These Are The Best Fast Food Deals Of The Summer

Fast food prices have soared to the point where customers have been steadily avoiding chains like McDonald's, most notably those from lower-income households. With all of the current negative sentiment around these prices, chains are gearing up for an all-out value competition this summer, offering varying meal deals ranging from $3 to $10.99. It's been a while since we've seen some significant price relief at the drive-thru, so the return of lower numbers that we haven't seen in ages might actually get people back to the big chains, at least temporarily.

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That means general consumers like you and me (woo!) will get to see receipt line items under double digits now, which is frankly refreshing. We've compiled a list of some of the best fast food deals you can expect this summer, some of which are currently in the works, and others of which are already available now. Saving a few bucks always tastes pretty good.

Wendy's has a $3 breakfast deal

Out of all of the fast food deals on this list, the current one from Wendy's, which is available now, is by far the cheapest. $3 will net you your choice between a Bacon or Sausage, Egg, & Cheese English Muffin, plus a side of small Seasoned Potatoes (which I think are wholly underrated). No drink is included, but considering I'm an at-home caffeine drinker anyway, that's not a deal-breaker, at least for me. Especially at that price.

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For lunch and dinner folks, it's worth pointing out that Wendy's is one of the few places that still consistently offers value meals that cost anywhere between $4 and $7, in the form of Biggie Bags. Biggie Bags will net you a small main item such as a burger or a Crispy Chicken Sandwich with the addition of four chicken nuggets, a junior-sized serving of fries, and a small drink.

McDonald's will be releasing a $5 value meal this summer

Starting on June 25, McDonald's will offer a limited-time $5 meal similar in format to Wendy's Biggie Bag. It will include either a McDouble or a McChicken sandwich, a four-piece Chicken McNuggets, a small order of fries, and a small drink. Notice that I said "limited-time." Unlike Wendy's Biggie Bags, which are a permanent fixture on its menu, the $5 meal deal will only be around until the end of July.

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It's hard not to hope that McDonald's will come around to make this pricing a permanent addition to its value lineup, but franchisees are already unhappy about their potentially low profit margins on it. So if this meal sounds like a winning combination to you, might as well cherish it while you can. Or you can check the McDonald's mobile app for occasional deals on some items, which can vary at each location, depending on the franchisee. My local McDonald's is currently offering a $2 Big Mac, for example.

KFC has a $5 meal deal and more

When it comes to individual fast food deals, bone-in fried chicken offerings are usually kind of slim. But KFC has a special going on right now as part of its Taste of KFC Deals promotion, which runs through the end of the year. This one involves two pieces of dark meat chicken (one thigh, one drumstick) in your breading style of choice, a side of mashed potatoes and gravy, and a biscuit, all for $4.99. Chicken, a side, and a biscuit at that price, for the time it takes you to swoop through the drive-thru, isn't too shabby at all. Too bad it doesn't include the KFC coleslaw, which is easily one of our favorite fast food sides of all time.

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The $4.99 Meal for One, as it's called, isn't the only summer deal the chain is offering, either. It's also giving customers free delivery every Sunday this summer starting on June 2 (this applies to orders placed through KFC's app or website). As if that weren't enough, KFC is extending its $10 Tuesdays promotion into the summer as well. Every Tuesday, customers can order an eight-piece bucket of dark meat chicken for a mere $10.

Burger King just announced its own $5 meal, too

In what feels like a direct response to McDonald's $5 meal, Burger King has announced that it, too, will be re-releasing its own $5 meal, called the "$5 Your Way Meal," but it's doing so ahead of McDonald's promotion. Like Wendy's Biggie Bags and McDonald's value meal, it follows the formula of a small sandwich (either a Whopper Jr., Chicken Jr., or Bacon Cheeseburger), with the addition of chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink.

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Burger King's standard pricing is pretty expensive to begin with (for example, a medium-sized Whopper Jr. meal costs $8.99 at the nearest location to me, and that's without any supplemental nuggets), so $5 for that amount of food in the $5 Your Way Meal is definitely a bargain. Looks like Ronald McDonald, red-pigtailed Wendy, and that creepy King mascot are about to have a pretty intense staring contest this summer. At least we get some cheaper burgers out of it.

Chili's 3 For Me deal matches fast food pricing

While you might not necessarily consider a sit-down chain like Chili's in line with fast food pricing, the casual bar and grill does have its own value offering called "3 For Me" that's worth taking into consideration. Unlike the other deals mentioned above, this one comes in at just over double-digit territory at $10.99. 

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Three meals come in at that price point: the Oldtimer with Cheese (a burger with pickles, lettuce, tomato, red onion, mustard, and cheddar), the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, and Chili's newest burger, the Big Smasher, which has a beef patty that's just under ½ pound, Thousand Island dressing, American cheese, red onions, pickles, and lettuce. (Big Mac clone, anyone?) Those meals come with an order of bottomless chips and salsa and endless drink refills, along with fries.

The price itself is already reasonable, but consider the fact that you receive endless drinks and chips and salsa. Plus, the Big Smasher's burger patty is over twice the weight of a Big Mac's (which has two 1.6-ounce patties in it). And in terms of pricing, try comparing this to a large Big Mac meal, which is $9.99 at the McDonald's location nearest me.

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When the Big Smasher was first added to Chili's menu earlier this year, it was only meant to start at the $10.99 meal price point for a limited time, but a Chili's representative has confirmed to The Takeout that it's now a permanent deal on the menu. It's available for pickup as well.

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