With the cost of food constantly rising in the United States, there’s been no shortage of folks hopping on social media to share their favorite money-saving hacks to help others keep their bellies full without breaking the bank.
Couponer, Vlogger, and TikToker Rita (@the_real_rita_c) recently caught some heat after posting how she’s been finessing Popeyes’ survey system for over a decade to get herself a free 2-piece chicken and biscuit with the purchase of a large beverage.
Lots of commenters didn’t take too kindly to her methodology, with a number of folks calling her out for the practice.
@the_real_rita_c Popeyes chicken!!!’ Fast food hack #popeyeschicken #fastfoodsavingstip #fastfoodsavings #momsoftiktok #stayathomemom #momsonabudget #dadsonabudget #bugetmeals #fastfoodlife #popeyeshack #bargainfood #foodhack ♬ original sound – Rita
Rita divulged the Popeyes’ free food secret while seated in a car.
“Do you want to know a quick fast food hack?” she says, noting that she’s used this trick for over 10 years. Rita does forewarn that “she might catch some heat” for sharing her free 2-piece and large drink hack, but that she ultimately doesn’t care.
“On the back of the Popeyes chicken receipt there’s an offer for 2 pieces of chicken and a free biscuit with the purchase of a large drink, but, you gotta go to popeyes.com and complete the survey in order to get the validation code,” she explains.
“Well guess what? You ain’t gotta go to Popeyes and tell ’em nothing,” Rita reveals. “Because I’m gonna tell you what the validation code is. The breakdown of the validation code is gonna be the date that you visited the restaurant and the restaurant number, in the following order: two digits for the month, two digits for the day, two digits for the year, and the five-digit restaurant or store number.”
So let’s say you visited Popeyes store #11858 in Pioneer, Tennessee, and wanted a validation code for the free 2-piece and biscuit with the purchase of a large drink. All you need for the validation code is to pick a date, let’s say Aug. 31, 2023. So all you need to do is buy the large drink and give the following validation code: 08312311858 and boom, the “hack” should work
You’ll need to put that validation code on the back of a receipt with mention of the offer, however, to “prove” that you completed the survey and made a previous purchase.
“You’re gonna save your receipt and next time you’re either low on cash, on a strict budget, or you just want a budget meal, you’re gonna get your receipt out, you’re gonna go to Popeyes—you can go to drive-thru or you can go to the lobby—and place an order for a 2-piece chicken, a biscuit, and a large beverage,” Rita instructs. “You’re gonna tell them, ‘I have this validation code,’ and you’re gonna give them the receipt. They’re gonna punch in the validation code and boom, you got your receipt. I think a large beverage right now is like $2.59 plus tax, so you’re gonna pay $2.59 cents or whatever it costs in your area for the large beverage.”
She adds that there’s an “infinite loop” nature to this survey validation code hack as after making a purchase of the large beverage, you’re going to be given another receipt. “And guess what else is gonna happen? They ‘gon give you another receipt,” she says. “And you gonna take that receipt and you gonna save it and you gonna do the same thing. Rinse and repeat.”
Rita mentions that on the back of the receipt, there is a stipulation indicating that customers can only redeem a single offer once every thirty days at the restaurant, however, she said that there’s an easy way to get around this: simply visit another Popeye’s location.
“How they gonna know? Who’s gonna tell ’em?” she says.
Rita notes that ultimately, the increasing cost of fast is what influenced her to share this money-saving hack with other folks on the platform.
“The price of food has gotten too high for me not to sit here and share this hack with you all because we all need to save some coins,” she shares. “So hopefully that helps and hopefully you got it. You’re welcome.”
When it comes to inflation of food prices, she’s not lying: the USDA has tracked sizable jumps in food-away-from-home and groceries since January 2021, stating that there will be even more increases in the price of grub throughout the rest of 2023 headed into 2024.
According to Fast Food Menu Prices, Rita’s assessment of the cost of a large beverage is on-point as well: $2.59, with her hack, should indeed net you a large drink, two pieces of chicken, and a biscuit.
Some commenters who saw her video didn’t think that writing some numbers on the back of the receipt was worth the hassle. “This is annoying.. TOOOO MUCHHHH INFO my brain don’t need . If I don’t got the $$ I don’t want it,” they said.
“Go through all that for just for a piece of chicken and biscuit nah thank you,” another wrote.
Another TikToker claimed that they could buy a “whole cooked chicken” for relatively cheap without having to worry about writing down a date and store number.
And there was one user who thought the utilization of the trick was shameful. “You must be really desperate!!! You actually took the time to make this video!?!? And, you’ve been doing this for TEN years?!?” they said.
However, there were some folks who seemed to appreciate the hack Rita shared. One person penned, “Found out about this about three years ago, life saver.”
Someone else said that they wouldn’t mind doing the survey so the employees at the restaurant at least somehow benefit from it. “I’d rather do the survey so the workers get recognition,” they said. “The survey is there for a reason! I’m just saying.. Have a nice day sis!”
“Or, orrrrr you could just help the company out by completing the survey and earning the free meal, sheesh,” another wrote.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Popeyes via email and Rita via TikTok comment for further information.