Restaurants are saluting veterans and active-duty military personnel Thursday by offering free meals, treats and special discounts on Veterans Day to show appreciation for those who have sacrificed for the country.

A military ID or proof of service is required. Some businesses allow uniformed employees to show their identification. Discharge papers, VA cards and veteran organization membership cards also can be used to prove service at most businesses.

Veterans Day marks the date when Germany and the Allies signed a 1918 agreement to end World War I hostilities. The fighting ceased on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 1919, it was officially recognized for the first time as Armistice Day.

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The majority of discounts are valid only on the federal holiday at participating locations nationwide, with most applying to veterans and active-duty military.

Some exclusions may apply, and offer can differ by area. For specials, make sure to check with your nearest restaurant.

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Outback Veterans Day deal: Free Bloomin’ Onion and more

Outback Steakhouse is giving military veterans and active personnel a free Bloomin’ Onion and Coca-Cola product Thursday.

The chain also offers a 10% discount for service personnel, firefighters, and police officers who have a valid federal or state ID.

Olive Garden Veterans Day: Free meal

Olive Garden told USA TODAY that it is providing veterans and active-duty military a free entrée from a select menu Thursday. The offer can only be taken in.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, proof of military service is needed and entrées include breadsticks and choice of soup or house salad.

Buffalo Wild Wings Veterans Day 2021: Get free wings and fries

Buffalo Wild Wings is giving past and present armed service members a free order of 10 boneless wings and fries.

The deal applies to takeout or dine-in only. Proof of service must be provided. Only one person can avail this deal.

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Texas Roadhouse Veterans Day: Free dinner vouchers

Texas Roadhouse will hand out dinner vouchers at the restaurant parking lots Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to the Veterans Affairs website, which notes veterans and active-duty military “can redeem their dinner vouchers when the restaurant opens for dinner, through May 30, 2022.”

Dunkin' has a freebie for Veterans Day 2021.

Dunkin’ Veterans Day deal: Free donut

On Thursday, Dunkin’ will give veterans and active members of the military free donuts at any participating restaurant nationwide. The free donut is only available in-store and requires no purchase.

While supplies last, there is a maximum of one guest per limit. No ID is necessary, according to the fine print.

IHOP Veterans Day: Get free pancakes

IHOP offers free pancakes to military vets every Thursday. There are two limited time menu items that can be used.

Red, White, Blue Pancakes and a Pancake Combo are available for Veterans from 7 am to 7 pm Thursday. You will need to show proof of military service or identification.

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Starbucks Veterans Day: No Charge Coffee

Starbucks will be offering its Veterans Day special Thursday to veterans, military spouses and service personnel. They can get a free tall 12-ounce hot brewed coffee at participating U.S. locations.

The promotion is for café and drive-thru orders and is limited to one per customer.

The coffee giant says it  will donate 25 cents for every cup of hot brewed coffee sold nationwide Thursday to military nonprofits Team Red, White & Blue and Headstrong to support military communities’ mental health and the wellbeing of military communities. 

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Starbucks' Veterans Day free coffee deal is for veterans, military service members and military spouses.

Krispy Kreme Veteran Day Deal: A free doughnut or coffee

Krispy Kreme offers two complimentary treats for veterans on Thursday. Veteran can choose from a variety of doughnuts and get either a hot or cold small-brewed coffee.

This promotion has a maximum of 1 and is only available at the drive-thru and shops.

Are you not a veteran? You can still get a freebie. With a valid COVID-19 vaccination card, get a free glazed doughnut through Dec. 31 for showing the card.

Wawa offers free coffee to Veterans Day

Wawa’s annual Veterans Day freebie is for veterans, active military members and their families Thursday: A free hot coffee in any size.

The convenience store chain has more than 940 locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, DC.

Wawa gives away coffee every Tuesday from now until the end. New members can sign up at

Veterans Day: More free coffee for active and retired military personnel

  • Biggby Coffee For all military personnel, active or retired with identification: Free 16-ounce choice beverage
  • Caribou Coffee:A small cup of coffee is free for active and retired military personnel, veterans, and their families on Thursday. When ordering, inquire about the special offer. 
  • Casey’s General Store Every service member, present and past, receives a complimentary cup of coffee on Thursday. USA TODAY is not required to prove service and Casey’s said that the coffee deal would be made on the honor system.
  • EG America Free coffee any size (hot or iced) for active military and veterans at all locations, including Cumberland Farms, Tom Thumb, Turkey Hill, Quik Stop, Kwik Stop, Minit Mart, Certified Oil, Fastrac Café and Loaf N Jug. You don’t need to purchase anything.
  • PJ’s CoffeeGet a free 12-ounce cup of cold brew coffee or hot drip on Thursday 
  • Scooter’s Coffee: Free hot, iced or blended drink for veterans Thursday.

