Depending on how you look at it, fast food is America’s greatest blessing or greatest curse. It's delicious, affordable, and readily available - – but definitely not the most healthy option. Regardless, fast food is ingrained in the American zeitgeist, and budget-savvy people are always on the lookout for creative fast food hacks to enhance their dining experience.
Whether you’re a hardcore fast food connoisseur or you only eat out on occasion, here are some fast food hacks that will help you on your next food run.
The "fat man" technique
The “fat man technique” fast food hack can be kind of inconvenient for fast food workers, but it will help you ensure that you’ll get the most out of your meal.
When you’re at a place like Subway where they make the food in front of you, don’t immediately ask for double of something. First, let them put on the normal amount of ingredients so they’ve established what a normal portion is. When you then ask for double, they will double what they’ve already put on, which comes out to far more stuff than you otherwise would have gotten.
In other words, if you ask for double ingredients before they’ve made your item, you usually won’t end up with a true double. This technique involves timing and psychology, and works every time.
If you don’t want to buy one of McDonald’s pricier burgers, and you’re on an extremely tight budget, you might be the kind of person to consider constructing a McGangbang, one of the most iconic fast food hacks of which much has been written and speculated.
The McGangbang is like the Frankenstein’s monster of fast food, essentially being a McDouble and a McChicken smashed together into a single hybrid monster-burger. But it’s surprisingly good, according to poor college students on the internet who can’t afford higher-tier items.
To construct your own classic McGangbang, simply open up the McDouble and put the entire McChicken in between the beef patties and then close it back up again. You've created a huge tasty sandwich for only $2. A modern variation of the McGangBang can be made out of a McSausage (or Senior Chicken), but instead of placing it between a McDouble or Double Cheese, you put it between a Big Mac and remove the Big Mac's middle bun.
Alternatively, you could purchase two McDoubles for a total of four patties on a single sandwich.
Skip the Ice
If you’ve ordered a drink from a fast food restaurant before, you should already familiar with watered-down drinks, which is the result of too much ice.
Countless fast food workers have reported that their coworkers fill cups full of ice before putting in the soda. You can get the most bang for your buck and avoid a watered-down drink by just skipping out on the ice. Your drink won’t be as cold, but it’ll probably taste better.
Use coupon codes and applicable student/senior discounts
If you’ve been paying full price for your pizzas, you’ve been getting ripped off. You can easily find discounts on pizzas by Googling phrases like “pizza coupon codes” and “Papa John’s Pizza code.” These codes can regularly get you up to 25% off your order, and sometimes you can find sweet bundle deals.
This doesn’t apply to only pizza though. If you sign up for individual fast food apps, you can usually redeem rewards. For example, you can get a free meal at Chipotle with enough reward points. And Chick-fil-A recently had a promotion where they gave away free chicken nuggets to their app users.
Also, did you know that Chipotle give college kids a free drink with their meals or that some Subways will slash the price of their orders by 10%? According to this fast food student discount list, most joints offer something – so simply check their website or ask.
The poor man’s Big Mac
You’ve heard of the McGangbang – now get ready for the Poor Man’s Big Mac. It's almost the same thing, and the genius of it all? The poor man's Big Mac only costs somewhere between 25% to below 50% of what an ordinary Big Mac costs.
The best part of McDonald’s signature Big Mac has to be their original and highly-secretive Big Mac sauce. But you might not be aware that you can request the Big Mac sauce to be used on literally any item. Next time you pick up a McDouble, request to hold the mustard and ketchup and replace it with Big Mac sauce – and don't forget to ask for some lettuce as well.
Get ~fresh~ food every time
There’s nothing worse than ordering fast food only to find out that you’re eating a re-heated meal that’s been sitting out. Of course, fast food isn’t usually the epitome of “fresh,” but this is a cool technique to ensure maximum freshness.
If you ask for an item without pickles or tomatoes (or some other minor quirk), chances are that you’ll be given a fresh bun. And if you ask for your fries without salt, you’ll get a fresh batch as well (you can add back on your own).
Minimize wait time
At Taco Bell, order your grilled items first. This will allow the workers to quickly put the grilled items on the grill, and shorten your wait time. If you wait until the end of your order to request grilled items, then you have to wait while they grill, and your other items will be sitting there already made.
Additionally, when you’re in the drive-thru, order all hard shell items last. They need to be placed on the top of your food so they don’t get crushed, but if you order them first, they’ll get made first and will need to be set aside before being packed, which adds time to prep your order and slightly increases chances of the employees not bagging everything you ordered.
If you plan out your Taco Bell trip in advance with these fast food hacks, you’ll have a much better experience.
Taco Bell’s crazy customizations
If you’re not aware, Taco Bell has a lot of different customization options. For example, you’re able to swap out Cinnamon Twists for Nachos, and you can swap out hard tacos for soft tacos. You can also add beef to almost any item that doesn’t already have beef, such as the loaded cheesy potato griller.
Some fast food aficionados abuse this and take it to the extreme by essentially creating their own Taco Bell items. You can do some experimenting for yourself by customizing your order on Taco Bell’s mobile app or in-store kiosk.