What is in this article?:
- Restaurants honor military with free food on Veteranâ€™s Day
- Enlisting other partners
- Serving those who serve
Concepts also partner with nonprofit organizations to raise funds for veterans.
Enlisting other partners
Several restaurant chains have tied their Veterans Day promotions to military support charities, in addition to treating service members to free food on Nov. 11.
This is the 13th consecutive year that Golden Corral has put on Military Appreciation Monday, serving military personnel a free dinner and beverage while raising money for Disabled American Veterans. This year, the Raleigh, N.C.-based buffet chain has enlisted actor Gary Sinise and rock band Collective Soul to record public-service announcements in support of the promotion, which is nearing 4 million meals served to veterans and active service members and $8.5 million raised for Disabled American Veterans.
Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants Inc. is partnering with the USO to donate 15,000 storybooks to the organization’s United Through Reading Military Program. In addition, its three major casual-dining brands all have different military appreciation promotions this month.
Olive Garden is providing a free entrée from a special menu to veterans and active military personnel on Veterans Day, and all family members dining with that person receive 10 percent off their bills. From Nov. 11-14, Red Lobster is serving a complimentary appetizer to all service members, and during the same period LongHorn Steakhouse is offering all service members a free Texas Tonion appetizer and free nonalcoholic beverages.
Tampa, Fla.-based Outback Steakhouse is not only serving a complimentary Bloomin’ Onion appetizer to all service members on Veterans Day; the casual-dining chain is also offering a 10-percent discount to service members through the rest of the year. Outback has supported Operation Homefront for more than 20 years and has donated more than $2 million to that organization.
Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is giving away one free Tavern Double burger to any veteran or active service member on Veteran’s Day. In-store signage also supports the “Our Turn to Serve” campaign from Heinz and the Wounded Warrior Project. Red Robin has announced a separate $10,000 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project as well.
Sizzler also has signed on to Heinz’s campaign to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, in which guests can scan a QR code on the back of a specially marked ketchup bottle, activating a page that lets the user write a “thank you” message to an active-duty service member. The ketchup supplier will donate $1 to the Wounded Warrior Project for every “thank you” message created, and it will donate an additional 57 cents for every message shared via social media.
In addition, Mission Viejo, Calif-based Sizzler is offering troops and veterans a free lunch on Veterans Day — from a selection of a six-ounce tri-tip steak, Malibu Chicken or a half-dozen fried-shrimp entrée with a side dish.
Hooters is also offering veterans a free meal, up to $10.99 in value and with the purchase of a beverage, on Veterans Day. The Atlanta-based brand also runs several annual promotions for the military, including Operation Calendar Drop, in which fans who purchase a 2014 Hooters Girl calendar are encouraged to buy a second calendar and personalize it with a message of appreciation to the military. Hooters plans to deliver all donated calendars to military service members stationed overseas this winter.
Earlier this year, Hooters launched its inaugural Hooters for Heroes fundraising campaign, which netted $150,000 for the Green Beret Foundation.
On The Border, the Dallas-based casual-dining chain specializing in Mexican food, is offering its “Create Your Own Combo” menu for free to all veterans and active-duty military members on Nov. 11. That same day, On The Border is donating 15 percent of sales from guests who present a give-back flyer to Carry the Load, a nonprofitorganization that supports veterans, military families and first responders.
Another complimentary combo meal is available for military personnel at Columbus, Ohio-based Max & Erma’s restaurants. The casual-dining chain is offering a free Best Cheeseburger in America with fries and a cookie. The brand said its founder, Max Visocnik, was a military veteran and often served fellow service members with free meals at the original Max & Erma’s in Columbus’ German Village neighborhood.
Friendly’s Ice Cream, the Wilbraham, Mass.-based family-dining chain, is serving its Big-Two-Do breakfast and coffee to service members for free on Veterans Day in 15 eastern states. The brand also has an ongoing partnership with Easter Seals, another organization that serves veterans.