Why some Chick-fil-A locations are now offering free food for coins

A nationwide coin shortage has sparked a somewhat unusual promotion.
Chick-fil-A

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: TODAY
By Julie Pennell

Forget about keeping the change.

A nationwide coin shortage is forcing some businesses to come up with creative ways to get pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters back into their registers — and customers may even be able to benefit from the exchange.

So far, two Chick-fil-A locations have come up with a food-for-change incentive.

How does it work?

At least one Chick-fil-A in Huntsville, Alabama, started offering the promotion earlier this month. For every $10 customers brought in coins, they would in turn receive a $10 bill — yup, paper cash — and a gift card for a free chicken sandwich.

The location recently posted on Facebook that due to the promotion, the store was able to get enough coins to last them a couple of weeks.

Download the TODAY app for the latest coverage on the coronavirus outbreak.

“With that in mind, we may be doing another one here in the next couple of days with the same premise,” the post read.

Another Chick-fil-A in Lynchburg, Virginia, will start offering the same incentive starting Wednesday, July 29. The promotion is only being offered at that location (for now) until the store’s need for coins is met.

Avid coin collectors won't be able to cash in their entire haul as there is a maximum of 10 coupons allowed per guest who brings in the right amount of change.

A spokesperson for the chain confirmed that this is not a national promotion since each Chick-fil-A restaurant is individually owned and operated.

According to NBC News, the coin shortage is affecting retailers and restaurants all over the country. A perfect storm of events has led to the current lack of change in circulation: Many people are avoiding using cash out of concern over COVID-19, businesses that deal heavily with coins may have closed, new coin production at the U.S. Mint was hampered in March and April and some people have also reportedly been hoarding cash due to economic uncertainty.

The Federal Reserve has created a task force to help with the shortage, but during this time, customers may start seeing more signs at restaurants asking for exact change or other forms of cashless payments.