A variety of restaurants and fast-food chains are offering free meals or discounted meals to active-duty, reserve and retired military members and veterans in thanks for their service this Veterans Day 2011. Most participating restaurants will require patrons to arrive in uniform or with some form of military identification, officials said. This can be a U.S. Uniform Service card, a current leave and earnings statement, a DD 214 discharge form or American Legion or VFW membership card. In some cases, restaurants will accept a photograph of the service member or veteran in uniform. Officials encourage military members to call participating restaurants ahead or check their websites to ensure they are participating in the offer, as many are franchises and may have different policies.
— Applebee’s, which will offer veterans and active-duty service members a free meal on Nov. 11. According to company officials, Applebee’s served more than 1 million free meals last Veterans Day, and will allow them to choose from seven entrees this year. Military ID or proof of service is required.
— Chili’s, which will offer all military veterans, past and present a choice of six meals on Nov. 11. The offer is available at stateside restaurants only and does not include beverages and tip, officials said. Proof of military service is required.
— Golden Corral, which will host its 10th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation Dinner Nov. 14 from 6 – 9 p.m. at all stateside Golden Corral restaurants. Veterans, military retirees and currently serving members of the active or reserve components are invited to enjoy a free thank-you dinner, officials said. Over the past 10 years, Golden Corral restaurants have provided over 2.5 million free meals and contributed more than $4.3 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization, they noted.
— Hooters, which will serve up a free meal to all veterans and active-duty military members on Nov. 11. Patrons can choose from new specialty items on the menu at participating restaurants, officials said. A valid military ID or proof of service is required, and guests are required to purchase a beverage.
— Krispy Kreme, where participating stores will present a free donut on Nov. 11 to all active-duty members, retirees and veterans. Officials encourage people to call ahead to ensure that their local Krispy Kreme is participating.
— McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants, which will offer a free lunch or dinner during its 13th annual Veteran’s Appreciation Event on Nov. 13. Veterans are encouraged to make reservations because space is limited, and must show proof of military service, officials said.
— Outback Steakhouse, where active-duty military members and veterans will receive a free serving of bloomin’ onions and a non-alcoholic beverage from Nov. 7 to 11. Patrons must be in uniform or show proof of current or past military service, officials said. During the past two years, Outback and its patrons have donated $2 million to Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization that provides support for active-duty troops, wounded warriors and their families, officials reported.
— Subway, with select locations to offer veterans free six-inch subs on Nov. 11. Officials advise calling ahead to see if a particular restaurant franchise is participating.
— Texas Roadhouse, which will serve up free meals from opening to 4 p.m. on Nov. 11. Officials encourage veterans and active-duty service members to call ahead to check on restaurants’ hours and availability of offer.
— T.G.I. Friday’s, where participating restaurants will offer a buy-one, get-one-free special to anyone with a current or old military ID from Nov. 11 to 14.
— Uno Chicago Grill, which will offer a free entrée or individual pizza on Nov. 11 to patrons who buy another entrée or pizza of equal or greater value. The offer is good for all veterans and active-duty military members in uniform or with a military ID or proof of military service.