chicken nuggets and sauce
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The Best Value Meal Deals at 28 Chains Across the Country

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Illuminated Denny's sign at dusk
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Best Value Meal Deals

Fast food restaurants have been quietly axing dollar menus over the past few years in favor of meal deals. You pay more, but get multiple items at a discount from the regular menu price. Family-friendly restaurant chains, too, are cutting back on coupons and specials.


But there are still great offers to be had, whether you're going to the drive-thru, ordering pizza delivery, or heading out for burgers with your family. Here are some of the value meal deals you can take advantage of at favorite chains. Just remember that many are offered for only a limited time.


Are we missing good deals? Let us know in the comments.   


Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by location.


Related:
The Best Fast Food Deals to Grab This Month

Taco Bell
Kathy S./Yelp

Taco Bell

Though fans of Taco Bell are upset about recent menu reductions, you can still grab some cheap meal deals, even late at night. 


Value Meal Deals

  • $5 My Cravings Box
  • $5 Bell Breakfast Box
  • $5 Classic Combo
  • $5.49 Breakfast Crunchwrap Combo
  • $6.59 Three Crunchy Tacos Combo
  • $6.59 Three Soft Tacos Combo
  • $7.49 Grilled Cheese Burrito Deluxe Box
  • $8 Crunchwrap Supreme Combo
  • $8 Chicken Quesadilla Combo
  • $8 Nachos BellGrande Combo
  • $8.29 Doritos Locos Tacos Combo
  • $8.49 Chipotle Cheddar Chalupa Box

Related: Spicy Secrets Behind Taco Bell's Success

BTS Meal
Christian C./Yelp
Wendy’s
Henry C./Yelp

Wendy’s

Square burger patties? You bet. But Wendy's is better known for its spicy chicken sandwiches and nuggets now, not to mention a cult following for chili and Frostys.


Value Meal Deals

  • $5 Double Stack Biggie Bag
  • $5 Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger Biggie Bag
  • $5 Crispy Chicken BLT Biggie Bag
  • Jr. Cheeseburger Four for $4 Meal


Related: We Tasted All 9 Wendy's Breakfast Sandwiches and This Is the Best

Burger King
Burger King by yum9me (CC BY-NC-ND)

Burger King

The home of the Whopper always has meal deals available, and they change often; navigate to the "Offers" section of the BK website or app to see what's good.


Value Meal Deals

  • Two for $10 Mix 'n Match Meals with two sandwiches, two sides, and two drinks 

  • $4 Chicken Fries and large fries combo

  • $5 two Whopper Jr. and two small fries
  • $6 Your Way Meal with Southwest Bacon Whopper Jr., four-piece nugget, small fries, and drink

  • $5 Snack Box with cheeseburger, eight-piece nugget, fries, and drink

  • $5 double cheeseburger meal

  • $6 small Whopper meal

  • $6 two Original Chicken Sandwich meal for two

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Pizza Pizza Pie
Pizza Pizza Pie by Nadir Hashmi (CC BY-NC-ND)

Domino's

Among the big pizza chains, Domino's has some of the best long-running deals.


Value Meal Deals

  • $6 Mix and Match Deal for takeout with options of: a medium two-topping pizza, Bread Twists, salad, Marbled Cookie Brownie, specialty chicken dishes, oven-baked sandwiches, Stuffed Cheesy Bread, boneless chicken, or Pasta in a Dish
  • $7 Mix and Match Deal for delivery
  • $8 Carryout Deal: All three-topping large pizzas, 10-piece wings, or Dips and Twists

Related: Domino's Will 'Tip' You to Come Get Your Own Pizza

Kentucky Fried Chicken
pjohnson1/istockphoto

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Though the 11 herbs and spices in the seasoning are still a mystery, it's no secret that KFC is one of the go-to fast food restaurants for fried chicken.


Value Meal Deals

  • $6 Fill Up with a pot pie or Famous Bowl

  • $6 two-piece drum and thigh combo

  • $7.29 popcorn nuggets combo

  • $7 Chicken Little combo
  • $7.49 three-piece tenders Fill Up
  • $8.49 four-piece tenders combo
  • $8.49 chicken sandwich combo

Related: KFC to Take Plant-Based Fried Chicken Nationwide

Papa John's papadia
©TripAdvisor

Papa Johns

The things that make Papa Johns' pizza so good are the extras you get in the box: creamy garlic sauce for dipping the crust, and tangy pepperoncini peppers.


Value Meal Deals

  • $6.49 Pick Your Faves special: order two or more Papadias, one-topping medium pizzas, breadsticks, garlic knots, chicken poppers, or desserts

  • $17 large two-topping pizza and garlic knots or 2-liter soda

  • $24 Papa's Trio with three medium 3-topping pizzas

 Popeyes
Cindy C./Yelp

Popeyes

Popeyes created a phenomenon when it released its chicken sandwich, but the restaurant's classic fried chicken pieces are still the star of the show.


