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98 Restaurants That Give You Free Food on Your Birthday

Free birthday food
Frannie Jiranek/Thrillist

What's the best way to wake up on your birthday? Some friends thinking of you and blowing up your phone with birthday GIFs? A hand-drawn picture from your children, who can't imagine anyone in the world being better than you? Or a multi-national corporation saying, 'Hey, dude, this one's on us'?

No one says you can't have all three, but clearly, a free order of salty fries is taking top honors here. Surprisingly, you can get that and a whole lot more because tons of restaurants around the country offer free food when it's your birthday. But who wants to waste the special day wandering around for those deals? Well, here is your cheat sheet, loaded with birthday freebies from Applebee's, Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings, and many others. 

A&W All American Food

Sign up for the Mug Club to get a free root beer float on your birthday.

Applebee's

Dessert's on the house for members of the chain's EClub.

Arby's

Sign up for Arby's Extras and repeatedly refresh your inbox for a free shake coupon sent a week before your big day.

Au Bon Pain

Lunch is free on your birthday when you join the eClub. Maybe this'll be the year you learn how to pronounce Au Bon Pain.

auntie anne's
Lili Sams/Thrillist

Auntie Anne's

Signing up for Pretzel Perks gets you a buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) pretzel deal on your birthday, so bring a friend! Just kidding. Go alone and get two pretzels.

B.GOOD

B.come a B.GOOD Rewards member and you'll land a free meal on your birthday. No questions asked. Except, you know, they might ask if it's your birthday.

Baja Fresh Mexican Grill

Birthdays are super filling at Club Baja, where you get a free burrito on your birthday if you're a member.

Baskin-Robbins

Enjoy a free scoop of ice cream on your birthday as a member of the chain's creatively named Birthday Club.

Bd's Mongolian Grill

Bd's promises a free meal on your birthday when you join its eclub

Ben & Jerry's

Being a Chunk Spelunker sounds vaguely gross until you realize it gets you free ice cream on your birthday! Wait... no, it still sounds gross.

benihana shrimp
Cole Saladino / Thrillist

Benihana

Membership to the Chef's Table grants you a $30 gift certificate to be used anytime in your entire birthday month. If there's any time to get filet mignon hibachi, that time is now. 

Bertucci's 

You'll get one free dessert when you sign up for the brick-oven pizza chain's email club.

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse

A free Pizzookie is coming your way on your birthday if you sign up for Premier Rewards Plus. It's a confusing portmanteau, but, you know, it's like a pizza... wookie? No, wait. It's just a huge cookie.

Black Angus Steakhouse

If you join their Prime Club, you'll get a free steak dinner on your birthday. The catch is, you can only use the deal once in your lifetime. But you also get a free dessert just for joining the club anyway, so it kind of balances out.

Bojangles'

You have to join the E-Club and make a purchase to get a "free" Bo-Berry biscuit, but c'mon... have you tried those biscuits?

Bonefish Grill

Free dessert is coming when you become a Bonefish Grill Insider.

Boston Market

Call yourself a VIP at Boston Market for a free dessert with a purchase on your birthday. 

Bruegger's Bagels

Your day of birth will grant you one free bagel and your choice of cream cheese when you sign up for its email club.

Cole Saladino / Thrillist

Buffalo Wild Wings

Snag a spot in the Buffalo Circle to enjoy a free snack-size order of traditional or boneless wings with your choice of sauce during a two-week window around your birthday. That's up to an $11.49 value... wild!  

California Pizza Kitchen

Save your birthday dough as a member of the CPK rewards program and snag a free California dessert during your birthday month.

Capital Grille

Finally, a birthday gift that doesn't require your email address! Show up at the Capital Grille on your birthday for a complimentary dessert to cap off your meal. Free, free of spam emails, and fancy.

Carrabba's

Score a free appetizer or dessert any time during the month of your birthday when you join the Amici Club. It sounds like a secret society out of a Dan Brown novel, but it's actually just a rewards program.

Carvel

Everyone loves birthday ice cream! Grab a cone on Carvel as a Fudgie Fanatic. We don't name these things, folks.

Checkers

The ever-benevolent Checkers will grant you one free small milkshake on your birthday if you are a member of its "Flavorhood" email club

Cheesecake Factory

Tell your server it's your birthday (and, um, prove it, too), and you'll get a free bowl of ice cream (and a song!). You're welcome and sorry.

Chili's 

Chili's email club dishes out a coupon for a free complimentary dessert, good for two weeks. (The deal, probably not the sundae.)

Cinnabon

Club Cinnabon gives birthday revelers a free coupon for a "birthday treat." Word on the street is the treat varies, and who doesn't love birthday surprises?

Cold Stone

What's better than ice cream with a friend on your birthday? A deal for your ice cream and your friend's ice cream on your birthday -- because you joined the My Cold Stone Club and collected your BOGO offer.

Cotton Patch Cafe

If you're a Club member, you'll snag a free dessert on the day of your birth.

Corner Bakery Cafe

Join the Corner eCafe and treat yo'self to a free birthday pastry.

