No one can say it often enough: Thank you for your service, veterans and active military members.
But as nice as it is to hear those words, free goodies are also a nice token of appreciation.
And since this Friday is Veterans Day, there’s plenty of tangible gratitude coming your way.
Free Food for Vets and Military Members This Veterans Day
Looking for some free eats? The following restaurants have confirmed that they’ll be giving away meals, coffee and more this Friday.
Veterans and active-duty military members can score more than just a free meal from Applebee’s this Friday: You’ll also get a $5 coupon redeemable between Nov. 12 and Nov. 27, 2016.
You can choose from seven of Applebee’s signature dishes, including it’s “Butcher’s” meat and potatoes, three-cheese chicken penne and the oriental chicken salad — and, of course, a good ol’ American burger.
2. Bob Evan’s
Bob Evans is offering military members and vets a free meal off a sumptuous-looking six-item menu that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner options. You can redeem this freebie any time on Nov. 11.
3. Buffalo Wild Wings
Craving hot, delicious wings? Who isn’t?
Head to your local B-Dubs for a complimentary small order of wings any time this Friday, Nov. 11. The offer doesn’t include your drink, and you do have to dine in.
BurgerFi will serve all veterans or active-duty military members a free small custard on Nov. 11 when you present your military ID or show up in uniform, no purchase necessary.
5. California Pizza Kitchen
Whether it’s pasta, salad or pizza you’re after, you’ll eat it for free at California Pizza Kitchen this Friday.
Veterans and active service members get a free entree when they arrive in uniform or show their military ID this Friday. Choose from a special menu including some of CPK’s favorites, like BBQ chicken pizza, Thai crunch salad and spaghetti bolognese.
This Italian chain will offer a free appetizer to vets and active-duty military any day between Nov. 7 and Nov. 13. Just mention the offer to your server to redeem it.
7. Chicken Salad Chick
Veterans will get a free “Original Chick” — a meal including a chicken salad scoop or sandwich, side, pickle and a cookie — as well as a regular drink when they pop into Chicken Salad Chick this Friday.
No purchase is necessary, but the Foy location on Auburn’s campus is exempt from the deal.
Head to Chili’s with your military ID to get a free entree any time on Nov. 11.
Grab a friend and head once more into the fray: Chipotle’s offering vets and active-duty service members a BOGO deal this Veterans Day.
Head into the store with your closest buddy (or a really, really big appetite) between 3 p.m. and closing time to take advantage of the offer, which is good on salads, bowls and tacos, too.
Start your day off right: Denny’s is offering active, inactive and retired military personnel a free build-your-own Grand Slam this Friday between 5 a.m. and noon.
The dish includes your choice of four breakfast items, from pancakes to eggs to hash browns to bacon (of course).
Ready for some carb-loading? Fazoli’s will offer active-duty and retired military members a free serving of build-your-own pasta when you flash your military ID or show up in uniform, no purchase necessary.
This joint might be best known for its ice cream, but it also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner — and you’ll get one of those meals for free if you show up at Friendly’s with your military ID this Friday.
You can choose from two menu options: The “Big-Two-Do” including a customizable array of breakfast goodies, or if lunch or dinner’s more your style, a burger with fries and a drink.
Stop by Hooter’s this Friday, Nov. 11, for a free entree off its special Veterans Day menu, which includes the following options: 10-piece traditional or boneless wings, a burger, a buffalo chicken salad or buffalo chicken sandwich.
The offer does stipulate that you’ll need to purchase a beverage — but at least you can have whatever sauce you want!
Grab your military ID and head to your local IHOP to get a free short stack of red, white and blue pancakes this Veterans Day — that is, three fluffy, buttermilk pancakes smothered with blueberry topping, scattered with glazed strawberries and finished with whipped cream. Yum.
15. Krispy Kreme
Anyone who identifies themselves as military personnel can get a free donut and small coffee at Krispy Kreme this Friday, no ID required.
The offer’s good all day long, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., so you might as well wait until that famous “hot” light kicks on. The deal doesn’t work in the drive-thru, however.
16. Longhorn Steakhouse
Veterans and active-duty military personnel will get a free appetizer or dessert at Longhorn this Friday — plus 10% off the check for the whole table.
