BIG GAME BUFFET
The Super Bowl is approaching, and big meals to accompany the big game on the big screen aren't far behind. If you're Tostitos maker PepsiCo, Bud Light purveyor Anheuser-Busch InBev, or Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands, that Super Bowl bounty is a return on your National Football League sponsorship. If you're anyone else who didn't shell out to the NFL for sponsorship rights, the “big game” is still a great way to bring in business. We took a look at the fast-food menu in the weeks leading up to game day and found some of the offers most likely tosustain hungry gueststhrough halftime.
It isn't a coincidence that Taco Bell added Three-Cheese Nacho and Chicken Enchilada grande burritos to its $1 value menu just before college football's bowl season and the NFL playoffs. Its $1 Beefy Fritos Burritos, shredded chicken mini quesadillas, tostadas, tacos, and triple-layer nachos are actually more cost-effective than the taco party packs.
Uber Eats has brought McDonald's into the delivery realm, which makes it a great time to add the real-beef Quarter Pounder to the chain’s two-for-$5 menu. While downloading McDonald's app will fetch free drinks and other perks with a purchase, the $2.50 Big Macs, 10-piece McNuggets, and Filet-of-Fish in the menu are a fine way to cut costs.
Want a stack of three pancakes for 89 cents? How about 10 chicken nuggets for $1? A Whopper, fries, drink, and a cookie for $6? How about any two big sandwich meals for $10? Burger King is like a team trying to hold onto a lead late in the game: aiming to keep everybody covered.
Wendy's Giant Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, which appeared in 2017 and developed a cult following — it’s considered the perfect fast-food hamburger by the folks at The Takeout — returned at the end of 2018 bundled with a four-piece sleeve of chicken nuggets, small fries, and a small drink for $5. It's available for a limited time.
To keep competitors from outpizza-ing it, NFL sponsor Pizza Hut regularly throws a wealth of meal deals at hungry game-watching customers. From a full lineup of $5 offerings (including medium one-topping pizzas for anyone willing to order more than one) to a “Big Dinner Box” of two pizzas, breadsticks, wings, or pasta, Pizza Hut wants to be as big a deal as the game. The chain is also expanding its beer delivery service — expected to be available from around 300 locations by mid-January with more on the way — so you may want to check to see if your local shop offers the option.
For value, you can't go wrong with a hot-and-ready pepperoni pizza for $6. But keep checking this pizza chain's site closer to game day for promotions including a free 2-liter bottle of soda (or pop, if you must) with your order.
Popeye's will give game day customers three pieces of fried chicken and a biscuit for $4. If you have a larger group coming over for the game, it's also packaging nine pieces with two large sides and four biscuits for a promotional price that varies by location.
JACK IN THE BOX
It doesn't take much to get free food from Jack in the Box. Cough up your mobile number and you'll get two free tacos. Download the mobile app and you'll not only get various freebies based on location, but access to $3 loaded fries, $5 BLT Cheeseburger combos, and coupons.
You're going to want to order a 30-burger crave case of sliders ($29) just so you can present a briefcase full of burgers on game day. Don't. You might want to get a Crave Crate of 100 ($81) to really bowl people over. Refrain. On game day, if it’s available where you are, there is no better deal than the online-only Super Sack Attack: 20 original sliders with any amount of cheese for $10. That's $50 for 100 or $20 for just 40, making it the best deal in the Castle.
EL POLLO LOCO
The Mexican grilled chicken powerhouse starts by giving away an Original Pollo Bowl just for signing up for its app. But its giant “family choice” meals are priced in bulk, putting 16 pieces, sides, tortillas, rice, and toppings in the $40 range.
For folks outside of Papa Murphy's country, take-and-bake pizza just sounds lazy. But those who grew up on it in the Northwest or had it move into their backyards elsewhere know it’s a solid move to sign up for 25 percent off a Super Bowl order by joining the email list the week before Super Bowl Sunday.
The struggling chain is no longer the NFL's official pizza sponsor, but that isn't stopping it from offering two medium one-topping pizzas for $6 apiece. And if you join its rewards club and pay that $12, 10-inch cheesesticks are on the house.
Hungry Howie's doesn't believe that pizza deals should be limited to game day, which is why well before the Super Bowl it’s offering $1 medium pizzas with the purchase of a large. Upgrading to one of the chain's signature stuffed-crust pizzas will bring the cost of that medium pie to $2. With flavored-crust meal deals stretching from $5 to $20, you have some options.
This New England-based chain will give you a medium pizza just for joining its rewards program. But its Patriots Meal Deal — a relatively safe bet during the New England Patriots' Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era — provides two large pizzas, boneless wings, cheese breadsticks, and a two-liter bottle of soda for $26.
It's pastrami season at this beloved hot dog chain, but don't be wooed by that promotional fool's gold. Wienerschnitzel is best when dealing in volume, and handfuls of coupons that provide $1 corn dogs or 10 chili dogs for $10 are a better bet for feeding a hungry crowd. Besides, you'll get a free corn dog for yourself just for texting a code, and a free chili dog for signing up for Wienerschnitzel's loyalty program.
It isn't a given that downloading a franchise's mobile app will get you free food, but get BR’s and it means a free scoop — not on a waffle cone, but any of the 31 flavors you want.
Uber Eats also delivers Jersey Mike's Subs, which last year sent its members a $5 coupon for game day catering orders and sold four times more catering orders than usual. A catering box of sandwiches feeds 10 people, but at $73 in Oregon, even a $5 discount helps.
The sandwich chain ran a Super Bowl commercial a few years back, has a catering service for such occasions, and will occasionally offer as much as10 percent off of the first orderwith certain coupon codes. If you can snag a coupon before the big game, it comes in handy.
STEAK ’N SHAKE
The chain'stwo-for-$3 mix-and-match deallooked pretty good for folks who just wanted to stock up on burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and other items, but by adding four value meals of four items each for $4 as a promotion, Steak ’N Shake is finally meeting football fans where they're at. Neither promotion involves a shake, though.
While it isn't tied to the game directly, Dairy Queen is giving away free small Blizzards in exchange for your loyalty — and a bit of information, meaning if you download the Dairy Queen app and provide an email address and phone number. If the game's really dragging in the fourth quarter, it may not be a bad time to go get dessert.
Again, this isn't tied to the game, but if you sign up for Arby's email list, you can get any signature sandwich the chain offers, from roast beef and cheese down to deli meats, for free with a soft drink. You're signing up for coupons and other marketing messages, but you can always opt out if you feel the buy-one, get-one deal isn't worth it.