Discounts on Dining for the Military

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Free meals for veterans and active-duty military members on Veterans Day have become a trend across the U.S., but those who are serving or have served can also find discounts on meals and other special offers year-round from many restaurants.

At most restaurants, it’s as easy as showing a valid military ID.

Whatever you’re looking for, there are dozens of national chains and local restaurants, coffee shops – even breweries – to choose from. Military discounts at restaurants aren’t always advertised – it never hurts, particularly on Memorial Day, Veterans Day or the Fourth of July – to ask if a restaurant offers a military discount.

What is Required to Get a Free or Discounted Meal?

Most restaurants that offer discounted or free meals for veterans and military members require some form of valid military ID to take advantage.

If you’re a veteran, in the military or are the dependent of a veteran or military member, you’re probably familiar with the standard IDs, most of which will be accepted:

  • Uniform Services ID Card
  • Common Access Card (CAC)
  • Dependent ID Card.

Some restaurants may accept other proof of service documents. For instance, some may allow veterans to show their DD Form 214 (commonly known as DD214) – this is the form that was issued at discharge, showing the level of discharge. Veterans display this for any number of benefits through the VA, so they should be familiar with it.

Some accept the Department of Defense Form 2 – this is the form that identifies service members as reserved, retired, or reserve-retired, and is also used to access benefits.

Before heading out to a restaurant in hopes of getting a free or discounted meal, be sure to check what kind of ID you’ll need.

Restaurants with Military Discounts

Restaurant policies change, but below you’ll find the most current information on restaurants that offer military discounts, or even free meals to veterans or military. If you can’t afford a meal without the discount, be sure to ask before you sit down to eat or order, in case the policy has changed.

Free Meals for Veterans and Service Members

Most of the restaurants that offer free meals for veterans and military service members do it on Veterans Day. Some, but not as many, also offer free meals on Memorial Day.

  • Chick-Fil-A — Some Chick-Fil-A locations occasionally host Military Appreciation Nights, in which veterans or military members can get a free meal off a limited menu.
  • Local restaurants — You may want to ask at your local VA office, American Legion, VFW or DAV post, or around your community about any local restaurants that have special deals for veterans.
  • Legion, VFW and DAV posts, as well as churches — Sometimes veterans and active-duty military can eat free at monthly bean suppers or breakfasts (depending on what part of the country you live in), so keep an eye out for special local deals on free meals or food.

Discounted Meals for Veterans and Service Members

Some restaurants have meal discounts for veterans and military service members year-round. Always check first in case policies have changed:

  • A&W — Veterans and active-duty miliary, 10%, ID required
  • Alaskan King Crab Co. — Veterans, active-duty military, reserves, 15% off online orders
  • Arby’s – Active-duty military, 10% at some locations, ID required
  • Backyard Burgers – Active-duty military, 20%, ID required
  • Bennigans — Veterans and active-duty military, 10%
  • Bob Evans — Active-duty military, 10% off total bill, ID required
  • Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar — Veterans, active-duty military, reserves, spouses, 20% off food and drink on Friday (must pay full admission charge)
  • Bojangles — 10%, ID required
  • Bonefish Grill — Active-duty military, 10%, ID required
  • Boston Market – Veterans, active-duty military, 5-10% depending on location
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp — Anyone with military ID, 10%
  • Buffalo Wild Wings — Veterans, ctive-duty military, 10-15%, depending on location
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grille — Anyone with military ID, 10%
  • Chef Jeff’s (Washington, D.C.) — Active-duty military, 10%, ID required
  • Chick-Fil-A — Occasional Military Appreciation Nights at some locations during the year, eligible military members get free meal off limited menu
  • Chuck E Cheese — Discount on specific menu options
  • Cici’s Pizza — Active-duty military, discounts and locations vary, ID required.
  • Dave & Buster’s —Anyone with valid military ID, 10% off total bill
  • Denny’s —  Military members, 10%
  • El Pollo Loco — Military members, 15% off, capped at $1.50, ID required
  • Fuddrucker’s – Active-duty military, 15%, ID required, select locations.
  • Green Turtle – Active-duty military, 15%, ID required
  • Grey Fox Grille and Public House (Dover, Delaware) – Active-duty military, 10%, ID required
  • Hard Rock Café — Active-duty military, 15% off food, non-alcoholic beverages, gift shop items, ID required
  • Hooters — 10% and 20% on Tuesday, ID required
  • IHOP — 10-15%, depending on location with valid ID
  • Jersey Mike’s — Military members, 10%
  • Logan’s Roadhouse — Veterans, active-duty military, 10%, ID required (not available in California, North Carolina, South Carolina and Augusta, Georgia)
  • Long John Silver’s — Military members with valid ID, 10% every day, 20% on “Military Mondays”
  • The Melting Pot — Military members 10% (except holidays)
  • Old Country Buffet — Veterans active-duty, reserves, 15% daily (in uniform or ID); “Military Monday” discount for service member and up to three family members with any proof of service (military ID, VA card, photo of yourself in uniform)
  • Outback Steakhouse — Military members “Heroes Discount,” 10% off entire check, ID required
  • Red Lobster — Active-duty military 10% on “Military Mondays”
  • Rib City Des Peres (St. Louis) — Veterans, active-duty military, 25% (individual meal only), ID required
  • Ryan’s — Veterans active-duty military, reserves, 15% daily  (in uniform or ID); “Military Monday” discount for service member and up to three family members with any proof of service (military ID, VA card, photo of yourself in uniform)
  • Shoney’s — Military members, 15%
  • Texas Steak House and Saloon – Veterans, active-duty military, 10%, ID required
  • The Waffle Experience — Veterans, active-duty military, 10%, ID or wear uniform or veteran hat or other gear
  • Ynot Pizza & Italian Cuisine – Active-duty military and dependents, 10% on Monday, ID required.

