How To Eat For Free At These 13 Restaurants
Maybe you won't feel good, but you'll feel full.
Call me an entitled millennial, but doesn't food seem like one of those things we're just inherently given for like...surviving stretch marks? Cut me a fucking break, life—I got a degree, work a full-time job, pay taxes and bills in a nearly-timely fashion. Unfortunately, food costs money. A LOT of money.
If I was a budget-conscious woman (I'm not, but if I was), I'd have approximately $26 left in my bank account to attribute to food after paying rent, student loans, my credit card, car payment, phone bill, etc., etc. (feel my impending panic attack). What I'm saying is that a girl's gotta eat, dammit. So, if I've gotta bend a few rules or become a rewards member at every chain restaurant in this midwestern region, Imma do it. Here are some hacks if you're with me!
1. Pizza Hut
Here's the reason you can't get the e-mail address, "firstname.lastname@example.org." Create a new email OR use 10 Minute Mail, to sign up for Hut Lovers. On the bottom of the home screen is where you'll go to sign up. Check your e-mail for the coupon code and input it when you place your online order. Bam. Free carb sticks filled with delicious cheese, any time you want them.
Tell me, what could possibly be more satisfying than FREE PANCAKES? Sign up to become a member of the Pancake Revolution at IHOP and BAM, those fluffy babies are all yours. Just fill out the questionnaire on the site, and within 24, you could be eating a free plate of Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity cakes. It's not a one-time deal, either. You get your first free stack immediately after signing up, every year on your membership anniversary and on your birthday.
3. AMC Movie Theater
After you buy your ticket, head straight for any trash can (now, stay with me here). Look for an empty soda and/or popcorn bag. Take this to the concession counter and ask for a free refill, where they'll automatically take the old bag/cup and toss it in the garbage (you can breath now). Please do try this strategy on a date and let us know how that goes over.
You know who WON'T judge you for ordering a Long Island Iced Tea? Benihana. I know it's been a long week, so just go to the Benihana site, register for The Chef's Table and make sure you mention your birthday month is THIS MONTH (wink, winkers). They'll give you a $30 gift certificate for your birthday month, that you can put toward whatever tacky tropical drink you please.
5. Ruby Tuesday's
Personally, I only patron Ruby Tuesday's for the incredible speckled lemonade, but I get that some people actually want to eat here. If you sign up for their So Connected email club, they'll bless you with a free appetizer AND free burger on your birthday (fudge your birthday if necessary, obvi).
6. Red Robin
Your local Red Robin thinks you're royalty, and that's beautiful! Well, they will if you sign up for their Red Royalty rewards card. If you register online, you get a free burger on you birthday (obviously if you want that free burger RIGHT NOW, it surely won't hurt anyone to celebrate you a little bit early). PLUS, every 10th item is free. They also give you $20 on your sixth visit, which is nothing to sneeze at.
7. Jersey Mike's
Sign up for a Shore Points card so you can acquire points and score a free sub. PRO TIP: watch for double-point days. Double snaps if you register for the Jersey Mike's E-mail Club—they'll send you promos and deals, but what you REALLY want is the free sub + drink you get when you sign up. Obviously the trick is to unsubscribe after the free lunch so you don't have to deal with all the promo emails.
I love Qdoba, but can you believe they charge for chips and salsa? Sigh. Well, if you register for the rewards program on their site, you can score them FO' FREE, just for signing up. Again, unsubscribe from that ish afterward if you're not interested in their peasant coupons.
9. TGI Friday's
More like, TGI Free, am I right!? End your low-paying workweek the right way by signing up for a Give Me More Stripes membership on the restaurant's site—you'll automatically get a free appetizer or dessert, boom! Because TGI Friday's gets the workin' man.
10. Red Lobster
Just IMAGINE the prestige when announcing to your pals that you're now a member of the very exclusive Fresh Catch Club (ahem...at Red Lobster.) Wear that title and bib with pride. Maybe buy yourself a nice captain's hat. If you sign up for the club, you automatically get a free appetizer or dessert, PLUS a SuRpRiSe birthday offer are you thinking what I'm thinking? unlimited cheesy biscuits, unlimited cheesy biscuits, unlimited cheesy biscuits, unlimited cheesy biscuits
11. Dunkin' Donuts
If you get on the Dunkin' UpDates e-mail list on dunkindonuts.com, you get a free beverage at sign-up AND on your birthday (and then you can switch back to Starbucks for every other day of the year).
This service offers 50 percent off for friend referrals and do NOT require that the friend use a credit card that hasn't been used on the site before. Theoretically, one can email these referrals time and time again to a very good friend (eh hem...yourself). Just set up a new email address and delivery.com account every time you're hungry and voila! TO BOOT, the "new customer" get's a $7 off coupon.
13. Six Flags
I know, you've been looking forward to a Six Flag's turkey leg all winter. Now you can have it without breaking the bank at the SECRET employee food court. Apparently every Six Flags is equipped with one (usually in the middle of the park, hidden behind some attractions) and it stocked with all your favorite foods. Dedicate a little time to finding this theme park food mecca and enjoy your corn dog and funnel cake for a fraction of the ridiculous park costs.
I didn't say it would be glamorous or by the book.
Just remember when you need to get fed, you've got options. So the next time your bank account is looking especially grim, just CONSIDER rooting around in the movie theater garbage for a free large popcorn. They're overcharging any way.