One year older, one coupon, and one free meal; nothing makes a birthday feel more special. A complimentary dessert, completely free entrée, or heaping stack of pancakes that cost you $0 all make you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot in the past year. And it doesn’t hurt to save some cash and treat yourself in the process.
Although your birthday only comes once a year, you can celebrate throughout the month with some of the free birthday meal offers below. Some are tasty snacks for an on-the-go birthday while others a sit down meals perfect for gatherings with friends and family. There are tons of options to choose from and even if your taste changes throughout the day, it’s easy to find another meal at a different restaurant for free.
While you stew over which restaurant adventure you’d like to take your taste buds on, let’s explore how you actually procure these free meals and what to do to get the most out of your yearly birthday bash.
Join the Club
The best way to secure your free birthday meal is to join the loyalty clubs of your favorite eateries. That means signing up for their dining bonus program, joining the Pancake Revolution, or handing out your email to get the coupon. Every restaurant does this differently. Some have you fill out a paper card in the establishment after you finish a meal while others send you to their website to fill out an online form. More popular restaurants sometimes have a Twitter feed or Facebook page as well with additional coupons and offers a.k.a. more delicious free or discounted stuff.
Good job! You’ve signed up to get coupons and deals from your beloved burger bistro or the pizza platter palace of choice. Now that they have your email and contact information, you can eat for free on your birthday. This typically means you’ll receive an email coupon for your free meal; however, some locations still like to mail them out. Depending on the establishment, some coupons work only on the direct day of your birth while others work the week or month of your birthday. Other caveats include certain days and times of the week the coupon is not valid, certain items on the menu not included with the coupon, and entrée cost limits.
It’s possible to visit several establishments during your birthday month and walk away with a few free meals, desserts, or appetizers. Just have to do the legwork to figure out which coupons are valid when and what dates. The hard decision is picking between the succulent prime rib with steamed and seasoned green beans at a top steakhouse or the fresh-caught blackened salmon with a side caesar salad for the celebration meal on your birthday.
Restaurants and Deals
There are literally thousands of restaurants that hand out birthday coupons. From downhome local eateries to national restaurant chains, you can stuff your face with a triple chocolate meltdown at Applebee’s or enjoy a free large 1-topping pizza when dining-in at Grimaldi’s. It’s best to search around for local offers because they seem to give out more than the chains. Plus supporting local is never a bad idea.
Although there are tons of deals available, some of the best are listed below. There are also comprehensive lists here, here, and here. Some of the items on the linked lists are not food but who doesn’t love other free stuff or coupons on their birthday?
Top Choices for a Free Birthday Meal
1. The Keg Steakhouse:
By joining the Guest List, you are rewarded with a $25 coupon to use during your birthday month (it works out to be a little under four weeks of validity). It’s valid Sunday through Wednesday and last time I used this coupon, I walked out of there with a belly full of exceptional steak. If you want to have a completely free birthday dinner, there are a lot of options to choose from under $25 and several options just a touch over an Andrew Jackson and an Abe Lincoln that are worth the extra $2-3.
The Keg is one of the best free birthday meal options since you enjoy high-quality foods such as sirloin steak, fresh seafood, and prime rib that are seasoned right and leave you feeling satisfied without the usual price tag. If you go out with a party or just your significant other, they also chomp on some tasty treats with a lower bill.
Make sure you sign up ahead of time to receive other offers and coupons. Sometimes if you sign up right before your birthday, you won’t receive the birthday email. Some restaurants require you to sign up for their rewards system seven days to one month before your birthday.
IHOP is another excellent option for a birthday breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Their Pancake Revolution loyalty program awards you a free meal just for signing up for the club, a free birthday meal, and a free meal on the one-year anniversary of your sign up! Free meals galore! This is a great value and you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Some birthday coupons restrict when you can cash them in such as days of the week or times of the day, but the IHOP Pancake Revolution program gives you the freedom to choose between a stack of succulent pancakes or a turkey berry melt. You can also order their entire menu 24-hours a day! Hooray for your birthday and free meals!
3. Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que:
Become a part of the Famous Nation and sink your teeth into some delectable BBQ with a free meal voucher on your birthday. Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que uses hickory logs in their live-wood smoker to infuse the meats with woody/smokey/home-cooked flavors and their 700 awards speak to the quality of their foods and sauces. Celebrating your birthday with a fully-comped, award-winning meal doesn’t sound too shabby whether you’re turning 25 or 55.
