Happy birthday freebies to you!

birthdaycookie copy

Free cowboy cookie from Black Angus. (Sorry, we had blown out the candle by the time we rememberd to take a photo.) This was in addition to a free birthday dinner, available by signing up on the restaurant website. (Sorry, the dinner was already eaten, too.) Photo by Laura Groch

Who doesn’t like free stuff on your birthday? This family sure does. Let’s see — on or around my birthday recently, I got a free steak dinner from Black Angus, a free seafood meal from Rubio’s, a free chicken dinner from El Pollo Loco — are you starting to see a pattern here?


If you sign up for the birthday gig — sometimes it’s called “the birthday club” — at your favorite restaurants, you, too can get a bunch of offers for free and/or discount meals at birthday time.

The catch? Of course  — the companies want your email address and your ever-lovin’ data, so they can send you ads and offers.

But if you can use an alternate email account, or can sort your emails into folders to keep their ads out of your regular in-box, this can be a fun (and economical) way to add to a birthday celebration. That is, if the constant flow of coupons doesn’t tempt you into constant visits to these restaurants (which, after all, are among your favorites!)

I realize this isn’t anything new — lots of people have already downloaded coupon apps from their favorite spots, or have signed up to get discounts and coupons. I’ve done it for several years now myself. I bring it up just to show you what this rare corporate generosity entails.

Here are some of the freebies received for a recent birthday, and the time frame set for the coupons. You don’t have to use the coupon on your actual birthday, which is nice.

Rubio’s: Free entree, coupon arrived early, good for two weeks

Marie Callender’s: Free Magnificent Six breakfast or free pie with entree, coupon arrived early, good for three weeks

Coco’s: Free slice of pie, coupon arrived early, good for four weeks

Black Angus: Free dinner (up to $20.99) with purchase of entree of equal or greater value, coupon arrived early, good for four weeks (plus, we got a free “cowboy cookie” dessert)

El Pollo Loco: Free Original Chicken Tostada or Two-piece Fire-Grilled Chicken dinner, coupon arrived early, good for 30 days

I realize that birth dates are a favorite target for identity thieves, so signing up for an online freebie may not appeal. I think the corporate folks are realizing that customers don’t want to divulge their complete dates, either, so some no longer ask for the year of birth, just the month and day.

Anyway, check it out. If it’s worth it to you to give up a little (more) privacy in exchange for a free meal or pie or cake, some nice offers are out there. Happy birthday!

(c) Copyright 2016 Laura Groch


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