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All the Free & Cheap Food Graduates Can Get Right Now

Parties and ceremonies may be canceled, but good food is still on the menu.

good deals for graduates
Courtesy of Krispy Kreme

You've worked for years to get to this point, and your moment of triumph has been... well... altered. You still did the work, and you still earned the accolades. However, your graduation celebration has been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. It sucks. 

You can ease the disappointment a bit with a virtual graduation party. You could also put some salve on the wound by wolfing down a bunch of free donuts or other tasty treats that are being offered to graduates in a very weird spring. Restaurants are serving up some free and cheap food for despondent graduates who want to feel a little celebratory despite the cancelation of graduation ceremonies and parties. 

Here's our running list of the best food deals for graduates you're going to find this year. 

Please note: If you are located in a city with a curfew due to protests against police brutality and the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, consider avoiding delivery at night. Ordering delivery after or near your city’s curfew could put the people delivering your food at risk. 

Free Food for Graduates

Krispy Kreme
The deal:
 Instead of celebrating National Donut Day, Krispy Kreme is celebrating National Donut Week. Get a free donut any day during the week just for stopping in. 
When: June 1-5

The Cheesecake Factory
The deal:
Grab a complimentary slice of candy-themed cheesecake when you place an order through the chain or DoorDash for at least $30. Use the code "CANDYSLICE."
When: June 1-7 

McDonald's
The deal: Every Friday, you can get free French Fries from McDonald's with a minimum $1 purchase. 
When: Fridays through June 28

Steak 'n Shake
The deal: 
Everyone -- yes, that includes you -- is getting a free order of fries at Steak 'n Shake. You'll have to go through the drive-thru, but there's no minimum order. It's open to anyone, at any time as a part of a program called "We're All Essential." Though, you don't have to know that part to get the free fries. 
When: Ongoing

Wendy's
The deal:
Make any purchase at all through the Wendy's app and you'll get a free Spicy Chicken Sandwich or a Breakfast Baconator. (You can actually get both at different times. These are separate offers available in the app.)
When: Through June 7

Food Deals for Graduates

Smashburger
The deal:
The new "Graduation Family Bundle Meal" will get you on your way to a mini grad party. Get four Classic Singles and four Smash Tots starting at $25.95 or six Classic Singles and six Smash Tots starting at $38.95. 
When: Ongoing

Courtesy of Whataburger

Other Food Deals Available Right Now for Graduates

White Castle
The deal:
If you're an employee at a grocery store or a retail food outlet, you can get 20% off any order at White Castle. It's the chain's way of thanking workers for their hard work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
When: Through June 15

Firehouse Subs
The deal:
The chain's new Family Meal deal gets you a mix-and-match of three subs, three orders of chips, and three cookies for $24. 
When: Ongoing

Cousins Subs
The deal:
You can get a free seven-and-a-half-inch sub when you sign up for Cousins Club. Plus, if you're a Cousins Club member and place an online order, you'll get double points.
When: Ongoing

Panera
The deal:
Take advantage of Panera's new curbside service and get $5 off an order of at least $20 when you use the code "CURBSIDE5."
When: Ongoing

Del Taco
The deal:
The code "DELTACONOW" will get you free delivery with no minimum order through Postmates.
When: Ongoing

Subway
The deal:
Use the promo code "SUBWAYNOW" and you'll get free delivery from any service that delivers Subway. 
When: Ongoing

Burger King
The deal:
You can grab eight chicken nuggets for a buck.
When: For a limited time

Taco Bell
The deal:
On March 28, the bean-slinging chain announced that it will expand its free delivery option through Grubhub. You can get free delivery on any delivery order of at least $12.
When: Ongoing

B.GOOD
The deal: Kids eat free on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 
When: Ongoing

Halo Burger
The deal:
Nab a free QP Burger after your first loyalty visit to the burger chain. 
When: Ongoing

Pizza Hut
The deal: For a limited time, you can get a Meat Lover's Pizza for just $10. That's 30% off the usual price. 
When: Ongoing

Pokeworks
The deal:
All new app users get $5 off their order. 
When: Ongoing

Drizly
The deal:
You can get $5 off your first order through Drizly with the code "HELLO."
When: Ongoing

Village Burger Bar
The deal:
Burgers are just $5.99 all day when you swing in for takeout or curbside pickup. 
When: Ongoing

Hurricane Grill & Wings
The deal:
Participating locations are offering 15% off takeout orders. 
When: Ongoing

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
The deal:
If you order at least four pints of ice cream, you can get free delivery when you order through the Jeni's website. Orders through Postmates will not get the same deal.
When: Ongoing

Edible Arrangements
The deal:
The company has temporarily eliminated fees for same-day delivery for orders placed by 3pm daily and many locations are offering free delivery of fresh fruit and produce. 
When: Limited time

Bonchon
The deal:
Order through Uber Eats to get free delivery with an order of $25 or more. 
When: Ongoing

