Everywhere You Can Get Free Food for Signing Up for Restaurant Reward Programs

Nothing in life is truly free. The maxim is largely true, but it's true 100% of the time with restaurants.

Courtesy of Del Taco
Courtesy of Del Taco

Nothing in life is truly free. The maxim is usually true, but it's true 100% of the time with restaurants. Nonetheless, you can swap an email address for some free goodies at tons of restaurants across the country.

Giving up personal information is certainly not free considering the noise it can create in your inbox and that some of the app-based programs have been a target for hackers, according to a New York Times report. Nonetheless, for some diners, it's a trade they're willing to make. If you're among that crowd, this collection of reward programs will help you sift through the noise. Below you'll find a breakdown of the perks and freebies you can expect from the variety of newsletters, apps, and programs offered by restaurants.

Here are all the perks and freebies you'll find at chain restaurants in the US. 

A&W Restaurants
Sign-up reward: No reward is specified. 
Perks: Deals will be emailed to your inbox, and you'll get a free root beer float on your birthday when you sign up for the A&W Mug Club.

Sign-up reward: Get a free appetizer when you sign-up.
Perks: E-Club members get updates on perks and deals via email. 

Sign-up reward: Sign up for the more-than-just-roast-beef chain's newsletter and you'll start with a coupon for a free roast beef sandwich.
Perks: The newsletter throws promos your way, often including ways to get a free taste of new menu items.

Au Bon Pain
Sign-up reward: Get a free travel mug, which is almost as good as actual coffee. 
Perks: "Special offers, promotions and event information" will be sent to your inbox, which is just vague enough to go either way.

Auntie Anne's
Sign-up reward: You'll get a free pretzel with your first purchase of at least $1. 
Perks: Get 10 points for every $1 you spend, and a free pretzel for every 250 points you save up. You'll also get other deals sent to you in the My Pretzel Perks app. 

Bahama Breeze
Sign-up reward: You'll get a coupon for a free appetizer with the purchase of an entrée.
Perks: You'll get a reward on your birthday and offers sent to your inbox.

Baja Fresh
Sign-up reward: Start your stay in Club Baja with a free taco.
Perks: While Club Baja sounds like a place where you could hang out with Jimmy Buffet and Sammy Hagar, it's actually a place where you'll get a free perk on your birthday and "hundreds of dollars" in perks throughout the course of the year. 

Sign-up reward: When you download the Baskin-Robbins app for the first time, you get a free regular-sized scoop as an in-app offer.
Perks: You'll get an occasional deal delivered to you in the app.

Bd's Mongolian Grill
Sign-up reward: When you sign up for the e-club, you'll get $5 off your next visit. 
Perks: You'll also nab a free meal on your birthday and other deals sent to your inbox. Additionally, if you use the mobile app, you'll get points for purchases that can be redeemed for free grub. 

Sign-up reward: Grab a free side after you sign up. 
Perks: B.GOOD will set you up with a free meal on your birthday. Additionally, you get one point for every dollar you spend. At 25 points you can get a free side or beverage. At 75 points, you can pick up a free smoothie. Or, if you're a master of restraint, you can save your points until you hit 100 for a free entrée. 

BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse
Sign-up reward: Join the Premier Rewards Plus program, and they'll hook you up with a free Pizookie. (That's a deep-dish-inspired cookie if it wasn't immediately clear from the weird portmanteau.)
Perks: You get a point for every dollar you spend in the program. One hundred points gets you a $10 reward. You'll also get another free Pizookie on your birthday.

Black Angus Steakhouse
Sign-up reward: You'll land a free dessert for signing up. 
Perks: For your birthday, you're getting a steak dinner. That's not bad, but it's only offered on your first birthday after joining the club. Outside of those deals, you'll have exclusive offers dropped in your inbox.

Sign-up reward: Go big or go home, I guess. You get a free half-gallon of Legendary Iced Tea with your first purchase. 
Perks: You'll get a coupon for a free Bo-Berry Biscuit with any purchase on your birthday. You'll also see deals hit your inbox with some frequency. 

Bonefish Grill
Sign-up reward: None.
Perks: Get 50% off your meal on every fourth visit.

buffalo wild wings rewards program
Blazin' wings at Buffalo Wild Wings. | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Bruegger's Bagels
Sign-up reward: You'll land a free bagel with cream cheese for your troubles. 
Perks: You'll be sent offers from time to time for being part of their Inner Circle.

Buffalo Wild Wings
Sign-up reward: You'll have 50 points added to your account to get you going. 
Perks: You'll get 100 points for every $10 you spend. Then you can turn those points into rewards. 

