Receipts are annoying: They pile up on the floor of your of your car and they get wadded up in the bottom of your purse or pocket. But you should actually pay attention to your receipt next time you hit the drive-thru because it can score you free food.
At practically every big fast food chain, from McDonald's to Taco John's, there's a link for an online survey printed on the back or the bottom of every receipt. You usually have to enter a number from the receipt when you take the survey, then it'll give you a coupon code when you're done to use on your next visit.
by u/Pancake_Mix_00 from discussion I've been getting free meals from Wendy's for weeks now by doing their surveys on their receipts
What you get for completing a survey depends on the chain, but it ranges from a free a la carte entree at Panda Express to buy-one-get-one-free sandwiches at Wendy's. If you hit up drive-thrus regularly, that's a good enough deal on its own. But one Redditor on r/Frugal has turned their Wendy's receipts into a free meal machine thanks to some grateful employees.
"There is a Wendy's near where I live, and I've been going there a few times per week," said u/R3PAIDDIAP3R. "One of the managers there noticed I've been going there pretty frequently and told me about the survey on the back of their receipt. What it actually says on the receipt is that u have to to buy a sandwich to get a free sandwich. However, now I will admit they were like pretty nice (which is something I didn't expect from a fast food manager) and she said that they actually will give you a free meal with the survey code. So I've been basically getting free meals from Wendy's which is a solid help!"
by u/Bman3396 from discussion I've been getting free meals from Wendy's for weeks now by doing their surveys on their receipts
Turns out the reason that so many fast food workers encourage customers to fill out the surveys — with fully comped meals or not — is because corporate pays attention to reviews. "The store gets rated on these reviews and bonuses can rely on them," said u/an_actual_lawyer. "Management figured out that OP will give them good reviews, so they're gaming the system. Props to everyone involved in this."
Redditor u/twinCatalysts agreed. "My friend worked at a Wendy's and told us how badly they needed reviews so that corporate would give them a renovation on the store, so I've basically been doing the receipt reviews every time I go to Wendy's. Keep in mind it only benefits the restaurant if you give the review ALL 'Very satisfied' as answers. Basically if it's not a 5 star they don't care."
Gallery: How To Get Free Fast Food
So this is one of those rare win-win situations. Customers get free (or at least discounted) food, and employees get the benefit of your 5-star review. That makes receipt surveys "the most underrated part of going to fast food joints," said u/DVaderBurgers. "They always give you the chance to get free food, but I always think that I’m going to do it later and I never do lol."
Get more money-saving fast-food tips delivered to your inbox when you sign up for our free newsletters.