation Day was Tuesday, July 12, 2016 from opening until 7:00 PM. It'll probably be the same in 2017.
Check Local Fundraisers, Libraries
Chick-fil-A gets involved in the community very often. They frequently participate in community fundraisers, school programs, and other neighborhood events.
Last year, they partnered with our local library to support a summer reading program. Kids, after satisfying the reading requirements, could get a free Icedream cone.
If there is a community event near a Chick-fil-A, chances are Chick-fil-A will be involved somehow.
Double Check Your Order
People make mistakes. Always double check your order.
Just the other day, I ordered a bunch of stuff for curbside pickup from a Chick-fil-A that was newly renovated. Four kid's meals with 6-ct nuggets, fruit cup and chocolate milk.
I got four 4-ct nuggets, fries, and a chocolate milk. By the time I realized it I was already putting the food down in front of our kids at a friend's house!
Fortunately, I had ordered a 12-ct for myself (actually a 12-ct) so the kids were fine. I was just annoyed.
So not a hack but a reminder — trust but verify.
The Hidden Menu?
Yeah, they got one… the best place to research that is on HackTheMenu.
The Fried Chicken Club looks good!
Make the Chick-fil-A Sandwich at Home
This is not technically a Chick-fil-A hack, because you're doing it at home, but one of my favorite food sites is Serious Eats. One of my favorite people on that site is J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (we recently bought an Anova Sous Vide and Serious Eats has been my home for all this sous vide).
He took on replicating a Chick-fil-A sandwich at home and I can't wait to try it. He goes with Arnold Hamburger Rolls and Vlasic Ovals Hamburger Dill Chips and then launches into how to make the chicken itself. It's a good walkthrough.