Restaurant Specials for Veterans Day

Many restaurants offer discounts for active-duty military and veterans on Veterans Day, others offer a free meal, free menu item or other special. Some extend Veterans Day specials for veterans and active-duty military beyond the Nov. 11 holiday.

Offers may vary by location or change year-to-year, and some may only be for dine-in, not takeout or online orders.

  • 110 Grill – Free lunch from select menu for veterans, active-duty military
  • 151 Coffee – Free drinks for veterans and their families
  • 54th Street Grill – Free meal up to $14 for veterans, active-duty military
  • Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza – Free 12-inch cheese pizza for veterans, active-duty military
  • Applebees – Free meal from special menu for veterans, active-duty military
  • Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar – Free burger and side for veterans, active-duty military
  • Bagger Dave’s – Free cheeseburger and fries for veterans, active-duty military, reservists
  • BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse – Free entrée from select menu for veterans, active-duty military
  • Black Rock Bar & Grill – Free steak dinner for veterans
  • Bob Evans – Free meal from select menu for veterans, active-duty military
  • Brick House Tavern + Tap – Free meal and $5 bonus cards to use in November, December, for veterans, active-duty military
  • Bruegger’s Bagels – Free bagel with cream cheese
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. — 20% off for veterans, active-duty military
  • Buffalo Wild Wings – Free order of 10 boneless wings and fries for veterans, active-duty military
  • California Pizza Kitchen – Free entree and beverage from select menu
  • Caribou Coffee – Free small coffee for veterans, active-duty military, spouses
  • Chevys Fresh Mex – Free three-item combo for veterans, active-duty military
  • Chili’s – Free items from select menu for veterans, active-duty military
  • Cici’s Pizza – Free adult buffet for veterans, active-duty military
  • Country Kitchen – Free Country Scramble at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • Cracker Barrel – Free piece of double chocolate fudge Coca-Cola cake (item may vary with year, location)
  • Denny’s – Free Build Your Own Grand Slam until noon, veterans, active-duty military
  • Dunkin – One free doughnut
  • East Coast Wings + Grill – Free meal from special menu for veterans
  • Einstein Bros. Bagels – Free hot or iced large coffee for veterans, active-duty military
  • Famous Dave’s — Free Georgia chopped pork sandwich and a side to veterans, active-duty members
  • Firebirds Wood Fired Grill – Free meal at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • Food City – Free meal from the deli hot bar for veterans, active-duty military
  • Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers – Free combo meal comp cards to veterans, active-duty military to use any time in November
  • Friendly’s – Free cheeseburger, fries, soft drink for veterans
  • Fricker’s – 10 free Boneless Frickin’ Chicken Wings for veterans
  • Frisch’s Big Boy — Free Big Boy, fries, drink for veterans, active-duty military at participating locations
  • Golden Corral – Free meal for veterans, military members
  • GuacAmigos – Free entrée for veterans up to $15, and $5 toward a future meal
  • Hard Rock Cafe — Free original Legendary Steak Burger for veterans, active-duty military
  • Hooters – Free entrée from special menu with purchase of a beverage for veterans, active-duty military
  • Huddle House – Free MVP Breakfast Platter for veterans, active-duty military
  • IHOP – Free Red, White & Blueberry Pancakes at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • Joe’s Crab Shack — 20% off for veterans, active-duty military
  • Krispy Kreme – Free doughnut and small coffee for veterans, active-duty military
  • Little Caesars – Free lunch combo at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • Logan’s Roadhouse – Free meal from special menu at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ – Free pulled pork sandwich for veterans, active-duty military
  • Lucky Girl Brewing – Free sandwich, beverage for veterans, active-duty military
  • Macaroni Grill – Free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs and Spaghetti for veterans, active-duty military
  • Manhattan Bagel Company – Free regular size coffee for veterans
  • Margaritas Mexican Restaurant – 50% off any entrée at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants – Half-priced entrée for veterans, National Guard, Gold Star parents and Gold Star spouses (may be on November date other than Nov. 11)
  • McGrath’s Fish House – Free meal from select menu for veterans, active-duty military
  • Metro Diner – 50% off a meal for veterans, active-duty military
  • Morton’s The Steakhouse – 20% off for veterans, active-duty military
  • Native Grill & Wings – Free ½-pound stripper or boneless combo, or free Native Burger with fries, for veterans, active-duty military
  • Nekter Juice Bar – Free 16 oz. juice or smoothie for veterans
  • Ninety Nine Restaurant and Pub – Free entrée from select menu with purchase of another entrée for veterans, active-duty military
  • O’Charley’s – Free meal at select locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • Outback Steakhouse – Free Bloomin’ Onion with any Coca-Cola beverage for veterans, active-duty military, spouses
  • Old Chicago — Free individual pizza for military members
  • Olive Garden – Free entrée from a special menu, unlimited soup, salad, breadsticks for veterans
  • On the Border – Free Pick 2 combo meal for veterans, active-duty military
  • Peet’s Coffee – Free coffee for veterans, active-duty military
  • Quaker Steak & Lube – 50% off any entrée at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • Red Lobster – Free appetizer or dessert from special menu for veterans, active-duty military, reservists
  • Roy Rogers – 20% off entire purchase at participating locations for veterans
  • Ruby Tuesday – Free Garden Bar entrée (varies by year, location) for veterans, active-duty military
  • Sheetz – Free half-sub, turkey or ham, regular size fountain drink and car wash for veterans, active-duty military
  • Shoney’s – Free all-you-can-eat breakfast bar for veterans, active-duty military
  • Starbucks – Free 12-ounce coffee
  • TCBY – First 6 oz. of frozen yogurt free at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • TGI Fridays – Free lunch from select menu at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • Uno Pizzeria & Grill – Free meal for veterans, active-duty military
  • Wendy’s – Free breakfast combo at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • White Castle – Free combo meal at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • Wienerschnitzel – Free chili dog, small fries, small drink at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military
  • Yogurtology – Free frozen yogurt at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military