Carl's Jr.
Sign-up reward: Sign up for the Carl's Jr. promo club, and you'll get a free small order of fries and a small beverage with the purchase of a Western Bacon Cheeseburger.
Perks: Exclusive offers are sent via email.

Sign-up reward: Get a $5 Charleys reward when you sign up and download the app. 
Perks: Spend a dollar, get a point. A cool 100 points will get you a $5 reward. You'll also get a little something on your birthday.

Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen
Sign-up reward: When you sign up for the eclub, you'll get a free order of chips and queso.
Perks: Members get food deals emailed to them. Vague, but true.

Sign-up reward: Scoop up a free order of Chips & Guac after your first order as a member. 
Perks: Get 10 points for every dollar you spend. Those add up and you can use them to redeem some free food or merch. There's also a promise of something special on your birthday.

Cold Stone Creamery
Sign-up reward: When you first sign-up for My Cold Stone Club Rewards, you get a BOGO coupon for a Creation.
Perks: Enter your phone number at checkout to get one point for every dollar you spend at Cold Stone. Every time you hit 50 points, you'll get $5 to spend at the ice cream shop. No app required.

Cotton Patch Cafe
Sign-up reward: Grab a free appetizer when you sign up. 
Perks: In addition to getting perks emailed to you, you'll get a free dessert every year on your birthday and a free entrée on your anniversary. 

Cousins Subs
Sign-up reward:
The perk changes every month.
Perks: The sub chain started 2020 with the launch of a new reward program. Earn a point for every dollar spent, which can be redeemed for free grub. Sign up via the Cousins Subs app.

Sign-up reward: 50 points added to your account.
Perks: You'll get a point for every dollar you spend at Davanni's. Then you'll earn rewards for every 100 points you accumulate. At 100 and 200 points, you get a $5 off coupon. At 300 and 400 points, you get a $10 off coupon. Lastly, at 500 points, you get a $20 off coupon. 

Del Taco
Sign-up reward: You'll land a pair of free grilled chicken tacos or Del Tacos for signing up. 
Perks: You can grab another pair of free tacos when you download the app, plus you'll get rewards in your inbox and a free shake on your birthday.

Duck Donuts
Sign-up reward:
You'll get a free donut after your first purchase. 
Perks: The recently-launched Duck Donuts Rewards program gets you five points for every dollar you spend. Those will earn you rewards, including free donuts and coffee. You'll also get a free donut on your birthday. 

reward program food deals
Courtesy of Mountain Mike's Pizza

Einstein Bros. Bagels
Sign-up reward: Join the Shmear society and you'll find a free bagel with shmear in your hands. 
Perks: You're getting the hang of this. No huge rewards, but you'll get offers in your inbox.

El Fenix
Sign-up reward: You get a free bag of El Fenix tostada chips. 
Perks: The restaurant will send you exclusive members-only offers for discounts on food.  

Firehouse Subs
Sign-up reward: Get a free large drink with the purchase of a sub.
Perks: With each purchase, you'll earn points toward freebies. Plus, you get a free sub on your birthday. 

Halo Burger
Sign-up reward: After your first visit, you'll get a free Premium QP Burger.
Perks: Purchases made at Halo build up points toward freebies. You'll get a free burger at 500 points or when you refer a friend. You'll also get a little perk on your birthday. 

Hungry Howie's
Sign-up reward: You get 50 points to start your account, which is almost to a free pizza already. Bangarang, Ruffio.
Perks: Howie Rewards lets you accumulate points through purchases and redeem those points for free food. You'll earn 10 points for every delightfully vague "qualifying purchase." Pile up 60 points for a free two-topping pizza.

Hwy 55
Sign-up reward: Download the My Hwy 55 app and you will be set up with a free milkshake. 
Perks: Scan your receipts into the app and you'll earn points based on your purchases. Get enough points and they'll send you a code for rewards. 

Sign-up reward: Nothing. 
Perks: The whole program is a weird play on Bitcoin. It's confusing. On the other hand, the framework for restaurant reward programs is pretty much always the same. Here, you spend $5 and you get one PanCoin. A bunch of PanCoins can be used to grab yourself some good food. 

Sign-up reward: A free order of chips and salsa are yours for signing up.
Perks: You'll get a point for every buck you spend. Every 250 points, you'll get a free entrée.

Jet's Pizza
Sign-up reward: There's no reward for signing up. 
Perks: Signing up for the "Crunch Club" will get you special offers in your inbox from time to time. 