17. Mission BBQ
This southern and midwestern joint’s tagline is “The American Way,” so we weren’t surprised to find out it’s supporting vets this Friday.
Drop by your favorite Mission BBQ location on Nov. 11 to get a free sandwich and slice of cake (while it lasts).
18. Olive Garden
Vets and active duty military will score a free entree from Olive Garden this Friday.
Its special Veterans Day menu includes six delicious options with breadsticks and your choice of soup or salad.
19. On the Border
Ready to spice it up? Get a free lunch combo plate when you dine in at On the Border this Friday.
20. Outback Steakhouse
Head down under for a free Bloomin’ Onion and a beverage on Nov. 11. Outback serves Coke products only, and you’ll need your military ID to redeem the freebie.
The chain is also running a special from Nov. 12 through Dec. 31 where military mates — including both active-duty military and military families — can receive 15% off their checks.
21. Red Lobster
Red Lobster will serve up a free appetizer or dessert to vets and active service members who flash their ID or proof of service on Thursday, Nov. 10, or Friday, Nov. 11.
You’ll choose from its special menus including six different dishes for either option — see the full deets here, or wait ‘til you get to the restaurant and surprise yourself.
22. Red Robin
You’ll get a free “Red’s Tavern Double” burger and a bottomless order of steak fries when you show your proof of service at Red Robin this Friday.
No purchase is necessary, but it won’t count toward your Red Robin Royalty rewards accrual.
23. Ruby Tuesday
Vets can get any appetizer up to a $10 value free on Friday, Nov. 11, at this casual chain.
24. Texas Roadhouse Grill
Swing by Texas Roadhouse between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. this Friday to get a free lunch entree with proof of service.
Even if your favorite location usually doesn’t open until dinner time, never fear: “Every single Texas Roadhouse location will be opening early in honor of Veterans Day,” per a company representative’s Facebook comment.
25. TGI Friday’s
Veterans Day falls on a Friday this year, so why not head to this aptly named chain this year?
Show your military ID to get a free lunch entree up to a $12 value between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Veterans Day.
Other Veterans Day Freebies and Deals
Now that your belly’s full, check out these other freebies and deals that support veterans and military members this month. Some of these are open to civilians, so you can help celebrate our military members’ sacrifices even if you’ve never served!
It’ll also offer vets and active duty military a 20% discount on their entire checks all day from Nov. 9 to Nov. 11.
27. Baskin Robbins
Do you scream for ice cream? Baskin Robbins will donate 11 cents from every scoop of ice cream sold on Nov. 11 to the United Service Organizations.
It’s also bringing back “First Class Camouflage” as its November flavor of the month. The tri-flavor scoop features chocolate, salty caramel and cake-flavored ice creams, and, of course, is green, brown and tan.
28. Great Clips
Know a vet whose coif looking a little less than ship-shape? Need a quick snip yourself?
Head to Great Clips for a haircut this Friday, and you’ll get a free haircut card to give to your favorite veteran. They’ll be able to redeem it from Nov. 12 to Dec. 31, 2016, with proof of military service.
If you’re a vet yourself, head in on the 11th for a free haircut then and there, or a card if you want to come back later.
29. The National Park Service
Need to get some fresh air after all that free food, vets?
Head to your favorite National Park this Friday, and you’ll get in for free. In fact, so will all your friends and family, even if they’ve never served.
What better way to honor your sacrifice than to go out and actually be on the land you fought for?
Psst, southern vets: Maybe save your grocery shopping for Friday.
Publix will offer active military members and vets 10% off their purchases when they show their ID, so this might be a good time to stock up!
31. Red Roof Inn
Maybe you want to celebrate Veterans Day with a getaway.
If so, consider staying at a Red Roof Inn: It’s offering veterans 15% off hotel stays for the whole month of November.
The chain is also hosting a social media contest that might win you a free weekend getaway!
All you have to do is share a photo of, and story about, your favorite veteran on Twitter, and tag @redroofinn in the post. (Make sure you’re following the company, too!)
Enter by Nov. 29. Four winners will be chosen “at random” on Nov. 30, and will win two VIP passes for free nights at any Red Roof Inn nationwide and a $250 travel gift card.
Your Turn: How will you honor Veterans Day?
Jamie Cattanach is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her writing has also been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot, Nashville Review and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.