Veterans honored at Ground Zero memorial in New York City.
Source: Getty

Free Food on Veterans Day to Honor Active and Retired Military Members

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Nov. 10 2021, Published 9:36 a.m. ET

Free food is one of Americans’ favorite ways to thank veterans and active-duty military members. Veterans Day is a national holiday on Nov. 11 that's often marked by parades and school programs to honor veterans. Restaurants like Starbucks and IHOP also have special meals and discounts for veterans.

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Veterans Day, which marks the date the Allies and Germany signed the armistice in 1918 to end World War I, was first recognized as Armistice Day in 1919. Many restaurants provide deals on specific menu items. Usually, the deals are only available on Nov. 11. Some Veterans Day specials require the person to show a military ID as proof of service.

Veterans Day restaurant deals

Veterans Day is meant to honor all American veterans. Restaurants that offer special discounts on this date usually provide deals for both active-duty and retired military personnel.

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Certain restaurants are offering Veterans Day restaurant deals, according to USA Today:

  • Krispy Kreme—free doughnut and small brewed coffee

  • IHOP—free pancakes (one of two special menu options)

  • Starbucks—free 12-oz. hot coffee (participating locations)

  • Dunkin’ Donuts—free donut

  • Wawa—free hot coffee for veterans, active-duty, and family members

  • Biggby Coffee—free 16-oz. beverage

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  • Caribou Coffee—free small coffee for military and family members
  • Casey’s General Store—free coffee, on the honor system
    • EG America—free coffee of any size (locations include Kwik Stop, Cumberland Farms, and others)
    • PJ’s Coffee—free 12-oz. cold or hot coffee
    • Scooter’s Coffee—free hot, iced, or blended drink
    • Denny’s—free Grand Slam meal, must have military ID or DD 214
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    • Applebee’s—free dine-in meal from special menu with proof of military service
    • Wendy’s—free breakfast combo from 6:30–10:30 a.m.
    • Sheetz—free sub, drink, and car wash
    • California Pizza Kitchen—free special-menu meal and drink
    • Chili’s Grill & Bar—free special-menu meal
    • Cracker Barrel—free Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola cake slice
    • Famous Dave’s—free Lunch Georgia Chopped Pork Sandwich with side
    • Fazoli’s—free regular spaghetti with meat or marinara on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11
    • Friendly’s—free cheeseburger, fries, and drink
    • Freddy’s—free combo meal card available in restaurants Nov. 11, cards are good through Nov. 30
    • Golden Corral—free dinner buffet and drinks, 5:00–9:00 p.m.
    • Perkins Restaurant & Bakery—free Magnificent Seven breakfast meal
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    Many more chain restaurants around the country offer free food on Veterans Day. You might also find deals from small, locally-owned restaurants and businesses. Some non-restaurant businesses have exclusive discounts for military service members and veterans.

    How to get Veterans Day restaurant deals

    Most of the restaurant chains listed here have more information on their websites or you can call the closest location to find out the details of how to qualify for discounts on Nov. 11.

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    Potential requirements include:

    • Being either a veteran or active-duty in a branch of the U.S. military

    • Showing a form of military ID or discharge papers

    • Showing a VA card or membership card for another veteran organization

    • Some deals require a purchase

    • Most restaurants have a specific menu item or items that are included in the Veterans Day special

    • Some deals require the use of an app and others might be available in-store only

    Some popular chains don't have a nationwide deal. You could contact area locations for Taco Bell, McDonald’s, or Chick-fil-A to inquire about potential veteran discounts.

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