Joella's Hot Chicken
Sign-up reward: The chicken-slinging restaurant will catapult you forward to 99% of the way toward redeeming your first reward. 
Perks: For every $100 you spend, you earn a free chicken plate, sandwich, or salad. Your choice. It also promises a free dessert on your birthday. 

Juice It Up
Sign-up reward: Get a free medium Classic Smoothie with a $5 purchase after joining Juice It Up! Rewards.
Perks: With the Smooth eClub, you can get special discounts and promotions by email. 

Maggie Moo's and Marble Slab Creamery
Sign-up reward: For joining the excellently named Slab Happy Rewards, you get a $5 reward after making your first purchase. 
Perks: You'll earn a point for every dollar you spend. Every 50 points you collect can be redeemed for a $5 treat. The program recently transitioned to an app-based program.

Mimi's Cafe
Sign-up reward: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That's why you get a free two-pack of croissants or muffins when you sign up for Mimi's e-club.
Perks: You get perks sent to your inbox and a "sweet reward" on your birthday. 

MOD Pizza
Sign-up reward: You get 75 points free when you open your account. 
Perks: You get one point for every dollar you spend. At 150 points, you'll get a free MOD menu item. 

Moe's Southwest Grill
Sign-up reward: You're getting a free cup of queso after you sign up. 
Perks: You get a free burrito on your birthday every year. Boo-ya. You also accumulate points as you dine and you can turn those points into food. 

Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes
Sign-up reward: You'll get a free order of fries when you download the app and sign-up for Mooyah Rewards. 
Perks: You get a point for every dollar you spend. Earning 100 points lands you a $10 reward. Plus, there will be other random rewards thrown out there when you least expect it. 

Mountain Mike's Pizza
Sign-up reward: Get $5 off your first order after signing up for Mountain Rewards. 
Perks: You earn loyalty points when you spend money, and, surprise, those points turn into rewards. 

Muscle Maker Grill
Sign-up reward:
Grab a free small smoothie for signing up. 
Perks: You'll get a point for every dollar you spend. Those mysterious points can magically become a free wrap, salad or entrée if you collect 120 of them. You'll also get a free wrap, salad or entrée on your birthday. 

Nekter Juice Bar
Sign-up reward: None
Perks: The program recently changed. Visitors are no longer rewarded for the number of visits. Instead, you get three points for $1 you spend. You can use the points to get rewards, as well as perks like special offers, a birthday reward, and referral bonuses. 

On the Border
Sign-up reward: After signing up, you get a free dessert with the purchase of your first entrée. 
Perks: Get a point for every dollar you spend on anything except for alcohol. Those points turn into some free food, eventually.

Sign-up reward: None. 
Perks: You get perks as you build up points from your purchases. 

Papa Murphy's
Sign-up reward: Take 25% off your next online order with a coupon received after sign-up. 
Perks: You'll get discounts catapulted into your inbox by the take-and-bake pizza chain. You can choose whether you want the offers in your inbox or as a text message.

Pie Five Pizza
Sign-up reward: A free order of Garlic Butter Breadstix is yours. You'll also get 25 bonus points to get you moving toward some rewards. Though, those are only available when you sign up for the program through Facebook.
Perks: You'll get one point for every dollar you spend. When you hit 100 points, you'll get $10 off your next purchase. 

El Pollo Loco
Sign-up reward: Get hooked up with a free order of chips and guac for signing up. 
Perks: Get one point per dollar spent. Then get a $5 reward for every 50 points you accumulate. Plus you'll be set up with a reward on your birthday.

reward programs deals restaurants
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Sign-up reward: None. 
Perks: On top of special days where Perks members get... well... perks, you accumulate smiles for every $2 you spend and the smiles get you to different levels with different perks. Okay. It sounds a bit like Schrute bucks. You can see how it all breaks down here

Sign-up reward: You'll be rewarded with a free four-inch sub for signing up. (It's not the size that matters.)
Perks: Spend a dollar, earn a point. Over time, those points magically turn into sandwiches.

Red Cow
Sign-up reward: The Minneapolis-based chain's e-club offers a $10 gift to apply to your check the next time you dine in. 
Perks: You'll get the occasional offer in your inbox, as well as a free burger offer on your birthday. 

Red Lobster
Sign-up reward:
Perks: The revamped My Red Lobster Rewards will allow you to earn points over the course of the year. There are a few levels, which can get you special offers, birthday rewards, and bonus points.

Rubio's Coastal Grill
Sign-up reward: They'll say cheers to your new friendship by offering you a free taco.
Perks: The Beach Club means you'll get the vaguely labeled "exclusive offers and special promotions."

sonny's bbq reward program
A meal deal at Sonny's. | Courtesy of Sonny's BBQ

San Pedro Fish Market Grille
Sign-up reward: You'll get one free shrimp taco when you sign up. 
Perks: It's not totally clear from the site, but you'll get some offers in your inbox. That's kind of the drill with most of these programs.

