2021 Veterans Day Free Meals, Discounts, & Events

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Veterans Day Ceremony
Many organizations offer current and former military members with discounts and free items on Veterans Day, including free meals. This list includes some of the more popular restaurants and retailers offering military members, retirees, and veterans a free meal or discount on Veterans Day. Thank you for your service!

Veterans Day is a day to remember and thank military members for their service in the armed forces. As a military veteran, it always humbles me to see the thanks given by so many people on Veterans Day. Though none of us served for recognition, it is nice (and humbling) to be thanked for your service.

Many restaurants and retailers also offer veterans special discounts or even free meals on Veterans Day. This is very generous on their part, and certainly something they don’t have to do. If you are a military veteran, I encourage you to participate in one or more of these events. These Veterans Day appreciation events are a great way to meet other veterans and show the restaurants and retailers you appreciate their generosity.

We recommend sharing this resource with any other Veterans you may know. You can also see a list of military discounts, more Veteran’s Day Free Meals, and Veterans Day Retail Discounts on our other site, The Military Wallet.

Veterans Day Ceremony - Free meals to honor veterans

Free Meals on Veterans Day 2021

Notes: Offers may vary by location; please call ahead or verify offer first, especially with franchises. Most offers require military ID or other proof of service such as a military ID Card, Veterans ID Card, veterans designation on your drivers license, veterans organization card (e.g. VFW, American Legion), or military discharge papers.

Please see this list of free Veterans Day meals for more information on days, times, and eligibility, this will be a great way for you to save money on a meal out!

Did you know? Veterans Day is celebrated Nov. 11 each year. We do our best to verify everything, but we recommend verifying the offer with the restaurant before ordering.

Free Meals & Discounts – Nov. 11, 2021

Please check back for updates closer to Veterans Day, 2021.

Free Meals & Discounts – Nov. 11, 2020

The following offers were from 2020. Many companies offer the same deals each year. Be sure to check back closer to Veterans Day when the companies make their announcements.

  • Applebee’s – free meal from a special menu. More info.
  • Bar Louie – Free flatbread or burger. Locations.
  • BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse – Free entree, up to $14.95 value. Locations.
  • Bob Evans – Free Meal from special menu. More info.
  • California Pizza Kitchen – Free pizza, salad, or pasta from special menu. More info.
  • Chili’s – Free meal on Veterans Day. More info.
  • Cotton Patch Café – Free meal from special menu. Locations.
  • Denny’s – Free Build Your Own Grand Slam 5 a.m. – 12 p.m. Locations.
  • Famous Dave’s – Free 2 Meat Combo served with choice of side and cornbread muffin More info.
  • Golden Corral – Promotional card redeemable for a Free Military Appreciation Meal any Mon-Thurs From November 1, 2020 – May 31, 2021.  Cards available during the month of November. More info.
  • Max & Erma’s – Free Best Cheeseburger in America Combo at participating locations. Locations.
  • McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants (Nov. 8, 2020) – ½ Price Meal from a special menu. More info.
  • O’Charley’s – Free Meal from the $9.99er menu. More info.
  • Red Lobster — Free Appetizer or Dessert. More info.
  • Red Robin – Free Red’s Tavern Double and Bottomless Steak Fries at participating locations. Find one near you.
  • Shoney’s – Free All You Care To Eat, freshly-prepared Breakfast Bar. Locations.
  • Texas Roadhouse – Texas Roadhouse is giving out Free dinner vouchers on Veterans Day from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, which will be redeemable for a free in-store meal through June 2021.

My wife and I are both military veterans, and we went to McCormick & Schmick’s a couple of years ago on the day before Veterans Day. It was a fun evening and a delicious meal. Of course, we tipped the waiter on the full price of the meal before accounting for any discounts.

Depending on which day of the week Veterans Day falls on, some restaurants may offer their free meal on a day other than Veterans Day. For example, Golden Corral almost always offers their free meal on a Monday. That happens to be the same day as Veterans Day this year. But in most years, it falls on a different day of the week. This gives military veterans an opportunity to take advantage of more than one meal at various restaurants if they so choose.

2020 Veterans Day Discounts (Retailers):

Veterans Day Freebies:

Retail Discounts:

  • Home Depot Military Discount – with proof of military service.
  • Lowe’s Military Discount – with proof of military service (more info on Home Depot and Lowe’s Military Discount).
  • Publix, 10% off. Veterans Day only. Valid for current and former military members. Offer excludes prescriptions, alcohol, tobacco, gift cards, lottery tickets, postage stamps, and money services. More info.

Please pass this info along if you know any military veterans and thanks to all who have worn the uniform!

