The 25+ Best Restaurant Apps For Free Food

Do you like free food?

And it's nowhere near your birthday?

If you have a smartphone and are willing to download some apps, you can still score some free food.

Fast food is a guilty pleasure for many of us, especially when life is crazy, and you need food fast or when you need a pick me up at the end of a rough week. Your guilty pleasure just became a little less guilty because these 24 food apps will reward you with free food and meal deals when you sign up.

Want a quicker way to sign up for these food apps? Just log in using your Facebook account, which most apps have enabled as an option. For those who don't want their social media accounts connected to their food apps, just connect a separate Facebook account for deal apps and coupons. Having a separate email account for sign up offers will also keep your main account from filling up with spam.

Here are the apps that will give you free food when you sign up:

These food delivery apps will give you free food when you sign up – we show you how to get free food off your first order of DoorDash ($15 off your first three $12+ orders, also these credit cards give you free DashPass), Grubhub ($12), and Postmates.

7-Eleven – The 7-11 app hooks you up with 800 free points, which can be redeemed for one of the following – Big Gulp, Medium coffee or hot beverage, Donut, Fudge brownie or 2-pack cookies, Taquito, Chips, Medium Slurpee, or Medium CHILLERS iced coffee. Through this app, you will also earn points for every dollar spent and bonus points for designated menu items.

AuntieAnne's – Download their myAuntiAnne's Pretzel Perks and get a free pretzel after your first purchase. Kinda free food, since it's tied to their reward program, but if you go there at all you can get yourself a free pretzel!

ampm – The AMPM Power Scratch app gives you three free scratchers upon sign up and three free scratches daily if you check-in at an AMPM. You don't need to visit the store to check-in, just be within a mile or two of the store. You can win anything from free hot dogs, coffee, hamburger, and even free gas and gift cards.

Baja Fresh – Download the app and get a free taco (Chicken or Carnitas Baja or Americano Taco) with any purchase.

BJ's – New app users will earn a free mini pizookie once they register for a premier rewards account. The app also allows members to earn points for every dollar they spend and to redeem deals.

Buffalo Wild Wings – You can earn 10 points every time you check in and 100 points for $10 spent. These points can then be redeemed for free food, such as a loaded ice cream for 250 points.

Burger King – The Burger King app sounds the most promising since they offer $30 worth of food coupons after signing up through the app. However, once I signed up, I only saw a BOGO Whopper coupon. The rest were slightly discounted meal deals – no free food.

Chick-Fil-A – While Chick-Fil-A does not give you a free perk upon downloading the app, you will earn free food periodically. Many times, a free menu item will appear on your app just because. You can also earn free food by purchasing food through their app, and if you haven't connected your cow calendar card to your app, you are missing out. If your restaurant is out of calendars, you can buy one on eBay! With the cow calendar, you will receive a free food item each month.

Chili's – Signing up for the Chili's app was by far the most time consuming. You will receive free chips and salsa and 60 points within 48 hours of signing up for the app, and you can earn one point for every two dollars you spend, which can then be redeemed for free food items.

Chronic Taco – As soon as you verify your account, Chronic Taco will reward you with 50 points. With these points, you can receive an order of free churro bites for 25 points or a free taco for 50 points. You will then earn one point for every dollar you spend at Chronic Taco.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf – When you sign up for the app, enter a friend's code into the promo code field and you get a free drink after your first purchase. Don't have a friend, then consider me your bestie and pretend we are meeting for coffee. Use this code – JimWang8198. Once you download the app, make sure to get your unique referral code and force ask your friends nicely to sign up so that you earn even more free drinks! Through the app, you will also earn a free birthday drink and a reward point for every dollar you spend. You will earn a free drink or pastry for every 50 points you collect until you reach the Platinum level at 300 points. Once at the Platinum level, you can then earn a free drink or pastry for every 40 points you earn. Sound complicated for a reward system? We were thinking the same thing, but we won't turn our noses at free drinks.

Denny's – Through the app, you can earn a free Grand Slam meal on your next online order.

Dominos – Earn a free medium two-topping pizza after six orders of $10 or more.

Dunkin' Donuts – You can receive a free beverage upon signing up for Dunkin' Donuts' reward program. The only catch is that you need to sign up with a gift card or load one for at least $2. On your birthday, you get a DD perk. You also get one for every 200 points.

Jamba Juice – Jamba Juice will give you $3 off your order once you activate your account. This $3 can score you a free pastry, but all of their smoothies are over $3 (the kid smoothie is $3.19), so expect to pay a little out of pocket. You can then earn more discounts once you earn 35 points.