Denny’s Veterans Day 2021: Free Grand Slam

Denny’s Veterans Day Offer is available from 5 a.m. until noon on Thursday. You can receive a “Build Your Own Grand Slam” free meal for active or inactive military personnel if you have a valid military ID/DD 214. There may be a slight variation in the hours. 

Denny’s also said it will have its second annual “Heroes Tour” to deliver free, hot meals to veterans and active military through its Mobile Relief Diner. Twitter has announced the locations and dates. @DennysMRD 

Applebee’s: Free meals for Veterans Day

For the 14th year, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar is giving active military, veterans, Reserves and National Guard a free meal Thursday from a special menu with proof of military service. This offer is dine-in only at more than 1,500 restaurants nationwide and hours vary by location.

The chain said in a news release that it will also give “these special guests” a $5 bounce back card to redeem for dine-in, To Go or delivery within three weeks.

According to the promotion’s fine print, beverage and gratuity are not included and there’s a limit of one meal per U.S. veteran or active duty military.

Wendy’s offers a free breakfast to Veterans Day

Wendy’s will offer a breakfast combination for veterans and active duty military from 6:30 to 10:30 AM Thursday. Hours can change depending on the location.

Valid military IDs or Veterans Advantage cards are required. The offer can be redeemed in restaurants or at the drive-thru.  

Sheetz Veterans Day Specials: Substitution, Drink, and Car Wash Free of Charge

Sheetz is offering a few Veterans Day specials for military veterans and active-duty personnel on Thursday. They can get a free half turkey or ham sub and a regular-size fountain drink at any of the chain’s 633 locations with military ID or proof of service.

Sheetz will offer a complimentary car wash for active-duty soldiers and veterans at all of its car washes.


What Veterans Day Deals do Taco Bells, McDonald’s and Chipotle offer?

USA TODAY was told by some of America’s biggest chains that there are no national Veterans Day deals. Some Taco Bells, Chick-fil-A, and McDonald’s might offer discounts.

Taco Bell told USA TODAY that customers should call local restaurants to ask if they have a deal. Chickfil-A said that specials may be available at some locations. Past years, some participating McDonald’s locations in Ohio offered veterans a complimentary meal for Veterans Day. 

Subway, Chipotle, Burger King, and Burger King were also not included in the USA TODAY Veterans Day Deals.

Additional Veterans Day Free Food and Deals

These offers, unless noted otherwise, are only available on Thursdays. Many of these offers are available only for dine-in, and others may require you to download an app. Most require proof that you have served in the military and they are available while stocks last.

Arby’s RBA location: Free classic roast beef sandwich for veterans and active-duty military at Arby’s largest franchisee, RB American (RBA), a subsidiary of Flynn Restaurant Group. Find locations at

Au Bon Pain For active-duty and veterans, a small bowl of soup is free.

Bertucci’s: Free entrée for veterans and active-duty U.S. military members. You can only dine in

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse: All current and ex-military personnel receive a free meal and Dr Pepper beverages.

Bob EvansEnjoy a free meal with a specially prepared menu 

Bonefish Grill For veterans, service personnel and first responders: Ongoing 10% Discount

California Pizza Kitchen: For veterans only, a free meal and a drink will be provided. For veterans dining in on Thursday, a BOGO coupon will be available for November 12-20.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill: For veterans, service personnel and first responders: Ongoing 10% Discount

Chicken Salad ChickFor active duty and veterans, get a free Chick Special or drink

Chili’s Grill & Bar: Special menu available to veterans and active members of the military.

Cicis Pizza:Veteran’s receive a complimentary adult meal.

Cotton Patch Cafe Free Chicken Fried Steak or Chicken Fried Chicken with proof of military service at all locations.

Cracker Barrel For veterans on Thursday, get a free slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake when you order in-store or online. For online orders, use promo code VETSDAY21.

D’Angelo Grilled Lunch Sandwiches For active and retired military, 50% discount on the total order for Thursday.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Veterans get free Pulled Pork Sandwiches when they use code VETFREE on in-store or online orders.

Einstein Bros. Bagels:For veterans, you get free iced or hot coffee in any size. The license store is not permitted in colleges, hospitals or airports.

Famous Dave:For active and inactive military personnel, we offer a free lunch Georgia Chopped Pork Sandwich.

Farmers BoysAll active and retired military personnel are eligible for a free big cheese

Fazoli’s: Every Wednesday and Thursday: Free regular spaghetti, with or without meat, in any recipe

Fogo de Chão: 50% off meals for veterans and active-duty personnel plus 10% off for up to three guests’ meals.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers:Freddy’s on Thursday offers veterans and active duty military free meal vouchers. The cards are good through Nov. 30 and no purchase is “necessary to receive or redeem the card,” the chain said.