Cracker Barrel

This probably isn't your top choice for a meal on your birthday, but what if we told you it'd give you both a free dessert and a song? It's your birthday. You do you. 

Culver's

This beloved Midwestern butter burger joint will give you one free sundae on your birthday if, and only if, you join its "club."

dairy queen
Perry Santanachote/Thrillist

Dairy Queen

Fans of the dessert served upside down, rejoice. Drop your birthday into the DQ mobile app to get a BOGO Blizzard offer for your big day. 

Del Taco

Snag a free premium milkshake on your birthday if you join its Raving Fan eClub. If you're not pairing tacos with milkshakes on your birthday, you're doing it wrong.

Denny's

Score a free Grand Slam -- just for being born. You don't have to sign up for any damn emails. 

Dippin' Dots

The "ice cream of the future" is weirdly nostalgic, just like birthdays. Head down memory lane as a member of the Dot Crazy! Email Club with free Dippin' Dots on your special day.

dunkin donuts
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Dunkin'

Sip on a free beverageof choice on your birthday as a member of DD Perks. We don't know what the second D stands for now that it's just Dunkin', but we'd like to think it stands for "dank."

Edible Arrangements

Everyone's favorite fallback for when you don't know what else to get someone has an Edible Rewards program that'll send you an assortment of free chocolate-dipped fruit for your birthday. It's not just a clever name, they're literally edible rewards. 

Einstein Bros. Bagels

You get a free egg sandwich on your birthday when you join Einstein's e-club. You'll also get a free bagel just for joining, congrats! You earned it!

El Pollo Loco

When you sign up for the chain's rewards program, you'll get free chips and guac on your birthday. Hmm. That is loco.

Farmer Boys

The burger hub's VIF club -- that's Very Important Farmer, though you don't have to be a farmer to be a VIF -- will give you a delightfully vague "birthday surprise." Plus, if you're signing up for the first time, you'll get a $5 reward on top of the surprise. Surprise!

Firehouse Subs

Join Firehouse Rewards to get set up with a free medium sub on your big, big day. 

Friendly's

How much do you love Friendly's? Enough to upgrade them BFF status? Make your commitment email-official and you'll get an offer for $3 off ice cream cakes on your b-day.

Fuddruckers

Join the Fudds Club for a BOGO 1/3 pound birthday burger. Ruck-tacular.

godiva
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

GODIVA

On other occasions, you're probably the one giving the fancy chocolate. But on your birthday, you should be receiving the chocolate. Sign up for the GODIVA rewards program and get a free birthday offer that varies month to month. Surprises are fun!

The Halal Guys

The gyro maestro's will offering you a "special treat" on your birthday when you're part of The Halal Guys Rewards.

Hooters

Hit up the birthday party dream destination of many a 13-year-old boy for 10 free wings as a member of the Hooters e-club.

IHOP

Join the Pancake Revolution for a free full stack of pancakes on your birthday. There are probably more important revolutions to join these days, but breakfast is still the most important meal of the day.

Jack in the Box

Flash this coupon like the birthday boss you are for two free tacos.

Jamba Juice

Break down and become an insider so you can sip a free juice or smoothie on your birthday.

Jersey Mike's

You'll get a free sub and a drink when you sign up for the sub chain's email club.

Joe's Crab Shack 

You'll catch one free appetizer on your birthday if you sign up for the delightfully named "Joe's Catch" newsletter.

Johnny Rockets

Stop into Johnny Rockets the week of your birthday and grab a free burger with the purchase of an entree and drink as a member of the Rocket eClub.

krispy kreme
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Krispy Kreme

As a friend of Krispy Kreme you get a free donut on your birthday. If you're lucky, the donut maker will have its birthday cake donut on hand. 

Longhorn Steakhouse

Not only will you get a free appetizer when you sign up for a Longhorn Account, you'll also get a free dessert of your choice on your cake day.

Margaritaville

At Jimmy Buffett's Jimmy Buffett-themed restaurant, you'll get a free scoop of ice cream (plus toppings) just for showing up. It's every Parrot Head's dream -- at least, besides living in Margaritaville

mcdonald's
Cole Saladino / Thrillist

McDonald's

You can pick up a free Happy Meal on your birthday if you sign up for McDonald's email newsletter. Oh, and also, you have to be a kid to qualify. So, maybe save this one for your kid's birthday.

Melting Pot

Get six free chocolate-covered strawberries on your birthday when you sign up for the Melting Pot's online club. Just make sure you fondue it (sorry) before your birthday so the offer arrives in time. 

Mimi's Cafe

After you've stuffed yourself with free food everywhere else, Mimi's will bless you with a free Mixed Berry Muffin Sundae for dessert if you're a Mimi's EClub member.

Moe's Southwestern Grill

If you download Moe's mobile app, you'll secure a free burrito on your birthday, every year of your life. Oh, and you get a free order of nachos just for joining.

Morton's Steakhouse

If you sign up for Landry's Select Club, you'll score a free dessert and $25 reward card on your birthday. We're not sure who Landry is, but they seem awfully nice. 

Noodles & Company 

If you become part of the Noodles Family, you'll get a free bowl of noodles on your birthday. 