Restaurant Specials for Memorial Day

Restaurants also offer discounts and free meals for veterans and other military service members on Memorial Day, and some have offers throughout May, which is Military Appreciation Month.

As with all other deals, restaurant polices may change, and most require a military ID, so make sure to check with the restaurant. Some offers available (in addition to those restaurants that offer active duty and veterans discounts or free meals year-round, listed above):

  • Burger King – 10% off at participating locations for military members on Memorial Day
  • Chick-Fil-A – 10% off for veterans, active-duty military
  • Firebirds – Free lunch or dinner entrée for veterans, active-duty military and Gold Star families on Memorial Day
  • Hooters – Free entree at participating locations for veterans, active-duty military on Memorial Day
  • Johnny Rockets – 50% for active-duty military in uniform on Memorial Day
  • Kona Grill – 20% for veterans, active-duty members.
  • Logan’s Roadhouse – Free meal from special menu for veterans on Memorial Day
  • Miller’s Ale House – Half off any entrée for veterans, active-duty military on Memorial Day
  • Mission BBQ – Free sandwich for veterans, active-duty military during Armed Forces Week, dates vary by branch of service.
  • Ninety Nine Restaurant and Pub – Free entrée from select menu with purchase of another entrée for veterans, active-duty military
  • Quiznos – Free 8-inch sub with purchase of an 8-inch sub and two bottled drinks for veterans, active-duty military.

About The Author

Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken has been writing about finance, banking, investment, entrepreneurship, real estate and other related topics for more than 30 years. She started as the “Business Beat” columnist for the now-defunct Haverhill (Mass.) Gazette and currently is one of the hosts of the Mainebiz business-focused podcast, “The Day that Changed Everything” in addition to her daily writing. She also is is the author of three mystery novels and two nonfiction books.

Sources:

  1. Dember, J. (2021, October 28) 110 Military Discounts You Can Get Throughout the Year. Retrieved from https://thekrazycouponlady.com/tips/money/34-veteran-discounts-you-can-get-every-day-of-the-year
  2. N.A. (ND) 2021 Veterans Day Free Meals and Restaurant Deals and Discounts. Retrieved from https://www.military.com/veterans-day/restaurants-veterans-day-military-discounts.html
  3. N.A. (ND) Dining Discounts. Retrieved fromhttps://www.military.com/discounts/dining
  4. N.A. (ND) Military Appreciation Month Discounts 2022. Retrieved from https://veteran.com/memorial-day-sales-discounts-deals/