Let’s face it: finding a way to get free food or drink on your anniversary is a challenge in 2020. With so many restaurants either shut down or doing take-out only, it’s hard to cash in loyalty rewards program points for that anniversary freebie. It’s the same with birthday freebies.
For example, Landry’s Restaurants announced earlier this year that they would let birthday freebies roll over for three extra months. Not sure what’s happening with free food or drink on your anniversary.
Whenever possible I’ve reached out to the brands below to get an update on these anniversary perks. Most importantly, I want to know if you can still get them if you’re dining to go or doing take out. I’m doing the same with birthday freebies.
In the before times, it was easy to head to local restaurants, cafes, or eateries, or use cash back apps, to get a little something special on your special day. What is this something special? Free food or drink on your anniversary.
How to get a free anniversary gift
How do you get this free anniversary gift? First, sign up for a restaurant’s mailing list or download an app to your phone.
A restaurant rewards program might be called an eClub, but basically you need to register on the site. As a result of signing up, you’ll get an email near your anniversary for your free food or drink offer.
None of the restaurants I found ask for proof of a wedding or an anniversary date in order to give this freebie. That means that everyone should be able to get free food on your anniversary just by entering the date!
This list was updated in early 2020. It includes 9 12 places you can go or services you can use (in alphabetical order) that can help you celebrate your big day with free food or drink on your anniversary.
So if you are looking for ideas on anniversary meals, this blog post can help.
Savings on your anniversary dinner
Here is a great way to save BIG money on an anniversary dinner. Buy a discounted gift card or deal. Here are three ways to do that.
Restaurant.com gift cards
You can get a Restaurant.com gift card at a heavy discount. Enjoy an extra 60% off restaurant certificates! Use code: COOL So you can have your anniversary dinner somewhere you like at a savings plus enjoy your anniversary dinner freebie to boot.
Use Rakuten to save
There are ways to save on restaurant meals using Rakuten (formerly Ebates), the cash back service. This includes dining in house as well as delivery services. Have you signed up for Rakuten yet? If not, what’s holding you back? Since I signed up for Rakuten, my lifetime cash back has added up to $2,626.44–and counting.
Save with Groupon
Buy gift cards on Raise.com
Right now, new customers can save $5 off your first order of $25+ when you purchase already discounted gift cards at Raise! Code NEW5RAISEAF. Raise has gift cards to restaurants like Applebee’s and Starbucks. Here are links to those specific restaurants, in case you’re interested:
Restaurants offering anniversary freebies
There are two options for signing up for Abuelo’s eClub. You can do it online or in one of the Mexican restaurant’s locations in more than a dozen states. Upon signing up, Abuelo’s sends a gift. Then on your anniversary, you’ll get a free dinner entree when you purchase a dinner entree.
2. Buca di Beppo
What is Buca di Beppo? It is a nationwide chain that features Italian food. When you sign up for the Buca eClub, be sure to include your anniversary date along with your birthday. Then, on those two special occasions, you can expect to receive a free small dish of pasta.
However, these days things are a little different. It seems that the anniversary freebie is now more of a BOGO, or buy one, get one, freebie. Here’s what the brand told me:
3. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Bar
You want to become a “Friend of Fleming’s.” That’s what Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar calls its mailing list/customer club. When you sign up, you will receive information about seasonal menus, new wine collections, and tasting opportunities. As a member of the club, look out for an email notification when it’s time to take advantage of the free food on your anniversary offer. This is something you can enjoy as long as you dine at Fleming’s within 30 days of your anniversary.
Since this anniversary freebie changes each year, you never know what you might get. It could be a specialty dessert, a glass of champagne, or a box of house-made chocolate truffles–or something else completely.
4. Fogo de Chao
Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian steakhouse with an eClub. Not only will Fogo send you an email about how to get free food on your anniversary, but you can also expect to hear from them around your birthday.
If you happen to be having your anniversary dinner in Minneapolis, I’ve got great news for you: Check out this valet parking Groupon deal for Fogo de Chao!
Make sure you sign up for Ibotta.com before dining out anywhere. You could get cash back on your restaurant meal or drinks at the bar, which could equal free drinks on your anniversary. This past Valentine’s Day, Ibotta let you enjoy a glass of champagne FOR FREE! So if your wedding anniversary is on or around Valentine’s Day, you could have enjoyed free champagne on your anniversary.
6. Maggiano’s Little Italy
Upon signing up for Maggiano’s Little Italy email, you’ll get a $10 off coupon to use on your next visit. While I cannot confirm what the freebie is for your anniversary (or your birthday for that matter), Maggiano’s must have something planned. Why else would they ask for these dates when you sign up?