Friendly’s Free cheeseburger, fries and soft drink “to those who have honorably served.”

Golden Chick:Active-duty and veteran military personnel with ID receive a 10% ongoing discount

Golden Corral: Free dinner buffets and drinks from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday for “active duty, military personnel, retirees, National Guard, reserves and veterans of all branches of service.”

Graeter’s Ice Cream: Veterans and current military personnel receive a free sundae

Hard Rock Cafe Active and retired military personnel get a complimentary Legendary Steak Burger. Military members can also use the chain’s 15% off military discount on other items.

Hooters A special meal is free with proof of service.

Huddle house: Active-duty Military Personnel and Veterans Get a Free MVP Breakfast Platter

Insomnia CookiesPurchase includes a six-pack of cookies free to veterans and active military personnel. 

You can juice it up!Juice It Up! A 20-ounce free classic smoothie for active-duty soldiers and veterans

Kolache Factory: Veteran and active military personnel get a complimentary cup of coffee, kolache, and free kolache

Ledo Pizza: With a valid ID, active military personnel and veterans receive $5 off any order greater than $20

Little Caesars: Veteran and active military personnel receive a complimentary lunch from 11 to 2 on Thursday

Logan’s Roadhouse: Get a free American Roadhouse dinner between 3 and 6 p.m. on Thursday

It’s Love’s Travel Time: Veterans and active-duty service members get an extra roller grill along with a fountain drink or hot chocolate when they purchase one item.

Metro Diner: Active and Retired Military with valid IDs will receive 50% discount and 10% year round 

Mission BBQ Free sandwich for veterans.

Nekter Juice Bar: Get a 16-ounce free Superfood Smoothie or Fresh Juice.

Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub: Enjoy a complimentary meal on a Veterans Day Special Menu with purchase of any other meal.

O’Charley’s Restaurant +Bar: Special menu available for active-duty and veterans.

Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom: Free starter up to $11.99 with the purchase of an entrée for veterans.

Borders:Veterans get a free Pick 2 combo

Papa Gino’s: 50% off whole pizzas for dine-in and carry-out orders for retired and active military. Online orders not valid

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery: For active-duty service personnel and veterans, Magnificent Seven offers a free breakfast menu.

Pilot Flying J Active-duty military and veterans can enjoy a $10 discount on a meal at any one of more than 750 U.S. Travel Centers, including Pilot, Flying J or One9 Fuel Network. Veterans must verify their account in myRewards PlusTM to get the deal.

Pollo Tropical:For veterans and active-duty personnel, receive a complimentary quarter chicken dinner with two sides.

Qdoba Mexican Foods 50% off any entrée in-store for active military and veterans.

Red Lobster Veterans, active-duty military personnel and reservists get a free appetizer or dessert

Red Robin Through Nov. 14, Red Robin Military Royalty members get a free Red’s Tavern Double Burger, available for dining in or to go. Veterans and active-duty military must register by November 1st for the loyalty program.

Ruby Tuesday Active military personnel and veterans get free Garden Bar Entrees 

Schlotzsky’s: Free small drink and chips with entrée purchase for veterans and active-duty military. Redeem the offer at 50 locations to receive a $5 reward coupon for future purchases.

Shoney’s: Breakfast bar available from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Smashburger Veterans get a single classic for free

Smoothie King:For all active-duty and veterans, a free 20-ounce smoothie.

Sonny’s BBQ:For veterans and active members of the military, get free pork big deal combo when you order takeout or dine in.

Stewart’s shops:For everyone on Thursday, the chain will offer 50c ice cream cones.

Taco John’s: Get a small Beef Combo for free when you use code VETERAN on the mobile app

TGI Fridays Select meals are free from 11:00 a.m. until 2:45 p.m.

Torchy’s Tacos:Veterans get a free taco or non-alcoholic drink when they order dine-in or pickup.

American TravelCenters: Veterans get free meals at participating restaurants within TA, Petro, and TA Express

Twin Peaks: For active or retired military personnel, a free meal is provided from a specially prepared menu.

WaBa Grill On Thursday, the chain offers a Buy-One-Get-One deal for all WaBa bowls to veterans and active-duty troops online and in store.

Wienerschnitzel:Veterans and active duty military receive a free Chili Dog, small fries, and small Pepsi if they show their U.S. Military ID or wear their uniform.

Yard House Enjoy a free appetizer

Follow Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY’s reporter on Twitter @KellyTykoPlease visit: For shopping news, tips and deals, join us on our Shopping Ninjas Facebook group. 



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