2019 Offers (Pending Updates for 2020)

  • Hooters – Free Meal from select menu w/ drink purchase. Locations.
  • IHOP – Free Red, White, & Blue Pancakes. More info.
  • On The Border – Free choose 2 or choose 3 “Create Your Own Combo”. More info.
  • Outback Steakhouse – 20% off meal ticket. Locations.
  • Ruby Tuesday’s – Free appetizer (up to $10) at participating restaurants. More info.
  • Sizzler – Free Lunch until 4 p.m.
  • Spaghetti Warehouse (Nov. 9 – 11) – Buy one entrée, get one free. Coupon Required.
  • T.G.I. Friday’s –  meal at participating locations. More info.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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  1. Brock Price says

    I am an Operation Enduring Freedom veteran. I work in Norman, Oklahoma. This morning I called the Subway at 2339 W. Main Street (405-364-6555), and I spoke with the manager. I asked him what proof I needed to show I’m a veteran. The manager said I needed a coupon and an ID. He wouldn’t tell me where I could get the coupon, and I told him that many veterans only have their DD214 (not an ID) as proof of being a veteran. He told me (in so many words) that I was SOL. THIS IS SIMPLY A PR STUNT for his restaurant.

    Why would restaurants like this require photo ID proof of being a veteran? It’s because they don’t even know the proof veterans have of being a veteran, and (I fear) they don’t really care. To many, this is simply a PR stunt to keep up with the competition. Once again, military people are getting used and abused.

    • Nancy Selby says

      Hi, Brock. I never tried Subway, but had the most awesome meal at Olive Garden here in Hanover, PA. To top it off, after the filling meal, my dessert came out slightly frozen, so they let me take it home and offered me another one to eat there. And then, even better, a printed Thank You card with a $10 gift certificate inside. Now that’s appreciation and I appreciate The Olive Garden. (p.s. The only I.D. I had was the DD214 and I think they probably would have believed me without showing it. Try a better restaurant next year.

  2. Elise T. says

    Hope everyone had a happy Veterans Day. Just wanted to let you know that GM is continuing to celebrate Vets Day by extending their GM Military Discount to all military retirees for the month of November. If you or someone you know might be interested, go to General Motors ( GM ) Military Discount Program for more details on the program and savings. Thank you soldiers and vets for all you’ve done for our country.

  3. James Briese says

    Is there a way to get submitted to this list for next veterans day? I know so many businesses that would love to offer discounts to veterans.

  4. Rod Douglas says

    To the Vet who didn’t have identification. Use your VA card if you have one and if you don’t just go the nearest VA Clinic or Hospital. Hope you have a great Veterans Day. Now for the “FORGOTTEN VETS OF THE VIETNAM WAR” we are still trying to get you medical and monetary compensation for “Agent Orange ” exposure in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Burma. I hope that the U.S. Legislators who were against us getting equal treatment were voted OUT. Presently only people who worked around the base perimeter are able to get benefits. My self and many others lived in barracks in Thailand located as close as 25 feet away from the perimeter and have “Agent Orange” related diseases. Happy Veterans Day to All’

  5. peggy barnett says

    Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to let vets have a day of anything free. Thank you for your log on page. From One Vet to another, thank you. You have no idea how this helps some vets. Peggy Barnett U.S.ARMY.

  6. Casper says

    We stopped in a 7-11 in Oregon for the free slurpee (one veteran – one active duty, both with ID). We were turned away and told NO 7-11 in our area is paricipating. He acted as though we were trying to scam him for heaven’s sake. 🙁

  7. Rickey L. Branum says

    This is the first year that I am able to celebrate Veteran’s Day for a free meal. For 30 years I did get a free meal and ate with some of the best military folks in the world, Army, Air force, and Marines. I pray that all veterans are well and with some one you care for. Please remember the veterans that are homeless. Do what you can. God bless our Army troopers, AirForce men and women, Navy men and women, and Marines.

  8. Larry Darby says

    If you really want to do something tangible for veterans forget the hamburgers and bumper stickers. Go to meetings that politicians hold when they are campaigning for office and demand that they support adequate funding for the Veterans Administration. Get educated about this and make them be specific. Get loud. Don’t let them escape or avoid your questions.

    Plenty of people say “support our troops” with very little or no meaning behind it. Tell the politicians you want to pay higher federal taxes for educational and medical programs for veterans. Or do you really mean it when you talk about “our heroes”?