Value Meal Deals

  • $5 Hushpuppy butterfly shrimp combo

  • $7 three-piece tenders combo, pickup only

  • $10 Signature Chicken Two-Can-Dine with five pieces of chicken 

Related: Fast Food Deals to Feed the Whole Family

Little Caesars
©TripAdvisor

Little Caesars

Detroit's Little Caesars is well known nationwide for selling inexpensive pizza that's always hot and ready to be picked up.


Value Meal Deals

  • $6 classic cheese, pepperoni, or sausage pizza

  • $6 Slices-n-Stix pizza
  • $7 Extra Most Bestest cheese, pepperoni, or sausage pizza
  • $7.49 Extra Most Bestest Thin Crust pepperoni
  • $9 Deep! Deep! Dish cheese pizza
  • $14 Crazy Combo NFL meal deal

Panera
Kim T./Yelp

Panera

Panera has made a name for itself with fresh breads and bakery items, sandwiches, coffee shop beverages, and great soups.


Value Meal Deals

  • $7 Value Duet with grilled cheese and creamy tomato soup

  • $7 Value Duet with half tuna sandwich and creamy tomato soup

  • $7 Value Duet with Caesar salad and chicken noodle soup

  • $7 Value Duet with Greek salad and creamy tomato soup

Related: Secret Menu Items at Your Favorite Family Restaurants

Olive Garden
©TripAdvisor

Olive Garden

Probably America's favorite Italian chain, Olive Garden has been dishing up pastas, salad, and those famous breadsticks for decades.


Value Meal Deals

  • $9 Lunch Favorites Monday through Friday before 3 p.m.: soup, salad, and breadsticks
  • $10 Lunch Favorites Monday through Friday before 3 p.m.: fettuccine Alfredo, spaghetti, eggplant parmesan, cheese ravioli, and five-cheese ziti al forno
  • $11 Lunch Favorites Monday through Friday before 3 p.m.: spaghetti and meatballs, chicken Parmigiana, shrimp scampi, and lasagna

Related:  The Most Indulgent Appetizers at Popular Chain Restaurants

Applebee's
Miori I./Yelp

Applebee's

One of the most popular sit-down chains, Applebee's is well known for inexpensive deals such as $1 cocktails and late-night appetizer specials.


Value Meal Deal

  • $25 for two select entrees and one select appetizer

Chili's
Torya M./Yelp

Chili's

Tex-Mex is king at this casual sit-down chain with a chili pepper in its logo. Chips and salsa, queso dip, and barbecue ribs are favorite menu items.


Value Meal Deals

  • $9 lunch combos 
  • $11 pick-three meal include a nonalcoholic beverage, select entree, and select appetizer
Dairy Queen
©TripAdvisor

Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen isn't just for soft serve and Blizzards, especially in rural areas where there's a DQ in practically every town.


Value Meal Deals

  • Two for $5 original cheeseburger, small sundae, pretzel sticks, regular fries, chili dog, soft drink, or Misty Slush
  • $7 Cheeseburger Meal Deal
  • $7 Three-piece chicken strip Meal Deal

Related: Best Soft Serve Ice Cream Shops in America

Del Taco
Daniel K./Yelp

Del Taco

Found mostly in the western United States, Del Taco is another reliable bet for cheap, fast Mexican eats.


Value Meal Deals

  • $1.69 Three Value Tacos on Tuesdays 3 to 11 p.m.
  • $2.69 Three Grilled Chicken Tacos Thursdays 3 to 11 p.m.
  • $3 Break Fiesta with two egg and cheese breakfast Rollers and hashbrown sticks
Red Lobster
Alla G./Yelp

Red Lobster

Almost everyone has celebrated a special event at Red Lobster, a seafood chain that's as good for families as it is for date night.


Value Meal Deals

  • $19 Three-course meal with soup or salad, individual starter, and entree
  • $22 Steak and lobster on Wednesdays

Related: Regional Seafood Chains the Rest of the Country Needs

Chicken tenders
©TripAdvisor

Hardee's/Carl's Jr.

Which one of these two names you'll see on the sign depends on which part of the country you're in, but whether it's known as Hardee's or Carl's Jr., this chain is known for decadent and hearty breakfasts and burgers.


Value Meal Deals

  • $4 Big breakfast platter with sausage

  • $5 Meal Deal with three-piece chicken tenders

  • $5 Meal Deal with big cheeseburger

  • $5 Meal Deal with Hot Ham 'n Cheese sandwich

BJ'S Brewhouse
Joel Christian A./Yelp

BJ's Brewhouse

BJ's gets its Brewhouse moniker from the microbreweries at some locations, but every location of this casual sit-down chain has a menu of pizza and homestyle favorites.