Planning to dine out at Maggiano’s in Chicago? Here’s another deal for you: a Groupon deal for valet parking at Maggiano’s Little Italy.
7. Marie Callenders
The chain Marie Callenders has restaurants in five Western states, plus Texas. Its restaurant customers can enjoy an anniversary gift similar to its birthday deal. That gift is likely to be a coupon for $5 off your meal. In addition, you’ll get a free piece of pie for dessert.
When buying an anniversary gift, you should check out companies with a lifetime guarantee or warranty.
8. Mimi’s Cafe
Sign up for Mimi’s Cafe‘s Club Fun e-Club for your freebies. First, you’ll get a coupon for free muffins upon signing up. Next, around the time of your anniversary, you’ll get a BOGO (buy one, get one free) meal on your anniversary.
9. Romano’s Macaroni Grill
When you sign up for “The Dish,” Romano’s Macaroni Grill’s newsletter, you’ll get $5 off an entree. While completing the sign-up form, be sure to include your wedding anniversary date. That way you’ll receive a coupon for free food on your anniversary around the time of your anniversary. What is that freebie? A free piece of chocolate cake.
10. Ruth’s Chris Steak House
If you decide to dine at Ruth’s Chris Steak House for your anniversary, you’ll get a free dessert to share at the end of your meal. Just make sure you’ve signed up for the restaurant’s email list in advance!
And check this out: you can get Ruth’s Chris Steak House gift cards at a discount through Raise.com!
11. Steak N Shake
On the Steak N Shake eClub sign-up form, this family-friendly restaurant asks for your “special anniversary date.” So it need not be a wedding anniversary. It could be an adoption anniversary or some other special occasion. Then it promise to send you “a little something extra on those dates to help you celebrate” on that day. Also, my sources tell me that, based on the birthday freebie Steak N Shake offers, your free food on your anniversary may be the same–a cheeseburger and fries.
FYI, you can use Ibotta to pay at Steak N Shake and earn free cash back. How would you like to get free money on your anniversary, too? Sign up for Ibotta today. I just signed up for Ibotta last year and my lifetime cash back is already $274.75 and counting!
Thinking about going away for your anniversary? Visit TripAdvisor first to read reviews and save up to 25% on hotels for a romantic getaway!!
12. Texas de Brazil
When you sign up for the Texas de Brazil e-club, right away you get a coupon to save $20 on your first two meals. There is more good stuff to come from this Brazilian steakhouse. These freebies including that free food on your anniversary. In fact, here is what the sign-up page says: “Look for great gifts in your inbox on birthdays, anniversaries and for other special offers throughout the year!”
Looking for restaurant reviews?
Perhaps you’re thinking of finding a nice restaurant near you for your anniversary or “Where can I got out to eat for my annivesary?” Perhaps you’re looking for restaurant reviews as well as suggestions.
Well, I love reading restaurant reviews. And even though you might think of TripAdvisor as a place for travel-related reviews, TripAdvisor also has restaurant reviews. In fact, this link will take you to the best restaurants in the United States.
TripAdvisor starts the list with some of the biggest cities, like the best New York City restaurants, best Los Angeles restaurants and best Chicago restaurants. And then the TripAdvisor list of the best United States restaurants continues to some of the smallest towns where you might want to go out to eat. You can search by locality or popularity.
Choose your cuisine for your anniversary dinner
If you decide to checkout the best restaurants in the United States on TripAdvisor, here’s what happens when you click through to your chosen city. TripAdvisor will then break out the restaurants by cuisine.
So, for example, if you were looking for the best Chicago restaurants for your anniversary dinner, you could chose from the following cuisine options:
While you’re on the TripAdvisor site, you can also check out–and book–romantic hotels for a really special anniversary celebration.
Other ways to save on your anniversary food or drink
If none of these restaurants have locations near you, there’s still good news. I have some anniversary dinner ideas that can still save you money.
First, you can save BIG money on an anniversary dinner with a Restaurant.com gift card. Get a $25 gift card to a local restaurant for JUST $10.
Next, while restaurants like Olive Garden do not have anniversary freebies, they do have birthday freebies–free dessert.
So save yourself some cash by buying a gift cards at a discount through the parent company site, Darden Restaurants, and then enjoy your birthday freebie at the end of the meal.
FYI, Darden owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, and Yard House, among other restaurant brands. You can get e-gift cards to all of these restaurants at a savings through this link.
Finally, if none of these restaurant deals speak to you, you can always order in. A great way to save money on restaurant delivery is to use the GrubHub app.