I'm a fast food expert – here's how to find hidden discounts at McDonald's, Subway, KFC and more

FAST food restaurants aren’t as cheap as they once were – but that doesn't mean you can't bag a bargain.

Savings expert Jordon Cox, known as the Coupon Kid, says that from McDonald's to KFC, there are tricks you can use to make sure you never pay full price again.

Prices have been soaring across the board in recent months, from petrol to energy bills and the cost of your groceries.

And it's happening at your favourite fast food restaurants too.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t discounts and deals to be had.

Despite the base price of burgers, chicken and fries being on the rise, there has also been an increase in the number of deals, loyalty schemes and even freebies that you can take advantage of.

So here are five top tips to remember – and they could save you hundreds of pounds a year.

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App discounts – save £1-5 per meal

Gone are the days when you’d get McDonald’s vouchers at WHSmith – it’s all gone digital and most discounts are now on your phone.

Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC all have apps that get you money off your food. They’re all very simple to claim.

The McDonald’s app can be a goldmine for deals. All through April, it has had a new deal every single day for various food items.

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Usually you find offers like Chicken McNuggets or a Big Mac for 99p.

These can all be found under the "deal" section on the app.

You’ll also get 20% off your first order through the app if you’re new to sign up.

Meanwhile, Burger King has an app loaded with a list of discounts including a £1.99 Whopper, 20 nuggets for £3.99 and two Chicken Royale meals for £8.99.

Offers do change periodically, but you can use them as much as you like.

And KFC offers similar deals, such as three Hot Wings for £1.29 and a 10 piece Family Feast for £13.99.

Crucially, these deals are only available to members of the KFC App.

So it’s worth downloading all the apps and checking before you order to make sure you don't miss out on any deals.

Keep your receipts – save up to 20% on your next meal

Although receipts are annoying – throwing them in the bin could be like throwing money away.

A lot of fast food restaurants have discounts and offers at the bottom of the receipt if you fill in a quick survey.

You can find these on McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell and Subway receipts – and there are some decent deals to be had.

McDonald’s offers a Big Mac & Fries for £1.99 (saving between £2-3), when you complete a 5 minute survey.

Meanwhile, Burger King gives you a free Whopper when you buy regular fries & a drink (which will cost around £3.18) and complete a short five-minute survey.

KFC gives you 15% off your next bill (as long as it's over £5) when you do its survey. If you’re buying a Bargain Bucket or other high priced item, that could save you £2-3.

And Taco Bell offers you a very generous 20% off your next meal for filling out its survey. You have to spend over £5 to get the offer though.

Finally, Subway will give you a free cookie for filling out its survey. Sure, it's not the highest value freebie, but it's a nice touch.

With each of these offers, you’ll get a code to write on your old receipt when you've completed the survey.

Keep hold of it, and hand it to the cashier when you want to use the discount. Typically, you have between 7-14 days to claim it.

Bring an NHS worker or student – up to 20% off your meal

It’s no secret that if you work for the NHS or are a student, you can get access to deals nobody else can.

For the most part, as long as you have an NHS email address, or you’re in some form of higher education, you'll be able to get you hands on extra discounts.

You may need a Blue Light Card or TOTUM student card for some – but they’re easy to acquire. 

Here are just a few of the offers that you can get:

Greggs

  • Students – free sausage roll, cheese & onion bake or sweet treat when you buy a sandwich lunch deal

KFC

  • NHS – 20% discount
  • Students – free Snackbox when you spend £3+

McDonald’s 

  • NHS – 20% off through the McDonald’s app
  • Students – Free Cheeseburger, Mayo Chicken or McFlurry when you buy a meal

Nando’s

  • NHS – 20% off whole meal

Pizza Hut

  • Students – 20% discount

Taco Bell

  • Students – 15% discount

YO! Sushi

  • NHS – 20% discount
  • Students – 20% discount

Loyalty schemes pay – free meals and food

Even if you don’t eat at fast food restaurants that often, it's still a good idea to sign yourself up to all the loyalty schemes, apps and mailing lists.

Each time you order, scan your app or card and you'll get an extra loyalty point.

Big chains such as KFC, Subway and Nando’s will reward you with free food once you build up enough points.

McDonald’s is trialling a reward scheme in the north of England too – and it could be rolled out to other areas soon.

KFC

KFC gives you "chicken stamps", which you can collect for discounts when you spend. 

Get 1 stamp when you spend £3+, or 2 stamps when you spend £15+

  • 3 stamps gets you a free side
  • 7 stamps gets you a free snack
  • 11 stamps gets you £5 off your order

Subway

Get 1 point for every 10p spent when signed up to Subway Rewards.

  • 100 points gets a free regular hot drink
  • 200 points gets a free side
  • 500 points gets a free 6 inch sub
  • 1,000 points gets a free footlong sub

Nando’s

Every time you spend £7+ you get one "chilli", which can be traded for free food.

  • 3 chillies gets a free starter or 1/4 chicken
  • 6 chillies gets a free wrap, pitta, burger or 1/2 chicken
  • 10 chillies gets a combo meal of your choice or a whole chicken

Change up your order – save £1-5 per meal

We’ve all seen fast food "hacks" where building your own burgers can save you some cash – but it can be even simpler than that.

Restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC have specific menus of cheaper items.

McDonald’s saver menu includes items such as a Cheeseburger and Mayo Chicken for 99p. 

It means you can get three Cheeseburgers for less than the price of one Big Mac.

If you also just wanted a chicken sandwich – switching the McChicken sandwich for the Mayo Chicken can save you £2+.

The King Saver menu at Burger King is more limited, but you can still get a cheeseburger for 99p, which is a good deal when all other burgers are £4+.

The KFC Snackbox menu is small, but gets you a box of fries, and your choice between Popcorn Chicken, two Hot Wings, one Mini Breast Fillet or one Original Recipe Piece for £1.99. Most other KFC options will set you back £4+.

Eating at fast food restaurants shouldn’t break the bank – and there are good deals to be had if you wanted to get it that little bit cheaper too.

Discounts and deals are out there – keeping your eye out can really make a difference to your wallet.

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