In another life I was a news producer for my hometown TV station. The evening shift was from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., with a lunch (dinner) break after the 6 o’clock broadcast. More often than not, my breaks took me through the nearest drive-thrus to get the fastest meals, and with hours still to go in my evening I craved a caffeinated beverage that would really wake me up, something soda doesn’t always do.
To my surprise, many of the chains I frequented offered at least one all-day coffee option alongside their burgers, tacos, and sandwiches, even if coffee wasn’t featured on the drive-thru menu. And while the variety and quality isn’t always as good as what you can get at coffee-focused chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’, it certainly gets the job done.
If you find yourself in need of a coffee on the go, in an airport, or on a road trip, here’s a quick overview of what you can order where:
- Burger King: hot coffee, iced coffee, cold brew, and decaf
- Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s: hot coffee, decaf
- Chick-fil-A: hot coffee, iced coffee
- Culver’s: just hot coffee
- In-N-Out Burger: just hot coffee
- Jack in the Box: hot coffee, sweet cream iced coffees flavored with vanilla, caramel, or mocha
- McDonald’s: McCafé menu that features macchiatos, cappuccinos, lattes, americanos, frappés, and iced coffee, with French vanilla, caramel, and mocha flavors available
- Potbelly: just hot coffee
- Sonic Drive-In: hot coffee, cold brew with optional vanilla flavor
- Subway: just hot coffee
- Taco Bell: hot coffee, Cinnabon Delights flavored hot and iced coffee
- Wendy’s: hot coffee, iced coffee, decaf, and Frosty-ccino iced coffee with vanilla and chocolate flavors available
- Whataburger: just hot coffee
- White Castle: just hot coffee
Whether you take it black, mix in cream and sugar, or want to try dipping your fries into it like biscotti, go ahead and try asking for a coffee at any chain you visit, whether it’s listed on the menu or not. You’ll never have to worry about being under-caffeinated again!