6 overlooked ways to save at Chick-fil-A

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Chick-fil-A recognized for best customer service

The nation's favorite fast-food restaurant isn't nestled under golden arches and it has never urged you to think outside the bun.

For the second straight year, diners named Chick-fil-A as the best fast-food chain in America, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The chicken-centric restaurant is winning over American hearts and stomachs thanks to a combination of factors, according to a recent Business Insider report:

The chain consistently ranks first in restaurant customer-service surveys. In reviews, customers rave about the restaurants' cleanliness, quick, convenient service, and hardworking employees.

Chick-fil-A's business recipe is so successful that it generates more revenue per restaurant than any other fast-food chain, according to QSR magazine. Plus, all the menu items are truly delicious, from the nuggets to the sandwiches (How do they achieve that signature Chick-fil-A flavor?!) to the waffle fries and lemonade.

If you are among the legions of Chick-fil-A fans, you might be interested in saving a buck or two on your next visit. Following are six ways you can trim your bill when visiting Chick-fil-A.

1. Dress Up for Cow Appreciation Day

For 12 years, Chick-fil-A has offered free food to customers who visit the store on Cow Appreciation Day. This year's giveaway is slated for this Tuesday, July 12.

However, there is a catch: To get your free meal, you will have to come to the restaurant clad as a bovine. According to Chick-fil-A:

Adult customers who dress in any type of cow attire, whether it's head-to-hoof or sporting a cow-spotted accessory, will be rewarded with a free Chick-fil-A entrée of their choice, such as an Original Chicken Sandwich, Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap or Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuit. Children can receive a free Kid's Meal for dressing in a cow costume.

The offer is good from store opening to 7 p.m. local time. Better get moo-ving!

2. Purchase the Cow Calendar

Each year, Chick-fil-A offers patrons a Cow Calendar that includes a card you can use to redeem "free treats" throughout the year.

July's freebie is a three-count Chick-n-Mini. Other upcoming 2016 offers include a free Coca-Cola or other soft drink of your choice in August, and a free large Waffle Potato Fry plus a soft drink in September.

Another bonus is that you get a free Chocolate Chunk Cookie on your birthday.

The catch to all of this is that you will have to pay a few dollars to score your freebies. This year's calendar costs $7. But if you regularly buy meals at Chick-fil-A, you can make that up pretty quickly.

If you're interested, keep your eyes peeled for the 2017 offer, likely to be unveiled sometime in November.

3. Get the Chick-fil-A One app

Download this free app, and you will get several perks. They include the privilege of ordering through your phone and skipping the line at pickup, as well as creating customized menus that can be used each time you order.

Best of all, you will get free treats throughout the year. Get the app here.

4. Put down your cellphone — and nab a free treat

Brad Williams was dismayed to see so many groups of people gathered to share a meal, yet distracted by their cellphones. So, the Chick-fil-A franchise owner in Suwanee, Georgia, decided to do something about it.

Williams hatched the "Cell Phone Coop" at his Chick-fil-A restaurant. Here is how it works:

The restaurant places a small, square box, (a.k.a. the Coop) on each table, with a simple challenge: enjoy a meal without the distraction of cellphones and receive a free Chick-fil-A Icedream®. Guests complete the challenge successfully only if cellphones remain in the Coop untouched for their entire meal.

More than 350 Chick-fil-A locations across the country now have followed suit. So, check with your local restaurant to see if you can "unplug" and get a free treat. Like all of the chicken giant's menu items, the Icedream is totally tasty!

5. Just say no to the toy, and get a free cone

Rumor has it that your kids can get a free ice cream cone if they are willing to forgo the toy that comes with Chick-fil-A kids meals. Jaime at the Bloom Where He Plants You blog has the scoop:

CFA kid's meals come with a small toy or book. If your kiddo is not interested in keeping the toy or book, simply bring it up to the cashier and you can swap it for a free ice cream cone! I love this option as it reduces all that random car clutter and the books are mainly easy readers.

Again, we aren't sure if this deal is available in all regions, but there's only one way to find out — call your local Chick-fil-A.

6. Get discounted gift cards

One great way to save on every meal at Chick-fil-A is to purchase discounted gift cards. These are cards that you buy at less than face value from websites that specialize in offering such discounts.

Raise and Cardpool are two sites that offer such discounted Chick-fil-A cards. Unfortunately, the restaurant is so massively popular that cards are both sites are sold out. But check back soon for new offers for chicken lovers.

Do you know of other great ways to save at Chick-fil-A? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Check out more hacks to save money at your favorite fast food chains below:

11 PHOTOS
10 money-saving fast-food hacks
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10 money-saving fast-food hacks

Restaurant: McDonald’s

Hack: Order two four-piece nuggets instead of one six-piece. It’s cheaper, you get more nuggets and you get more sauces. Score.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: McDonald’s

Hack: Order a McDouble without the ketchup and mustard but with lettuce and Big Mac sauce. You'll pay for the Big Mac taste for the price of a McDouble.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Chipotle

Hack: Order half of one protein and half of another kind (like chicken and steak). You’ll almost always get more than half of each and end up with up to 1.5x the protein in your burrito or bowl for the price of a normal portion.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Krispy Kreme

Hack: Fill out the survey on the bottom of your receipt for a free doughnut with the purchase of one. Hypothetically if you kept doing this, you could win unlimited free doughnuts. Not advised.

Photo credit: AP

Restaurant: Arby’s

Hack: Order two junior roast beef sandwiches instead of one regular classic. You'll end up with more meat for a lower price.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Jamba Juice

Hack: Substitute any ingredient in any smoothie for the same price. If you’re craving a smoothie with non-fat yogurt instead of mango, or extra strawberries instead of blueberries, customize it to your liking without any extra charge. It will save you more than being charged for creating your own smoothie from scratch.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Jack in the Box

Hack: Order two Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers and combine them into one for a much cheaper version of a Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger. 

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: McDonald’s

Hack: Order a sausage McMuffin off of the dollar menu but ask for the sausage to be substituted with egg—an egg McMuffin for a dollar.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Any pizza place

Hack: When you call to order delivery, ask if there were any orders that weren’t delivered—the pizza place will often give you those orders for a discounted price (perfect if cold pizza is your thing.)

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Subway

Hack: Order a Double Steak and Cheese Sub instead of the Philly Cheese Steak Sub—you’ll get the same sandwich at a normal foot-long price.

Photo credit: Getty

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