Like other award programs, the Famous Nation sends out coupons to use on other dates besides your birthday. You enjoy a free meal once per year in addition to free or discounted treats later on. They also send out BBQ tips for the low-and-slow enthusiasts.
4. Souper Salad:
For those looking on the healthier side of the free birthday meal market, Souper Salad offers free lunch or dinner coupons on your birthday. Celebrate midday with co-workers or have a quiet night in with a best friend or significant other by enjoying fresh salads and soups. The fact that you get to enjoy an entire meal for free on your birthday, and it’s healthy, is great for getting you to the next year and keeping your vitals in check. Birthdays aren’t always about calories and cake. Sometimes a nice salad is a good warm up to a good ol’ fashioned ice cream sundae later on in the day.
5. Steak ‘n Shake:
After a night of partying and staying out, a late-night run to Steak ‘n Shake for your free double steakburger and fries quenches your hunger and leaves you feeling one year younger. In addition to grabbing an entire meal free, you can also snag yourself a delicious shake and enjoy the drive-thru. Additionally, this means you can capitalize on the number of free birthday meals. You have to join the Steak ‘n Shake eClub to receive your birthday coupon, but they also send other special offers and coupons frequently. For the drive-thru realm, Steak ‘n Shake works superbly for a quick noon meal on a busy birthday or an excellent after-bar treat.
6. Sprinkles Cupcakes:
Celebrate your special day with a free cupcake from the world’s first cupcakery! The luxurious flavors and delightful frostings will leave you wanting more, but for those who want to keep the birthday celebration small or not indulge too much, one cupcake is the perfect size. Add yourself to the Sprinkles Birthday Club and each year you’ll get to enjoy one free cupcake. Seasonal flavors including caramel apple, s’more, pumpkin, chocolate peppermint, and gingerbread are only available one month per year and help to make your day feel even more special. Pop into a Sprinkles Cupcakes and enjoy the creamy deliciousness that is the free cupcake meal on your birthday.
7. Auntie Anne’s Pretzels:
Get a to-go snack on your birthday by grabbing a free pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. For signing up for Pretzel Perks, you receive a free pretzel instantly and another on your birthday. Auntie Anne’s has several levels in Pretzel Perks where you can earn points towards free pretzel items no matter what day of the year it is. Coupons and discounts are also emailed to you throughout the year. Work your way to a souvenir lemonade cup (500 points) or a t-shirt (1000 points) throughout the year and still swing by for your yearly free pretzel on your birthday. Although it’s not a complete meal, having an amazing free birthday snack never hurts.
Welcome to The Chef’s Table where you are rewarded with a $30 Benihana birthday certificate during your birthday month. Sign up for Benihana’s club and not only will you benefit from special email offers but every year a $30-off coupon will show up in your inbox to celebrate your birthday.
What’s also great about Benihana is their certificate policy. You can sign up for your certificate during your birthday month and in two business days, receive your $30 coupon. Many restaurants require you to sign up ahead of your birthday month to receive the coupon and the Benihana coupon lasts the entire month so you can enjoy a free meal any time over the next few weeks. However, you must show the printed coupon to the server in order to get your comped food and the certificate arrives the first business day of the month and is valid until the last appropriate weekday of the month.
This free birthday meal can be used during dinner hours Monday through Thursday and in addition to the purchase of an adult teppan entrée. This means if you order soda, salad, sushi or a number of other items, your certificate will work with your teppan entrée. For $30, you can fall in love with several different types of steak and chicken, shrimp and tuna steak, salmon, surf and turf combinations, salads, noodles, and desserts. The certificate is not applied wholly to the bill total but to the cost of one item so make it count. Save this one for use on a random day in the month instead of your actual birthday to bank on a free birthday meal.
9. Black Angus Steakhouse:
As a Prime Club member, you are entitled to a free dessert for signing up and a free steak dinner on your first birthday after joining. Your free birthday meal may only come once, but who wants to pass up a free steak dinner? The Prime Club emails also include coupons and deals regularly so it’s not all lost for free food. Since this only comes once, make the most of it and choose Black Angus Steakhouse as your birthday dinner of choice. Your stomach and wallet will thank you.
10. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit:
The Big Yellow Cup Club rewards you from the very first click to your birthday to your Cup Club anniversary. Offers are sent out frequently and for joining the club, you receive a surprise email deal. The free birthday meal includes a big barbecue sandwich, which is great for lunch, and all Dickey’s locations offer free soft-serve ice cream when you dine-in. Even though the ice cream is free every day, on your birthday, it tastes that much sweeter next to a free large pulled pork sandwich slathered in exceptional sauce.
If you want to sneak in as many deals as you can in one day, take your family to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit on a Sunday when kids eat free. For every one paid adult meal, you score one free kid’s meal for children 12 and under. That means you can rack up a free big barbecue sandwich on your birthday, free meals for your kids, and free ice cream for all! A stupendous birthday bargain!
11. Genghis Grill:
At Genghis Grill, Khan’s Rewards celebrates your day of birth with a free birthday bowl. Depending on when you sign up, you’ll have 35-45 days to redeem your free bowl meaning you can keep the celebration going long into the next month. Khan’s Rewards also features a buy nine bowls and get the 10th free deal, which is easy to grab if you get lunch with co-workers or friends often.
Genghis Grill is perfect for a filling lunch or dinner and gives you buffet-style options to choose from. Since you can use the coupon over a long period of time, you can enjoy this meal anytime before or after your special day. For a wonderfully-warm heaping mound of food for $0, Genghis Grill makes the visit well worth your while.
On my last birthday, I cashed in the Grimaldi’s free large 1-topping pizza coupon and it was well worth it. Although it’s dine-in only (no take-out), the food is delectable and for those who love brick oven pizza, it’s a no-brainer. Join the Grimaldi’s VIP e-family to find out about seasonal plates, receive a coupon for joining, and to cash in your free birthday meal. This is great for those who typically do lunches with a few close friends or want to go out with their significant other on their birthday.
13. Jersey Mike’s Subs:
A full free birthday meal is in your future at Jersey Mike’s Subs. Not only do you earn Shore Points for every sub or wrap you buy but on your birthday, you’re awarded a free sub and drink. That means more than once per year you can benefit from a free meal! Although the food always tastes better on your birthday, a free excellent sandwich should never be passed up.
You have to use this award on your birthday and must sign up at least a week before the date in order to receive the email coupon. If you miss the deadline, you will not receive the email coupon until your next year’s birthday.
14. Landry’s Select Club:
When you join Landry’s Select Club, you receive a $25 coupon for use during your birthday month at many delicious restaurants in addition to a bunch of other rewards. Earn one point per dollar spent, enjoy priority seating, special offers and promotions, and a $25 welcome reward on your account for signing up are just a few of the Landry’s Select Club benefits.
Choose to spend your $25 at Simms Steakhouse, Morton’s Grille, Muer Seafood restaurants, Cadillac Bar, Charley’s Crab, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Aquarium, or a multitude of other restaurants. Almost any type of food you desire during your birthday month is available through Landry’s Select Club. The tantalizing smells and delicately designed meals will have you coming back more than just your birthday month.
15. Which Wich:
As a member of the Which Wich Vibe Club, I have to say I really love their perks, punch cards, and coupons. Not only are there double and triple punch days but Which Wich doles out a free sandwich on your birthday. You also receive a free gift for signing up and other various coupons to help cut costs.
The best thing about Which Wich is their custom sandwich approach. They have many more facets than Subway and on your special day, you can enjoy the exact type of sandwich you want, custom ordered. A quick lunch or dinner with friends and family at Which Wich before heading back to work or downtown is a great way to squeeze in another free birthday meal and tastes are more than your average sandwich.
Even though it’s nice to gather up gifts on your birthday, a free meal during the month or on your birthday to celebrate with friends and family is one of the ultimate gifts you can give yourself. Signing up for the various clubs to get the free offers is simple and if you love saving money, the coupons emailed throughout the year don’t hurt either.
It may be hard to pick which restaurant you’d like to visit on your actual day of birth since many coupons are only valid on that day, but sinking your teeth into a free steak or ice cream sundae tastes amazing just about anywhere. Stock up on coupons and have several ultimate free birthday meals throughout the month and revel in birthday foods like never before.