How to Get Free (or Cheap) Restaurant Food

Restaurant Cook

Some people say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But, we, and the eateries listed below, beg to differ. That’s why we’re going to tell you how to get free or cheap food from your favorite restaurant. Keep reading to find out what you need to do.

10. Krispy Kreme Donuts

Glazed Donut
Source: Pixabay

Did you know that there are nine times a year when you can get free Krispy Kreme donuts? Now that we’ve got you drooling, we’ll just go ahead and tell you how to get your hands (and mouths) on these delicious confections:

-Sign up for Krispy Kreme Rewards and you’ll get a coupon in your email for a free donut of your choosing at a nearby Krispy Kreme location. You’ll also get periodic emails throughout the year that contain discounts and coupons for more free donuts. Yum!

-Krispy Kreme gives out free donuts in honor of National Doughnut Day, which by the way is the first Friday in June.

-Krispy Kreme also gives out free donuts in honor of National Coffee Day, which is celebrated on September 29. Oh, and you’ll get a free cup of coffee as well!

-If you sign up for Krispy Kreme Rewards membership, they’ll send out a coupon for a free Krispy Kreme donut and coffee during the month of your birthday.

-Krispy Kreme runs a promotion for free donuts on Halloween. But, there’s a catch: You have to come in wearing a costume. Adults are welcome to join in and get a free donut, too. 🙂

-Just when you thought that there was nothing good about Daylight Saving Time, Krispy Kreme decided to prove you wrong. What better way to start out Daylight Saving Time than with a free donut? That’s right, Krispy Kreme hands them out on Daylight Saving Day. Now, that more than makes up for that hour of sleep you lose, doesn’t it?

-Veterans Day is another time when Krispy Kreme gives away free donuts, plus a small coffee.

-Download the Krispy Kreme Rewards app and you’ll get a free Krispy Kreme donut. Plus, the app will also track your reward points, which you can use to get freebies and exclusive offers throughout the year.

-If you’re driving past Krispy Kreme, look for the Krispy Kreme “hot” sign. When it’s lit, that means they’ve just made a batch of fresh glazed donuts–and some locations will give them away for free to customers who come in when the light is on.

9. 7-Eleven Slurpees

Source: Wikimedia Commons By Nehrams2020 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Okay, so technically 7-Eleven isn’t a restaurant, be we decided to include it anyway because who doesn’t love Slurpees?

Anyway, we’re sure you probably already know this, but just in case you don’t, we’ll tell you. Every year, 7-Eleven celebrates its birthday, a.k.a. 7‑Eleven Day or July 11 (7/11) on the calendar, by giving away free Slurpees. “Free Slurpee day may be the most anticipated day of the year for millions of 7‑Eleven customers and new customers alike,” Raj Kapoor, 7‑Eleven senior vice president for fresh food and proprietary beverages, said in a press release on the company’s website. “7‑Eleven Day is a celebration, not only of our birthday, but more importantly, of our customers,” he added.

8. “Kids Eat Free” Specials

Kids Eat Free
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Paul Glazzard / Kids Eat Free

Applebee’s and IHOP both openly advertise that kids eat free there on certain days of the week. But, there are so many other restaurants that offer a “Kids Eat Free” night, yet they never advertise it. You can learn more about these specials through You can use the website to search by city for restaurants that offer “Kids Eat Free” specials. There are currently 5,364 restaurants in the site’s directory. They do recommend that you call ahead and verify that the offers are still valid. MyKidsEatFree is available in Canada, too.

7. IHOP Pancakes

Source: Pixabay

If you love pancakes, stop by IHOP on National Pancake Day and get a free short stack! The exact day is different every year, so we can’t tell you when it will be. But, a quick search on Google should let you know when the next one will occur.

FYI, if you want free IHOP pancakes at other times of the year, sign up for IHOP’s rewards program known as MyHop. You’ll get a free stack of pancakes on your birthday AND every anniversary of the day you signed up for the program.