Sign-up reward: A free small classic sandwich is headed your way. 
Perks: You'll get $7 off after your 7th visit. Schlotzsky's will also send you some discounts via email. 

Sign-up reward:
Get a free slice of pie.
Perks: You earn a point per dollar spent. If you somehow get to 100 points, you'll get a $5 reward, which seems a little paltry. However, temper that disappointment with the free slice of pie you get on your birthday and perks like getting every sixth shake for free and every 13th pie for free. Kind of makes it worthwhile in the end.

Sign-up reward: You'll get a free entrée when you sign up for the Real Deal eClub. 
Perks: Members get deals sent to their inbox.

Sign-up reward: Slice offers a single Pizza Point when you sign up. That puts you 1/8th of the way toward a free pizza. 
Perks: Slice is an app that connects you to local pizza shops. For every pizza you order (or order from a pizza shop in general that hits at least $15), you'll get a Pizza Point. Eight Pizza Points means you're getting a free cheese pizza (up to $25) at a shop of your choice.

Sign-up reward: When you download the Cheddar Fries Nation app, you'll get a free small order of Cheddar Fries. 
Perks: You'll get rewards on your birthday and for referring a friend. You'll also earn points for every dollar you spend at Snuffer's. Those point earn you rewards like free appetizers, shakes, burgers, and more. 

Sonny's BBQ
Sign-up reward: You'll get $5 off your first meal after you join.
Perks: In addition to being emailed exclusive offers, you'll also get a free Big Deal Combo Meal on your birthday. 

Sign-up reward: Nothing. 
Perks: It's a pretty light reward program. You'll get four "tokens" for every dollar spent. Collect 200 tokens and you'll get a $2 reward. Basically, you get $2 back for every $50 you spend. There's also the occasional special offer thrown your way outside of the token thing. 

True Food Kitchen
Sign-up reward: Get $10 off an order of at least $25. The offer can be redeemed online or in-store.
Perks: The tiered reward program is based on annual spending. The higher your tier, the more incentives you get. You'll also get preview tastings of menu changes and comped food on occasion.

Uncle Julio's Mexican From Scratch
Sign-up reward:
Get a free order of guacamole made at your table just for signing up. 
Perks: Uncle Julio put together a points-based reward program that looks like it was built for the extremely loyal, though it rewards them quite well. The first time you gather up 250 points, you'll get a $25 credit for your next visit and another $25 credit for your birthday. At 500 points, you earn priority seating for up to four guests on every visit, plus a free dessert or appetizer "fiesta" for up to 15 friends. You get one year to reach each successive level. And there are plenty more after those two.

UNO Pizzeria and Grill
Sign-up reward: You get a free appetizer when you sign up for the Insider's Club. 
Perks: You'll also land a free dessert on your birthday, as well as coupons in your inbox.

Village Inn
Sign-up reward: You'll get a "special welcome offer."
Perks: If you sign up you'll be the "first to know about valuable deals, coupons, new entrées, and events."

WaBa Grill
Sign-up reward: Get a free Chicken Bowl after your first purchase.
Perks: You spend money, you get points. Points turn into other stuff. That's how it goes with reward programs.

Wayback Burger
Sign-up reward: Get a free Classic Burger after your first order.
Perks: Get one point for every dollar you spend. When you hit 100 points, you get a $10 reward. 

Wetzel's Pretzels
Sign-up reward: You're getting a free lawn mower! No. You're getting a free "pretzel item." It's a pretzel shop.
Perks: Happy birthday to you! You get a free pretzel on your birthday. You also get a free "pretzel item" after you purchase six "pretzel items." You'll also get offers sent to your inbox. Their rewards program is app-based, so you need to download the app.

Which Wich
Sign-up reward:
You'll nab a free drink for join the weirdly-named Vibe Club Rewards. 
Perks: Every 75 points you accumulate will land you a free regular seven-inch sandwich. You'll also get a free one on your birthday, as well as access to other promotions through the app. 

Sign-up reward: Join "The Club" (look, it's called Wingstop, they don't beat around the bush naming things) and get a free order of fries.
Perks: You'll get emails on deals and a free gift for your birthday. 

Yard House
Sign-up reward: You'll get an offer for a free appetizer in your inbox. 
Perks: Discounts will be emailed to you with some regularity. 

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 birthday freebies and gift card deals you’ll find. You're welcome.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer on the news team at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.