Olive Garden

Unlimited breadsticks and a free dessert as a member of the eClub? This is surely worth tolerating the promotional emails.

Outback Steakhouse

"Let's go Outback tonight," is what you should say if it's your birthday. Not really, but you might want to since it'll give you a free kids-sized vanilla sundae. You'll have Of Montreal stuck in your head all day, too. 

Orange Leaf

The Ounce Back program at Orange Leaf gets you $3 off frozen yogurt for your birthday.

P.F. Chang's

On your birthday, you can choose any entree for free with the purchase of another entree, which is great for birthday dates. Or when you want to celebrate by eating twice. The choice is yours as a member of P.F. Chang's Preferred

Panera

As if you need another treat at this point, the double bread bowl maker will throw you a free pastry if you're a MyPanera member.

Papa Gino's

When you sign up for the pizza shop's rewards program, you're signing up for a free pizza on your birthday. It's hard to argue with that.

Peet's Coffee & Tea

Sign up for Peetnik rewards (get it? eh?) and get a free coffee on your birthday.

Pinkberry

Sign up for a Pinkcard to get free frozenyogurt on your big day.

Pizza Hut

All you have to do is have an online ordering account with Pizza Hut to get delivered free hot and fresh cinnamon sticks on your birthday.

Planet Smoothie

Slurp a free smoothie as a Birthday Club member, and with a name like that, who wouldn't want to be a Birthday Club member.

Qdoba
Courtesy of Qdoba

Qdoba

Prepare to be so full on your birthday. Qdoba Rewards members get a BOGO birthday burrito deal.

Quiznos

Q-Club members can stick a candle in a free cookie. Or just eat it. Yeah, don't bother with the candle. 

Red Lobster

Fresh Catch Clubbers get a birthday freebie chosen at random. Honestly, we'd be happy if it's just an order of Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

Red Mango

Join Club Mango for $5 off your birthday purchase.

Rita's Italian Ice

Head over to Rita's on your day of birth, and it'll reward you with a free scoop of ice cream, Italian ice, or custard. 

Red Robin
Courtesy of Red Robin

Red Robin

Feel like cheeseburger chain Royalty with a free burger during your birthday month.

Ruby Tuesday

So Connected sometimes sounds like what we'd like not to be, but signing up for the club lands you a free burger on your name day.

Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern

Agree to let the Rusty Bucket send you emails, and you'll get a coupon for a free dessert that can be used during your birthday month.

Sbarro

Slice Society members get a free slice with a drink purchase on their birthdays.

sonic
Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Sonic

My Sonic rewards get you a free birthday treat, which -- beware -- is typically chosen at random.

Sonny's BBQ

As a member of the Turbo Team, err, I mean Q' Crew, you'll get a free Big Deal Combo on your birthday. Bring your own birthday bib.

Sizzler

Join the chain's club, get a free Malibu chicken. It's so simple, you'll have plenty of time to hit a bunch of other places for free birthday food. 

Snuffer's Restaurant & Bar

Use the Cheddar Fries Rewards app to -- drumroll -- get a free order of Cheddar Fries for your birthday.

Sprinkles

Every cupcake shop should plop a free cupcake in your hand on your birthday. Thankfully, that's exactly what happens at Sprinkles. Huzzah!

Starbucks

Starbucks Rewards members get a free beverage or food item of their choice for their birthdays. This may or may not be the only time it's acceptable to order a Trenta Frappuccino. Or a Trenta anything for that matter.

Steak 'n Shake

You should certainly sign up for Steak 'n Shake's email club before your birthday, because you'll be gifted a double-steak burger with cheese fries

TCBY

Join myTCBY for free frozen yogurt on your birthday. 

TGI Fridays

Even a lame Wednesday birthday will feel like a Friday, thanks to the free dessert you'll get with purchase of an entree during your birthday month. Just ask for more stripes.

Uno Pizzeria & Grill

Join Uno's Insider Club to get uno free dessert when your birthday rolls around.

Waffle House

The Waffle House Regulars Club rewards members a free birthday waffle.

Wendy's

Snag a free Frosty when you sign up for WendyMail. French fries for dipping not included.

Wetzel's Pretzels

Use the app to get yourself a free pretzel for your birthday. 

Whataburger 

On your birthday, get one free Justaburger -- just by signing up here.

Wingstop

Sign up for the creatively named The Club and you'll get a free order of fries on your birthday, in addition to a free order when you sign up. 

Yogurtland

When you join Yogurtland's Real Rewards program, you'll get a 3oz frozen yogurt right away, and another one on your birthday. A real double-whammy. But, the good kind.

Zaxby's

By joining Zaxby's email club, you'll not only secure a free sandwich meal deal right away, you'll also get a free Nibbler (a chicken slider sandwich, just to clarify) on your birthday.

Want More Free Food?

Here's our huuuuuuuge running list of all the free food you can get right now, as well as the best reward programs, birthday freebies, and holiday gift card deals you'll find. If you want a little more than, say a free taco, we also have you covered with a long list of meals you can get at fast food chains under $5. You're welcome.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. He only discovered birthdays exist when he turned about 10 or so. Follow him @dlukenelson.