These Chain Restaurants Are Helping the Food-Insecure During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Here’s everything you need to know.
UPDATE: April 1, 2020
Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s have begun offering a Family Bundles Menu, offering a variety of family-sized combo deals for a lower than normal price. Options for the Hardee’s $9 breakfast bundle includes four sausage & egg or bacon, egg & cheese biscuits with sides of small hash rounds, or four bacon, egg & cheese biscuits with two small Hash Rounds and two Cinnamon ‘n’ Raisin Biscuits.
Options for the $15 Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. lunch/dinner bundles include 12 Hand Breaded Chicken Tenders and two medium fries or four Big Cheeseburgers and four small fries. Hardee’s also includes a combination of six Hand Breaded Chicken Tenders and two Double Cheeseburgers plus four small fries as part of its Family Bundles Menu.
UPDATE: March 30, 2020
Through April 7, Steak ‘n Shake is offering a 20 percent discount to anyone considered an “essential” worker. In addition to medical personnel and first responders, that also includes grocery store and restaurant workers, sanitation workers, postal workers, package deliverers, transit workers and much more. Just show a valid ID, badge, etc. to claim the discount when you order to go. In terms of more universal menu deals, Steak ‘n Shake is selling a “Family 4 Pack Meal Deal,” which includes 4 Double ‘n Cheese Steakburgers, 4 Small Fries and 4 Sodas, feeding a family of 4 for $19.99.
UPDATE: March 27, 2020
Jersey Mike’s is offering 50 percent off all of its subs with free delivery through March 29. That applies to online orders for pickup as well as delivery orders placed through the app.
Quizno’s is offering a free kids meal with a purchase of $12 or more through April 7. Options include a ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, or triple cheese sub or flatbread, plus small fountain drink and chips or cookie.
And in another show of support for medical personnel during an extremely stressful time, Krispy Kreme will begin providing all healthcare workers with dozens of free glazed doughnuts every Monday, beginning on March 30. Just show your medical badge/hospital ID at a Krispy Kreme drive-thru and let them know how many dozen you need.
UPDATE: March 25, 2020
Subway is introducing a “family takeout special,” which in practical terms means you’ll get a free third footlong when you buy two for takeout or through delivery at participating locations.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: March 23, 2020
The Coronavirus has ground life as we know it to a halt for a significant portion of the country. It’s disrupted how we live and work, keeping us cooped up and interacting with each other via Zoom conference. But for far too many people, the end of “non-essential” work in many places and the closure of schools inspires more urgent questions of survival: Where is my next paycheck coming from? How are my kids going to eat while school is closed?
In a just world, the fact that these questions even need to be asked should inspire longer-term changes to how our society is organized. But there are a lot of people from all walks of life who need practical and immediate help right now. With that in mind, here’s a running list of chain restaurants who’ve offered to help out with free or discounted meals (especially for kids) amid the Coronavirus.
As previously mentioned, Burger King is leading the charge, offering two free kids meals for every adult meal ordered. The program was set to roll out the week of March 23, so it should be available now (or at least very soon) in your area.
Moe’s Southwest Grill is following Burger King’s lead, offering a free kid’s entree with every adult entree purchased.
While McDonald’s hasn’t issued a network-wide directive to offer free food, franchisees in various parts of the country have stepped up and made that decision themselves. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, 41 McDonald’s locations in the Memphis area will offer free breakfast between 7 and 10 AM. Any purchase earns you a free entree and free side for a child 13 or under. Other McDonald’s locations in Iredell County, North Carolina have adopted a similar policy for lunchtime. Children 12 and under accompanied by a parent can choose from a variety of kids menu-type items for free when accompanied by a parent between 11 AM and 2 PM. Expect more McDonald’s franchisees to potentially follow suit.
Sweetgreen is offering a deal for hospital workers and medical personnel, establishing Sweetgreen “outposts,” a process that involves delivering free salads and bowls to hospitals in cities where the salad chain operates.
&Pizza, a chain with locations spanning from Boston to Virginia, is offering free pizza for hospital workers from doctors all the way down to cleaning and administrative staff. Just show a valid hospital ID when picking up or text #hero to 200-03 for a delivery code.
Though it’s not part of any COVID-19 response, Wendy’s is offering a free Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit from its breakfast menu with your purchase if you create an account and order through their app. It’s available during breakfast hours only. Evidence suggests this promotion runs through April 6.
With many local restaurants already switching gears to provide relief to communities in need, expect more chains to follow suit. Hopefully this list of names will grow and these efforts will be expanded to ensure everyone can get through this unprecedented situation.