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Chow Time: 6 Best Fast Food Apps

I recently wrote a list covering the top 5 health apps you have to check out. In the comments, one of our readers joked that I should do a list on the best fast food apps.

As a man with little patience and an insatiable appetite, I agreed this list did indeed need to be created. Since I’m often ordering food, I figured I’d just cover some of the apps that I use most and highlight what makes them so great. Surprisingly though, after assessing these options we found that fast food apps have been more successful at implementing mobile payments than retailers or other services.

There’s going to be some discrepancy here. I know that some folks might not consider Starbucks “Fast food” for example, but it has one of the best applications available. Also, keep in mind that this list isn’t infinite and I’m only covering apps I’ve used.

I can’t, for example, properly cover an app for a chain restaurant that’s not available in my area.

As usual, though, let us know what your favorites are down in the comments below. Also, these apps should offer relatively the same experience across Android and iOS.

Hope your appetites are ready. Let’s get started.

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Starbucks

Here’s an app I use on the regular (read: every day), and it has only improved since it launched. Once you sync it up with your Starbucks card, you can add money to your account right from your phone.

Then, you can pay using a barcode that pops up on the screen — just plop the phone right in front of the scanner and you’re good to go. You can receive digital copies of your receipt, tip a barista, check out past orders, and even see how far off your free rewards drink is.

I really want Starbucks to add in support for ordering while you’re in line — that way a barista can prep my frappucino ahead of time, but for now it’s all about payment. I have to admit Starbucks has done a really stellar job at pushing mobile payments, think of all those Starbucks’ around the world that allow you to pay for your coffee drinks with a smartphone, it’s like its own currency. And it’s an app that’s been copied across the industry.

Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s recently announced that it updated its app with support for Google Wallet. Sure, there are concerns about what Google will do with your food ordering history, but with Google the Domino’s app is now easier than ever.

You don’t have to enter in your credit card data if it isn’t stored. Instead, just select Google Wallet at checkout, choose your stored card, and move on; hooray mobile payments! I recently ordered a pizza and loved how seamless it was; plus, as usual, Domino’s lets you track the process of your order, from prep all the way to delivery.

Burger King

Burger King is currently testing out a new mobile app and it’s awesome — it’s far superior to the McDonald’s app. Participating Burger King locations in California, Maryland, Nevada and New York are now offering “Rewards” so you can receive free items, combos and drinks after earning BK “Crowns.”

Spend $5 and you get 50 Crowns. Meanwhile, the app also offers a virtual card, similar to Starbucks, that you can refill and pay with all from your phone — no wallet required. Using the Burger King card nets you 20% more BK crowns.

Finally, the Burger King app also has special offers and coupons that automatically populate depending on current promotions. If you’re heading to Burger King — or already go regularly — you should be taking advantage of this app.

Wendy’s

The Wendy’s mobile app has several unique features, but the best one is that you can force it to sort for items based on a specific calorie range. So, if you want meals under 500 calories, you can filter it that way and find solid options.

One example: a 260 calorie Jr. Hamburger, a 200 calories garden side salad and a bottled water. Or, if you want, you can do the reverse and select individual items and then create your own meal to find out all of the nutrition facts. Who says you can’t eat healthier at fast food joints?

You can also create a My Wendy’s account and use your phone for mobile payments, using either gift cards or a credit card that’s used for adding a $75, $50 or $25 balance. Finally, you can find stores with Wi-Fi, stores open late, and more, all from the app

White Castle

The White Castle app is nothing to call home about. It’s not good looking — in fact it looks awful — and it’s probably as basic as apps can get these days.

Yet, underneath its ugly exterior is a lovely service that lets you order your food before you get to White Castle. Fire up the app, choose your location, pick what you want to add and then hit check-out. Providing the customer service is good at your location, you’ll be able to stroll in and pick up your food without having to wait for anything to cook.

No, there aren’t mobile payments or fancy rewards options, but this is as fast as fast food gets.

Chipotle

The most recent Chipotle app is simple and quick. Open it and you’ll find nearby locations. Tap one and you can begin placing your order, complete with customization options for whatever you want, including burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, salads and drinks.

When you’re finished with your order, you can automatically place it using stored credit card and gift card information. Also, if you order the same thing for lunch every Wednesday, you can simply save an order so it’s there the next time you’re back in a Chipotle.

If you prefer, there’s also the option to pay in-store.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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