6. Sandwiches

Submarine Sandwich
Source: Pixabay

If you love sandwiches as much as the next guy, then you’ll love National Sandwich Day. Celebrated on November 3, National Sandwich Day is a made-up holiday where major sandwich shops offer special promotions, including free sandwiches, in honor of the occasion.

Just look at these promotions from last year:

-A free sub at Subway with the purchase of a sandwich and a soft drink
-A free medium sandwich at Schlotzsky’s with the purchase of a sandwich of greater or equal value
-A McAlister’s Club sandwich from McAlister’s Deli for just $4
-Any eight-inch sub from Quiznos for $5
-Any six-inch sub from Penn Station East Coast Subs for $3.99 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

5. “Residual” Food and Drink

All You Can Eat
Source: Wikipedia

How would you like to get freebies from your favorite restaurant once every 60 days? Sounds too good to be true, right? Except, it is true! If Chili’s is one of your favorite restaurants, that is. When you sign up for the Chili’s reward program, you can get free chips and salsa or a free soft drink once every 60 days–no matter whether you’re dining in or ordering to go. Plus, you get personalized rewards (free kids meals, appetizers, desserts, and more) and free dessert on your birthday!

4. Qdoba Entree

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This Mexican eatery gives away a free entree with the purchase of another entree each Valentine’s Day… but, there’s a catch. You have to smooch with your significant other at a participating Qdoba counter in order to get that free meal. Now, if you’re single, you needn’t worry. You can either kiss a photo of your celeb crush or just blow a kiss (to whom, we’re not sure) to get your free entree. The promotion, known as “QDOBA for a Kiss,” is one of the restaurant’s longest-running promotions. “We’ve been hosting this promotion for nearly a decade and what makes it especially unique is how many of our guests have made Qdoba for a Kiss a Valentine’s Day tradition that they celebrate with their family and friends every year,” Jill Adams, vice president of marketing at Qdoba Mexican Eats, told QSR magazine.

3. Arby’s Curly Fries

Curly Fries
Source: Wikimedia Commons By ebru [CC BY 2.0 (]

If the thought of April 15 gets you down, take a trip to a nearby Arby’s and nosh on some free curly fries. For the past few years now, Arby’s has been giving away free curly fries to anyone who comes into one of its establishments on tax day. And, get this: If you sign up for their email list, you’ll get a free signature sandwich with the purchase of a soft drink. And, who knows: If you take your coupon in on tax day, perhaps you can get a free sandwich and free fries at the same time?

2. Random Chipotle Deals

Source: Wikimedia Commons By User:proshob [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Any day is a good day for free food at Chipotle–whether it’s National Nurses Day, which they celebrated last year by offering BOGO entrees to anyone who displayed a nursing license, or Hockey Weekend Across America, for which they offered a free burrito, taco, bowl, or salad–with the purchase of an entree, of course–to any customer who came in donning a hockey jersey. They also gave out free guacamole in April 2017 in honor of the chain becoming the first national restaurant brand to completely eliminate added colors, flavors, and preservatives. Since there are no predetermined days for Chipotle freebies, you’ll just have to drop in–or at least follow them on social media–to get the inside scoop on free food offerings.

1. Free Food at Your Favorite Restaurant Anytime

Source: Pixabay

Last but not least, there is yet another way to get free food at ANY time of the year–although we don’t recommend it. But, it’s still an option nonetheless. So, what are we talking about? We’re talking about complaining to get free food. Now, don’t do it just to try to scam someone. But, there are legitimate times when you should complain–and that could lead to some delicious freebies. Like, the family that got free dessert after the father found a bug in the steak sauce bottle. Or, the husband who got a $10 gift certificate via email after complaining about the poor service he and his wife received at a restaurant.

With that said, here are some other times when it’s perfectly acceptable to POLITELY complain:

-They totally screwed up your order.
-The food is under-cooked, spoiled, or contains allergens you were told would not be used.


Do you know of any other ways to score free eats? Let us know about it. Thanks for reading!