When you were a kid, your birthday was your time to shine. You got cake. You got presents. Everyone treated you the way you always felt you should be treated: as royalty.
Then adulthood reared its ugly head and made you realize your birthday is really nothing more than another day of the week for everyone else around you. (You also realized you’re not, in fact, a king, queen, prince, or princess. Sad, I know).
But! Just because your colleagues, friends, and family are too busy to stop what they’re doing to worship the ground you walk on doesn’t mean you can’t find some way to feel like a kid again.
That’s where restaurants come in.
Almost every major restaurant around knows you need a little pick-me-up to celebrate your most recent lap around the Sun. Check out the following deals the next time your birthday rolls around. Here are some places to eat free on your birthday!
Just remember: the days of being able to stomach multiple desserts in a single evening are long gone. Stick to choosing one or two of these birthday rewards each year.
Places to Eat Free: TGI Friday’s
Friday’s offers its customers their choice of a free appetizer or dessert on their birthday – as long as they’ve signed up for the Stripes Reward program, which can quickly be done through your Facebook account.
As a Stripes Rewards member, you’ll also be able to preview new items before they hit the menu, and will be given a small complimentary treat during each visit. You’ll also be allowed to “Jump the Line” from time to time using a coupon that is sent to you through email. To top it off you’ll also receive invites to exclusive events. Now those are some sweet rewards!
Places to Eat Free: Chili’s Bar and Grill
Anyone who has signed up for the Chili’s Rewards program can earn a free dessert on their birthday.
In addition to this birthday treat, each time you visit Chili’s you’ll rack up rewards points, which can be redeemed for free menu items. Depending on the amount of points you collect, you can choose from free appetizers, desserts, or even lunch combos and entrees. Just think of the times you spend money there as an investment.
Places to Eat Free: Panera Bread
On their birthday, MyPanera members will be given a choice of free pastry, dessert, or cafe item.
A MyPanera membership is incredibly beneficial year-round, as well. Those who sign up will earn coupons for complimentary items, and, like Friday’s Stripes members, will be given sneak peeks at new menu items before all other customers. Additionally, Panera Bread sends its members cooking and baking tips, recipe books, and party planning ideas through email. They’ll also be notified of any special events and promotions being put on by the restaurant throughout the year.
Places to Eat Free: The Cheesecake Factory
Celebrating your birthday at The Cheesecake Factory is a double-edged sword of sorts.
Although you will get a free cup of ice cream without needing to sign up for any rewards program or mailing list, the staff of waiters and waitresses will sing to you while you’re being served.
While this might have been fun back when you were eight, it’s usually fairly embarrassing once you reach a certain age. So before you see if you can get anything for free on your birthday, make sure you know what you’re in for.
Or maybe just have a couple drinks beforehand so you won’t mind feeling silly for a little while.
Places to Eat Free: Cracker Barrel
Similarly to The Cheesecake Factory, Cracker Barrel offers a free dessert for anyone celebrating their birthday at the homestyle-themed restaurant.
Be warned, though: The staff will also sing to you here, as well. But it might just be worth it for a warm slice of apple pie a la mode.
And after dinner, be sure to drag your family into the country store and force them to buy you all sorts of gadgets and gizmos. You might not be a kid anymore, but if you’re going to choose any day of the year to play with toys again, it should probably be your birthday.
Places to Eat Free: Friendly’s
Members of Friendly’s BFF Club are entitled to a Happy Endings medium sundae on their birthday. Being known for its ice cream, Friendly’s isn’t about to give you a rinky-dink scoop of vanilla, either. The sundae includes Oreo cookies, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and, of course, a cherry on top.
When you sign up for the BFF Club, you’ll get 25% off your first visit, as well as discounts and promotions throughout the year.
You’ll also be able to answer surveys and questionnaires, and make any suggestions regarding changes to service or the menu that you think would make your visit to Friendly’s that much more enjoyable.
Places to Eat Free: IHOP
If you’ve joined IHOP’s “Pancake Revolution,” you’ll be entitled to a free Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity Pancake meal when you visit the International House of Pancakes on your birthday.
You’ll also be entitled to the meal upon your first visit after signing up, as well as on every anniversary of the day you signed up thereafter.
The only hangup is you, as a full-grown adult, have to actually use the phrase “Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity.”
Places to Eat Free: Qdoba
Sign up for Qdoba’s Rewards membership and you’ll be given a free Birthday Burrito on your special day.
Upon registering for a Rewards card, you’ll be given your choice of a free soft drink or chips and salsa when you next visit. Frequent Qdoba diners will rack up rewards points, which ultimately earn a free entree upon reaching 1,000 points.
Places to Eat Free: Starbucks
If you’re a member of Starbucks’ Rewards program, you’ll have your choice of a free drink or food item on your birthday. This includes a selection of various sandwiches, snacks, and desserts.
Downloading the Starbucks app allows you to load money onto a virtual Starbucks card, allowing you to pay for your coffee directly from your phone. Gold Rewards members are entitled to free refills, as long as they haven’t left the store. You’ll also be able to order ahead in case you’re in a rush. And, of course, you’ll be sent notifications about future events and promotions being offered in the future.
As an adult, your birthday may seem like just another day on the calendar, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Take a little time to yourself and reap the benefits of having lived a long, hard-working life with some freebies around town. You’re never to old to eat free on your birthday!