View Full Version : Restaurants give free meals to veterans and active military on Veterans Day

11-10-2012, 09:55 PM
Information Compliments of Tyrel Linkhorn (http://www.standard.net/authors/tyrel-linkhorn), Toledo Blade (http://www.standard.net/category/author-organization/toledo-blade) staff (http://www.standard.net/category/author-type/staff) Fri, 11/09/2012 - 1:15pm

Restaurant chains and other businesses are offering free meals and discounts to veterans and active duty military members over the Veterans Day weekend as a thank you for their service.

Tedd Hill, a regional manager who oversees several Max & Erma’s locations in the Toledo, Ohio, area, said the promotion is a nod to the Columbus, Ohio-based company’s founder, Max Visocnik, who served during World War II.

"Max was in the army. He was a tanker," Hill said. "Every one of our restaurants has a few pictures of him in his dress uniform or with his tank. It’s part of our history and we employ a lot of veterans and we have a great connection there. We wanted to be sure we reached out and said thank-you."

All day Sunday, veterans and active-duty personnel who show proof of service can get a free cup of tortilla soup or a Caesar salad along with a cheeseburger and fries.

Several other major restaurant chains have similar offers. Applebee’s, Chili’s, and Hooters will give free meals on Sunday. Olive Garden, Golden Corral, TGI Friday’s, and Texas Roadhouse will offer free meals on Monday. The list is far from inclusive.

Jarrod Clabaugh, a spokesman for the Ohio Restaurant Association in Columbus, said Veterans Day promotions have increased significantly in the last five years.

"We have definitely seen this trend increase across the state of Ohio and other parts of the country as well," he said. "It used to be restaurant operators who came from the military or had family members in the military would practice promotions or offer free meals like this, but now we’re seeing it spread to larger chains and in more communities across the state."

Clabaugh said the exposure grew as nationwide chains began participating. Many of the smaller, family restaurants have done it more quietly.

B.J. Fischer, director of strategic services for the FLS Group, a division of Thread Marketing Group of Toledo, said offering free meals or special discounts to veterans is a good example of what’s called "cause-related marketing." Essentially, the good will generated by promotions extends well beyond the individual customers who benefit.

Fischer said supporting veterans is a cause most everyone can support.

"Even people who were against the wars we were in are not making the mistakes of the past of taking it out on the people who served. We’re supporting them. In a lot of ways it’s a no-risk cause."

One early adopter of free meals on Veterans Day was Golden Corral, which has given veterans and military members a dinner on Veterans Day Monday since 2000.

This year, all the buffet chain’s locations will offer a free meal Monday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The company said it gave out 375,000 free meals last year and has given 3.2 million of them over the last 11 years.

Restaurants aren’t alone.

Home Depot and Lowe’s will provide 10 percent off all purchases to military veterans and active duty members who show proof of service. Cabela’s Outdoor Stores will give veterans and active duty military, as well as law enforcement, fire, and EMS personnel, their employee discount on Sunday and Monday.

11-10-2012, 10:37 PM
I have went a few times with other veterans over the years to Golden Corral and they didn't even care that If I had anything to show proof, just in case some of you don't have your DD214 handy or other ID. Most accept the honor system. I think it's a great program and if I owned a restaurant I would participate on the other end of things too.

11-10-2012, 11:08 PM
That's awesome! Thankful for our Veterans!

Cheri Smith
11-11-2012, 04:09 PM

Thank you for your service!

Cheri Smith
11-11-2012, 04:11 PM
Go eat!!! :hungry:

Charlotte Rosita
11-11-2012, 04:20 PM

A shout out "THANK YOU!" to members here who have Served our country!