Jimmy John's – Their Freaky Fast Rewards program will give you a free 8″ sandwich after your first order. It's also a rewards program so you can earn rewards that you can redeem for other free food. Throughout the year, they give away rewards too including a birthday sandwich, a free sandwich on National Sandwich Day, a free pickle on National Pickle Day, and free sides on Cyber Monday.

Krispy Kreme – Krispy Kreme rewards new sign-ups with a free doughnut, and you will also receive a free doughnut on your birthday. For true Krispy Kreme fans, you can earn free boxes of doughnuts and beverages after so many purchases.

McDonald's – Once you sign up for the McDonalds' app, you will have access to free food and coupon offers. For example, on Fridays, you can receive a free medium-sized fry with any purchase. Additionally, McDonald's also offers separate McCafe rewards which allow you to earn a free drink after purchasing five.

Panera BreadPanera Rewards gives free rewards to members for spending and just because. For example, in December, I was able to redeem a free bagel every day of the month. Similarly, I had a month where I could redeem a free coffee every day of the month. Members will also earn a free treat when they sign up for the app and on their birthday. After so many visits, you will also receive a free meal or food item. Here are some more money-saving hacks for Panera Bread.

Papa John's Pizza – For every $5 you spend, you can earn a point for the Papa Rewards program. Once you reach 25 points, you can redeem your points for a large three-topping pizza. You can also redeem lower levels of points for other food items. Check out these seven Papa John hacks for even more pizza savings.

Quiznos – Earn a free small sub or Gyro Flatbread with any purchase after downloading the app. You will also earn a free sub once your account reaches 70 points. You can earn 10 points by connecting through Facebook and one point for every dollar spent.

Red Lobster – Red Lobster has a My Red Lobster Rewards app that is a loyalty program, you earn points for every dollar spent and start getting rewards at 125 points. When you sign up, you get 75 points so it's a start though not technically a freebie (yet).

Starbucks – Starbucks reward program is nothing to write home about, but you can earn a free beverage or meal item for every 125 stars you earn. You will also earn a free birthday drink. Earn bonus stars with periodic challenges, such as buying a certain drink five times within a week.

Sonic will give you a free Slush or Drink (medium)!

Sonic – Immediately after verifying your account, you will receive three offers on the app – a free medium slushie, a coupon for half off blast, and an offer for a $1.99 Wacky Pack, which is their kid's meal.

TCBY – Earn a $3 reward for every $30 you spend or for every friend you refer. Once your friend spends $5, you will receive your $3 reward.

TGIFridays – Earn a free appetizer or dessert after signing up on the app. My free coupon was emailed within minutes of signing up on their app and can be redeemed through email, but the coupon does not show up in my app. You can also earn points for every dollar spent, which will then earn you free rewards like a free dessert for 50 points or a free sandwich or burger for 80 points.

Wendy's – Right out the gate, Wendy's will set you up with BOGO food offers and dollar-off discounts for their food.

Whataburger – Earn a free food item after five visits.

Zaxby's – You get a sandwich just for joining, then free Big Zax Snak on your birthday.

Sadly, not every restaurant that offers an app will give you a freebie just for downloading. 🙁

Don't see your favorite restaurant on the previous list? They may have a freebie. When we researched this article, we ran into quite a few restaurants that didn't give away anything for installing their app.

They still might have an app and reward program though. It won't come with free food right off the bat, but I wanted to share a shorter list just so you don't go wasting your time searching.

  • Applebees
  • Baskin Robbins (discounts offered but no free offers)
  • Chipotle (sign up for their text notifications for food offers)
  • iHop
  • Olive Garden
  • Panda Express
  • Red Robin (adding Red Robin here because their app is no longer listed for download, but you might still get free food through joining their online Royalty program)
  • Taco Bell (there is an offers page, but I never received an offer)
  • Wing Stop

Still hungry? Here are over 101 restaurants that offer free food for your birthday. Or you can try your hand at sending companies thank you letters to earn free coupons and samples.

Oh, and before you book your next hotel stay, make sure it has a free breakfast!

If you have a favorite app that you love and they give away free food, let us know!

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools, everything I use) is Empower Personal Dashboard, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Jackie McQueen
5 years ago

When you have A boost mobile phone number,you can download the “boost perks” app and recirculation a large 1 typing pizza from papa John’s…very cool

5 years ago

del taco gives u 2 free tacos just for signing up

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