  9. Anissa from Dallas says

    Greetings and blessings to all present and former military from a Desert Storm veteran: I just wanted to confirm what Brock Price said. Hardly any of the Subway’s in the Dallas area participate. I tried about five last year and only one participated and three this year and none participated! I feel that because they are a highly franchised company this happens, however I think that they should stop taking advantage of Veteran’s day to ” advertise”. I personally will never go to them again during Veterans Day or possibly never period. I felt very disappointed and used.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Subway was not included in our list, as they weren’t promoting free meals. The corporate office makes a large donation to military charities as their way of supporting the military community. There are dozens of other restaurants out there offering meals or discounts, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one, especially in a large metropolitan area.

  10. George says

    First off, Happy Veterans Day to everyone and thank you for your service and sacrifices. I’m from south of Norman, OK and find that there are a ton of places and people that support us as vets and yes there are a few that don’t seem to care. They ask for an ID because any Joe blow could walk in with a fake dd214 and get a free meal. Oklahoma has the option to have a veteran logo on your drivers license which I think is the best idea they’ve had in a while. No one questions it and it is just as accepted as a va ID. Olive garden in Norman is up there with the top in Norman for veteran appreciation. They forgot my wife’s meal last year on an 80 dollar ticket and remade the entire order for us and an 80 dollar gift card plus we kept the first order. 240 worth of food for 80 can’t complain. Headed there today.

  11. Scott West - USAF says

    I wish to convey a very happy Veteran’s Day to all, especially my fellow brothers and sisters who are service veterans out there, thank you so much for taking time out of your life to serve and sacrifice for my country! And please, let’s all take a moment today (and every day) to reflect, remember and honor those who gave everything for our freedom, after all they are the real heroes, although certainly not the only ones.

    Ditto on everyone’s Subway comments, no disrespect intended, but avoid them altogether if they can’t be flexible enough to accept DD214s or training certificates that quite OBVIOUSLY prove you’ve given of yourself that which they never have, nor could ever understand.

    Olive Garden in Columbia, MO is where I’ll be spending my money later this afternoon, sounds like their Norman, OK and Hanover, PA franchises got it right. Also remember to tip your servers fairly!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Thanks for your comment, Scott! We don’t list Subway for the discounts. Most are franchises, and some offer a meal or discount, and some do not. But there are many wonderful alternatives. Thanks for your service!

  12. Kalen Bruce says

    My wife and I had Chili’s for lunch and we are having free Rib Crib for dinner. I can’t wait for Golden Corral next Monday. That’s always my favorite! Thanks for the list, Ryan!

  13. Jon @ Money Smart Guides says

    Good to see more and more companies offering up free meals and discounts to those that fought for our freedom. I really like how other stores have started offering a standard 5-10% off everyday for our veterans.

  14. Curry Flora says

    Dear Brock,

    Veteran’s Day is not a day where those who served are expected free stuff. I so dislike veterans and soldiers that are trying to use a day of remembering and honor, to try to cop a free meal. You should be ashamed.

    Sgt. Curry Flora
    Disabled vet OIF

    • Ryan Guina says

      Sgt. Flora, I understand your point of view. I don’t think it is right for anyone to demand or expect something for free. That’s not what military members are taught. We didn’t serve just to get discounts and free things. But there is also nothing wrong with gratefully and humbly accepting someone’s gratitude if they offer a free meal or a discount.

  15. June Reister says

    To all the veterans-Thank you for your service. I’m proud to stand among you. For any business that asks veterans to provide a list of things, I guess they don’t need my business the rest of the year either. I had lost my DD-214 in a fire many years ago. The VA sends me letters all the time about my current and potential other benefits. Last year, Applebee’s, Dunkin Donuts and Great Clips took this single sheet of paper as all the proof I needed.

  16. David Guith says

    I totally agree with Sgt. Curry Flora,Disabled vet OIF. We are not owed anything by any business and to feel that way demeans our service. I am thankful that many businesses support us for the service we provided to our country, but to expect something other than a thank you demonstrates an attitude problem.

    Thanks to you Ryan for the exceptional service you provide both our country and those of us who have served. Dave, USAF Ret, SAC B-52s

  17. Deshra says

    All the upset at subway and I gotta show some love to my local subway. My wife works at the walmart in town and subway is right inside. Because we live 45 min drive from the store it is easier on my neck, legs (and fuel) if I stay nearby till her shift is over. Walmart had the “green light a vet” program yet if it weren’t for the awesome ladies in the subway a few csm and/or managers would’ve had me kicked out. It’s hard enough not being able to lie down all day so my pain gets pretty heavy, then to find out a few managers in a store that participates in a safe haven for vets program wants me outside in the heat/ soon to be cold. I’m deeply grateful for the ladies at this subway.
    US AR injured in training. ( motorcycle wreck after service is what damaged my neck and legs)
    As for places requesting ID I know the feeling. I’ve had several refuse my DD-214s.
    Thank you to all my fellow brothers and sisters in arms! HOO-AH!

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