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Top 10 Restaurants That Give Away Free Food

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by George Pacheco

Pancakes, sandwiches, doughnuts, oh my! Who said there's no such thing as a free lunch? From Olive Garden, to Wendy’s, to Krispy Kreme, here are some restaurant chains you might not have know give away free food from time to time. WatchMojo counts down Top 10 Restaurants That Give Away Free Food.


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Script written by George Pacheco

Top 10 Restaurants That Give Away Free Food

Who said there's no such thing as a free lunch? Welcome to, and today we'll be ranking our picks for the Top 10 Restaurants That Give Away Free Food.

For this list, we'll be ranking the restaurants who actively participate in offering up free food to customers. This could be in exchange for joining an email list or club, or on holidays. All types of eateries will be considered, just so long as they engage in some sort of free food granting to their clientele.

#10: Olive Garden

In the U.S., the eleventh day of the eleventh month marks Veteran's Day, a time to pay a little more respect to those who've served in the armed forces. And many restaurants on our list honor the holiday by offering up free meals to hungry veterans. The Olive Garden chain of Italian eateries is one such establishment, allowing vets to pick from a selection of the restaurant's most popular dishes, on the house. The O.G.'s trademark soups, salads and breadsticks are, naturally, included.

#9: Wendy's

Many popular restaurants also offer their own phone apps to their customers, with many providing a gateway to valuable deals for free food. Wendy's customers can expect offers almost immediately upon downloading from IOS or Android, including buy-one-get-one-free burgers and chicken sandwiches, and coupons for two dollars off the chain's garden salads. Wendy's even went so far as to re-launch their app in November of 2017 to cash in on Cyber Monday, making it easier than ever for tech-savvy fast food fiends to get their fix.

#8: Krispy Kreme

The folks behind Krispy Kreme are anything but stingy. Sure, members of the Krispy Kreme e-club do receive a free doughnut on their birthday, but the chain also offers up free sugary fritters on a bunch of other special occasions: Election Day, National Coffee Day, Halloween, and, (hold onto your socks), National Doughnut Day. We don't know why anyone would pass up a free fried treat when Krispy Kreme make it this convenient, so . . . all we wanna know is, where do we line up?

#7: Del Taco

Del Taco is something of a West Coast staple: a chain of Mexican restaurants with plenty of hungry fans all over. The company has a loyalty program of "raving fans," however, offering up some tasty deals for those willing to sign up with their email address. Del Taco Raving Fans can expect two free grilled chicken tacos just for joining, while members also receive a free shake of their choice on their birthday. The chain also has "Free Wednesdays," where customers can receive a free item from Del Taco's "Buck and Under" menu with any purchase. TGIW?

#6: Buca di Beppo

Carb lovers rejoice! First time subscribers to the Buca di Beppo email club can expect a free pasta for signing up, as well as a $20 gift card given to any customer who visits the Italian restaurant chain on their birthday. Given that many of the pasta dishes at Buca di Beppe are primarily served family style, in large, sharable portions, this means that there's plenty of value to be found by loyal customers looking to sign up. All that's required is an email address and a hearty appetite!

#5: Pizza Hut

There are a lot of carry out and pizza delivery chains out there, but Pizza Hut seems determined to stand out from the pack, via some pretty tasty incentives for loyal customers. The Hut Rewards Program offers points towards free pizzas down the line, but members signing up for the program also receive an immediate reward, in the form of free cheese sticks with their next online order. This, combined with the chain's mobile app, makes it simple for return customers to take advantage of free rewards on the reg.

#4: Denny's

Let's face it: not everyone enjoys the experience of ordering online or through a mobile app. In 2018, Denny's tried to entice some of those loyal, old-school customers to give their mobile app a try. The sit down breakfast chain offered up free Denny's Grand Slam breakfasts for anyone who signed up for their "Denny's On Demand" service, whereby customers could order and prepay, before ever setting foot in the restaurant. Denny's also doubled down on the deals with a Veteran's Day special which served up free Grand Slams to any customer who served.

#3: Ben and Jerry's

Whereas some of the free food offers on this list are relatively recent, Ben and Jerry's Free Cone Day has a history which dates all the way back to 1979. It's a proud tradition for the renowned ice cream brand, the one day a year where Ben and Jerry's gives out free cones of ice cream to their loyal customer base. Oh, and did we mention that this free ice cream is UNLIMITED? Yep, repeat trips are encouraged, just so long as you don't mind waiting in line again. Meanwhile, Baskin Robbins, not to be outdone, offers up a free scoop to anyone who downloads their mobile app, no line waiting required.

#2: McDonald's

McDonald's isn't just a fast food chain, they're a fast food phenomenon. Never one to do things in half measures, Micky D's mobile app for IOS and Android offers up tons of deals for loyal customers who choose to download it. The McDonald's app doesn't use one-time savings to entice its clientele, either, instead providing an experience which constantly refreshes for new deals. Free French Fries and small coffees are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the McDonald's deals program.

Before we name our number one restaurant, here are a few honorable mentions!
Ruby Tuesday



#1: IHOP

How many deals does the International House of Pancakes offer? Let us count the ways. For starters, the International House of Pancakes celebrates the happiest day of their year, National Pancake Day, by serving up free short stacks. The chain also hooks up customers on Veteran's Day, providing festive red, white and blue pancakes on the “House” for any vet who walks through the door. Finally, IHOP also have their own customer fan club, where members can receive a free meal on their birthday, as well as a free order of Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity Pancakes at sign up!


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