Who doesn’t love receiving free gifts for their birthday from their favorite stores, coffee shops and restaurants? It’s important to stay in the loop when it comes to the places to go, rewards programs to sign up for and things to know when celebrating your birthday. Otherwise, you’ll realize too late you missed out on birthday freebies.
There are hundreds of restaurants offering free food on or around your birthday — you just have to find them. Some require you to sign up for their rewards program months in advance, while others only need you to tell your waiter or show your ID. Let’s walk through your birthday options from breakfast to dessert, so you can take advantage of the most birthday freebies.
If you’re a big coffee drinker, make sure a stop at Starbucks is a birthday priority. Starbucks is happy to treat you to a free drink on your birthday — but be sure to make it there on your actual birthday, or you won’t receive your drink on the house. You can also swing by Dunkin’ or go online to sign up for the DDPerks program a few weeks before your big day, because one of the birthday perks is a free beverage of any size. Dunkin’ gives you the full week of your birthday before the coupon expires on the DDPerks app.
Your favorite local coffee shops might also have specials, like a free pastry or coffee on or around your birthday. Check with the barista next time you’re ordering coffee so you’ll know what steps to take to receive your free birthday treat.
IHOP’s birthday pancakes are the perfect way to start off your morning after your coffee run; all you have to do is join MyHop, and they’ll send your yearly birthday gift straight to your inbox. If you prefer waffles to pancakes, Waffle House is a must-go. They offer a free birthday waffle if you sign up for their rewards program in advance.
You “donut” want to miss out on Krispy Kreme’s free, freshly glazed dozen doughnuts either, available to claim anytime during your birthday month. Bojangles’ e-club will send you a free birthday Bo-berry biscuit to satisfy all of your biscuit cravings — but the biscuit is only free with a purchase. Buy one of the chain’s famous sweet teas to sip with the biscuit and you’ll be set. Denny’s offers a free Grand Slam breakfast plate if you just show the waiter your ID on the day of your birthday.
MyRecipes has a more expansive list of places to receive a free breakfast item on or around your birthday, from shops like Einstein Bros. Bagels to Cinnabon.
Lunch and Dinner Freebies
You’ll find that the type of birthday freebies that various restaurants offer do not cover your entire meal. Some, like Red Robin and Famous Dave’s, will entice you with a coupon for a free entree like a burger. At Moe’s Southwest Grill, you receive a free birthday burrito, at Firehouse Subs you get a free medium sub sandwich and at Buffalo Wild Wings you can pick up a free snack-size pack of wings.
However, most restaurants will only offer a dessert for free. For instance, a free chocolate chunk cookie will pop up in your Chick-fil-A app if you’re registered for its rewards program, and a complimentary pastry reward will arrive in your MyPanera account that you can pick up on any of the days surrounding your birthday.
Regardless of whether or not you choose to eat at a given restaurant on your birthday, many will give you great deals or freebies that you can cash in at any point throughout your birthday month. You should definitely sign up for their rewards programs because you never know what specials will end up in your inbox as your birthday approaches.
If you’re not sure whether or not a restaurant has one, don’t be afraid to ask an employee or look it up online. Make sure to tell your waiter that it’s your birthday, even if you haven’t signed up for a restaurant’s rewards program. Since many restaurants serve birthday desserts, a lot of them do not necessarily require you to join their incentive programs to receive a birthday treat. If you’re too embarrassed to mention it, encourage a friend or family member to bring it up when talking with the waiter.
There’s an almost endless amount of dessert places that give out sweet treats to celebrate your special day. Some places, like Dairy Queen and Cold Stone Creamery, will give you a buy-one-get-one coupon. Other places will give you different discounts or coupons. For example, The Great American Cookie Company offers a free birthday slice with a soda purchase. Places like TCBY and Yogurtland require you to reach a certain status in their rewards programs before you earn their free birthday desserts.
You really hit the jackpot, though, with places like Maggie Moo’s, whose SlabHappy rewards program gives you a free small cone for your birthday. Nothing Bundt Cakes’ e-club also gives you a free birthday Bundt cake. Check out SpoonUniversity for more ideas on where to go for free sweets, from The Cheesecake Factory’s free sundae to Baskin Robbins’ $3 off.
You typically have to sign up for the rewards programs for pretty much all of the dessert shops — so make sure you’ve downloaded the app or registered at least a month in advance. There are exceptions, however, like Cracker Barrel, Carrabba’s and many other restaurants where you only need to tell your waiter that it’s your birthday to get a free dessert.
Make the Most of Your Birthday Freebies
You should celebrate at every meal on your birthday and throughout the whole month. Let your favorite restaurants treat you to free goodies and save your money to spend on a birthday gift for yourself. Grab your phone or computer and start signing up for all of the rewards programs out there so that you don’t miss one free birthday drink, meal or dessert.
If you’re looking for an even more in-depth checklist of birthday freebies, there are several blog sites that offer detailed lists and suggestions. Many of these also include a list of retail stores that give birthday discounts, from Nike to Anthropologie, and entertainment reward programs to join before your birthday, like AMC Theatres and RedBox.