Value Meal Deals

  • Half-off large pizzas on Mondays
  • $4 Pizookies on Tuesdays
  • $12 Loaded Burgers on Wednesdays
  • $18.50 Slow-Roasted Specials on Thursdays
  • $12 lunch specials
  • $33 Prime rib special on weekends
Steak 'n Shake
Charleston P./Yelp

Steak 'n Shake

Prices at Steak 'n Shake won't break the bank, but it can't hurt to get there between 2 and 5 p.m. on weekdays for happy hour, when drinks and shakes are half price.


Value Meal Deals

  • $4 Steak Frank and fries
  • $4 Double Steakburger with cheese and fries
  • $4 Garlic Steakburger and fries
  • $4 Butter Single Steakburger

Related: Restaurants Food Deals That Let Kids Eat Free

El Pollo Loco
Maria P./Yelp

El Pollo Loco

Found mainly in the Southwest, El Pollo Loco is the place to indulge in Mexican favorites based around savory grilled chicken, including grilled chicken breasts.


Value Meal Deals

  • $6 Classic Chicken Burrito Combo
  • $6 Chicken Tacos al Carbon Combo
  • $6 Original Pollo Bowl Combo
  • $6 Chicken Nachos Combo

Bob Evans Turkey and Gravy dinner
Suzi B./Yelp

Bob Evans

Dating all the way back to 1948, Bob Evans serves up hearty comfort food in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic in a country living-themed atmosphere. 


Value Meal Deals

  • $6 Lunch pick two combo
  • $8 Dinner Bell Plates
#239 White Castle Sack meal 1
#239 White Castle Sack meal 1 by Like_the_Grand_Canyon (CC BY-NC)

White Castle

Cooking up sliders since 1921, White Castle is often credited as the first fast food burger chain. Now it can be found in 13 states, mostly in the Midwest.


Value Meal Deals

  • $7.59 Original Slider Combo
  • $8 Chicken Ring Sandwich Combo
  • $9 Cheesy 10 Sack
  • $17 Castle Pack with 10 Sliders, two fries, and two drinks

Related: Things You Didn’t Know About White Castle

Huddle House
Jonathan B./Yelp

Huddle House

Named after the football huddle, Huddle House is a 24-hour family restaurant that was founded in the 1960s and is concentrated in the Southeast.


Value Meal Deals

  • $6 BLT Down Home Combo
  • $6 Strawberry-topped Waffle Combo
  • $6 Western Grits Combo Bowl
  • $6 Chicken Tenders Toaster Combo
  • $6 Cheeseburger Combo
  • $6 Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit Combo
  • $6 Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Melt with Grits Combo
  • $10 Burger, Fries, and Pie Combo
Fazoli's
Aizelle C./Yelp

Fazoli's

Spaghetti, lasagna, and garlic breadsticks are crowd-pleasers, so it's no surprise this Italian restaurant chain is a hit with families.


Value Meal Deals

  • $5 small spaghetti with marinara and breadsticks
  • $5 small spaghetti with meat sauce and breadsticks
  • $5 small fettuccine Alfredo and breadsticks
  • $5 ravioli and fettuccine bake and breadsticks
Arby's Meat Mountain
Arby's Meat Mountain by Mike Mozart (CC BY)

Arby's

Best known for its outlandish slogans, commercials, and having "all the meat," Arby's satisfies its customers with roast beef, curly fries, and fresh deli sandwiches.


Value Meal Deal

  • Two for $7 everyday value menu with classic Beef 'n Cheddar, gyro, or 9-piece chicken nuggets

Bojangle's
JR./Yelp

Bojangles

Biscuit and fried chicken lovers adore this Southern fast-food chain that serves breakfast all day. You can add a swipe of creamy pimento cheese to any biscuit — and you should.


Value Meal Deals

  • $4.69 sausage biscuit combo
  • $5.49 country ham biscuit combo
  • $5.49 sausage and egg biscuit combo
  • $5.89 bacon, egg, and cheese combo
  • $5 Southern gravy biscuit combo

Zaxby's
Kay J./Yelp

Zaxby's

With about 600 locations, mostly in the Southern states, Zaxby's has carved a niche out of the fried chicken market, selling only tenders (sometimes in sandwiches) and wings. 


Value Meal Deals

  • $7 Signature sandwich combo
  • $7 Kickin' chicken sandwich combo
  • $7 Grilled chicken sandwich combo
  • $7 Big Zax Snak meal
  • $7 Buffalo Big Zax Snak meal
  • $8 eight boneless wings meal
  • $9 Signature Club Sandwich combo

Noodles & Company
Tiffany W./Yelp

Noodles & Company

Customers love the bowls of comforting noodles from Noodles & Company, whether they're Asian, American, Italian, or even made from zucchini.


Value Meal Deals

  • $7 Wisconsin mac and cheese
  • $7 Japanese pan noodles
  • $7 Pesto cavatappi
  • $7 The Med salad
  • $7 Pasta fresca
  • $7 Spaghetti with marinara
  • $7 Buttered noodles

Find more Cheapism stories about fast food right here