Feeling hungry? Many restaurant chains now offer free mobile apps to make it easier to find locations near you, and some of them now even allow customers to pay with their iPhone as well. It's time to start whetting your appetite with the best and brightest of eatery-related apps, and thankfully we've rounded up eight of the best that can be downloaded from the App Store right away. Bon appétit!
When it comes to restaurant apps, Starbucks (Free, iPhone) is a poster child for the nearly perfect experience. The app can be used to pay at 7,000 U.S. shops and another 2,500 Target and Safeway locales, offering virtual tipping, Passbook support, email gifting to friends, and tracking or redeeming rewards. Plus, there are weekly freebies like iTunes songs or apps, making it worthwhile even if you don’t care about overpriced joe.
One of the hands-down tastiest fast food joints there is, Wendy's recently overhauled the My Wendy's (Free, iPhone) app to allow for mobile payments; that’s in addition to customization of your favorite menu items and more nutritional information that you can shake a stick at. There are a couple of catches, however: You'll first need to load a virtual gift card (no direct credit or debit card payments), and the feature doesn't yet work at all locations.
Now that's what we call customer service: Five Guys Burgers & Fries (Free, Universal) allows customers to pay for orders with a credit card using their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and then skip the line upon arrival and saunter into any nearby location for fast pickup using only a name. Better yet, they'll wait until you show up to prepare the fries, so they'll be hot and fresh even by the time you get back home.
If your taste buds are hankering for something more cultured than fast food, OpenTable (Free, Universal) can help you lock down reservations at more than 20,000 restaurants across North America. Recently overhauled with a fresh iOS 7 look and feel, OpenTable makes it easy to see what's nearby and then lock down a reservation in just a few taps. Once booked, the app can add the dinner to your calendar and even invite friends.
Papa's in the house—and on your iOS device as well. Using just an iPhone, Papa John's Pizza (Free, iPhone) packs a full-featured pizzeria into the palm of your hand, even if you don't have an existing online account. You can custom-order pies from all across the USA, save favorites for later, and rack up free pizzas thanks to Papa Rewards, with pickup or delivery and cash, credit, or even check payment options at most locations.
Starbucks too rich for your wallet? Fear not: Dunkin' Donuts (Free, iPhone) also has a mobile app with most of the same perks, and will even give you a free medium beverage just for signing up for the DD Perks loyalty program. Customers can also load a virtual DD Card, create one to send to a friend, purchase via Passbook, and—oh, did we mention it's the only app on our list that offers fresh, tasty donuts? We’re sold.
What looks good? That's the question on the mind of Chipotle Ordering (Free, iPhone), the mobile app whose single purpose is to aid in feeding that uncontrollable craving for burritos you're feeling right about now. Using a credit or gift card, Chipotle customers can custom order 'em just the way they like and then skip the long line at their nearest location.
Burger King recently made headlines with the announcement that it was adding a virtual wallet to its Burger King Rewards (Free, iPhone) app. Although it's currently limited to participating locations in four states, BK expects to roll the wallet feature out nationwide later this year. In the meantime, the app allows all customers to collect rewards and even save a few bucks by redeeming virtual coupons—so you can eat like a king.
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