Consumer IQ

Where to Get a Free Meal on Your Birthday

The fun of celebrating your birthday doesn’t have to end when you hit the double-digit birthdays and neither do the perks.

Pretty much every restaurant will pass a free slice of cake or scoop of ice cream — and some singing waiters — your way on your big day, no matter your age. Bars may offer a free beer, house cocktail or a shot.

But the bigger payoffs require a little advance work. Lisa Reynolds, mom saver-in-chief for Redplum.com, says restaurants will often send a coupon for a free meal, burger, ice cream or other perk to members of their free loyalty club or email list. Many are also good for more than just your birthday itself, which could let you rack up freebies for weeks. For example, Medieval Times offers a free feast and tournament during the week of your birthday, worth up to $52.

(Don’t worry, kids: there are plenty of birthday freebies for the under-13 set, too, including free ice cream and kids’ meals.)

Here’s a selection of some of the freebies you might be entitled to:

Applebee’s: Sign up for the email list and get a free dessert on your birthday.

Baskin Robbins: Sign up for the birthday club to get a coupon for free 2.5-ounce scoop around your birthday.

Benihana: Members of the Chef’s Club get a $30 certificate to redeem during their birthday month. It can’t be used on alcoholic beverages, though, or during weekends.

Black Angus Steakhouse: Join the Prime Club and get a free steak dinner on your birthday. It’s not a recurring perk — just for your first birthday with the club. You’ll also need to purchase at least one other entrée to get the freebie.

Burger King: Kids age 13 and younger who sign up for Club BK will get a coupon for a free kids hamburger meal on their birthday.

California Pizza Kitchen: Kids age 10 and younger who sign up for the CPK Birthday Club get a free kids meal during their birthday month.

Cattlemens: Join the California restaurant chain’s e-club for a free dessert on your birthday. You’ll also get a free cowboy hat.

Cold Stone Creamery: Sign up for the birthday club and get a “buy one creation, get one free” coupon for your birthday.

Dairy Queen: Members of the Blizzard Fan Club get an offer every year on their birthday — usually, a free blizzard.

Denny’s Restaurants: Tell the server it’s your birthday to get a free Grand Slam breakfast. (Adults, be prepared to show some ID.)

Fuddruckers: Fudds Club members get a free burger on their birthday.

IHOP: Sign up for the pancake revolution and you’ll get three coupons for free stacks on pancakes. You’ll receive one coupon immediately, one on your birthday, and one on the anniversary of your sign-up.

Red Robin: Sign up for the chain’s club and get a free burger on your birthday.

Ruby Tuesday: Sign up for the email list and get a coupon for a free burger on your birthday.

Sonic: Kids age 12 and younger who sign up for the Sonic Birthday Club get a free kids meal on their birthday.

T.G.I. Friday’s: Members of the Give Me More Stripes program get passes for a free dessert, good any time during their birthday month. You’ll also get a pass to skip the wait and get a table.

Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie http://www.twitter.com/mintfoodie.