Miguel's Jr.
The deal:
Order through Uber Eats for free delivery. New DoorDash customers can get free delivery with a $15 minimum order. Additionally, if you order through Grubhub, you can get $5 off orders placed from 11am to 7pm. 
When: Ongoing

Uberrito
The deal:
The chain is running a "$5 chicken for pick-up" deal as well as offering a $0.99 kid meal with the purchase of an entrée.
When: Ongoing

Qdoba
The deal:
Get a burrito, side of tortilla chips, salsa, and dessert for $9.95. 
When: Ongoing

Casa Olé
The deal:
Order an entrée and it'll cost you just $0.99 to add a kid meal to your tab. Also, the restaurant is offering double points every day on all pick-up orders. 
When: Ongoing

Qdoba
The deal
: The new Burrito Meal Deal will land you a burrito, tortilla chips, salsa, and a dessert for $9.95. 
When: Ongoing

Capriotti's Sandwich Shop
The deal:
Nab a free grilled cheese sandwich for kids when you buy an entrée and get it delivered.
When: Ongoing

B.GOOD
The deal:
The restaurant has expanded its usual kid meal deal. Kids can eat free every day of the week with the purchase of one adult entrée. In fact, you can get two free kid meals for every adult meal purchase. 
When: Ongoing

Chuck E Cheese
The deal:
The pizza mouse is rolling out a new $5 and $3 menu for carryout and delivery. You can get a large cheese pizza, cheesy bread, or garden salad for $5. There's also unicorn churros, mozzarella sticks, and pretzel bites for $3. 
When: Ongoing

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse
The deal:
Place an order of $9.95 or more and get a free Pizzokie -- that's a portmanteau of pizza and cookie -- when you use the code "PIZOOKIE."
When: Ongoing

Einstein Bros. Bagels
The deal:
The new Hot & Ready Brunch Box lands you six bagels, a tub of shmear, three egg sandwiches, four blueberry muffins, and four twice-baked based browns for $29.99. 
When: Ongoing

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse
The deal:
Get half-off a large pizza with the code "HALFOFF" or get a $6 take-home entrée with a $9.95 purchase. There's a limit of three of the cheap meals per order.
When: A limited time

Red Lobster
The deal:
Order directly through RedLobster.com and you can get free touchless delivery at participating locations. 
When: Ongoing

Baskin-Robbins
The deal:
When you order through DoorDash you can get $0 delivery fees on any order of at least $15 with the code "BASKIN."
When: Ongoing

Panda Express
The deal:
Hospital staff members and first responders will get 10% off any order made in-store at participating locations. 
When: May 11 - December 31

Applebee's
The deal: Spend at least $20 and you can get 25-cent boneless wings with the code "25CENT."
When: Ongoing

Subway
The deal: Belly up with the aid of sandwich artists. Subway is offering BOGO foot-long subs.
When: Ongoing

Taco Cabana
The deal:
There are a few deals you can snag for Mother's Day at Taco Cabana. Get two Nutella empanadas for $2.99 (or a dozen for $14.99), $2 margaritas, or a gallon of margaritas to go for $34.99. 
When: Ongoing

Olive Garden
The deal:
The home of unlimited breadsticks is crafting a Mother's Day Family-Style Take & Bake Bundle. For $40, you get a pan of ready-to-bake Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells, a jumbo house salad with a bottle of Italian dressing, and a dozen ready-to-bake breadsticks with dipping sauce. 
When: Starting May 2

Hooters
The deal:
Make a $30 purchase and you'll get $10 off with the code "GET10." Place and order for $50, and you'll wind up with $15 off when you use the code "GET15."
When: Ongoing

Einstein Bros. Bagels
The deal:
Teachers and parents who are homeschooling their kids can take advantage of a couple of deals for Teacher Appreciation Week. That includes 20% off an eGift Card you can send to someone to say thanks. 
When: Ongoing

Smokey Bones
The deal:
Get a free kids meal with the purchase of any entrée. 
When: A limited time

Taco Cabana
The deal:
If you work in a restaurant, hotel, food service industry, grocery store, big-box store, or drugstore, you can get 50% off your order when you purchase while wearing a uniform or show an ID. 
When: Ongoing

Olive Garden
The deal:
The pasta chain is now offering alcohol delivery with $15 bottles of wine, $10 six-packs, and $3 White Claws. 
When: Ongoing

The Capital Grille
The deal:
Get free delivery on wine and champagne.
When: Ongoing

Besa mi Vino
The deal:
Take 20% off any order of the canned wine with the code "LOVEYOU."
When: Ongoing

Regatta Craft Mixers
The deal:
Get free shipping and feel good about it. Regatta will donate 15% of all online orders to the USBG Bartender Emergency Relief Program. 
When: Ongoing

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 freebiesgift card offersdeals on food for kids, food delivery, and alcohol delivery 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.

Additionally, we've put together a list of places offering free food to healthcare workers and first responders during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.