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As a parent, it can seem like your kids are eating you out of house and home. Trying to feed them all can feel like a real chore! For many parents, the idea of a night dining out with kids is unheard of simply because of the price.
Take advantage of all the free offers out there for family and kids meals! We’ve done the work for you to find all these great offers and here are restaurant options for every day of the week that offer free meals for children.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: Participation varies by location. Before you head out for a free kids’ meal, be sure to call and check with your local restaurant to make sure they are offering the listed promotion.)
This popular national chain has been offering free meals for kids for years. Unfortunately, it’s hard to peg down exactly what day this is available because the chain lets each local restaurant pick which day it offers the discount. To find out your local restaurant’s options, be sure to call and ask.
What makes Applebee’s kids meals so great is that they get their main entrée (hamburger, cheeseburger, corn dog, grilled chicken, fried shrimp, or chicken macaroni and cheese) and instead of just chips or fries they can get a variety of sides including apple dippers with yogurt, vanilla yogurt with strawberries, applesauce, steamed broccoli, garlic mashed potatoes, or a salad.
Another popular chain that has free kid’s meals on a rotating basis is Bennigan’s. Because each restaurant is different, check out which day they offer free meals by calling them first.
Bennigan’s also has a “Better for Kids” menu that features grilled shrimp or grilled chicken tenders with rice pilaf and broccoli sauté or a grilled chicken salad with the choice of one of their sides (coleslaw, fries, garlic mashed potatoes, maple roasted Brussels sprouts, sweet potato fries, or seasonal vegetables).
As for fast food, Back Yard Burgers are known for their grilled 100% Black Angus Beef burgers. On Tuesdays, kids meals are free with the purchase of an adult meal.
Kids 12 and under can choose from either chicken tenders, a burger, or a beef hot dog with fries, a 12 ounce drink, and a Rice Krispies treat. And while you’re there, you can check out their awesome Oreo Milkshake (and maybe even let the kids have a sip).
4. Bob Evans
Bob Evans Restaurants serve family food in 500 locations across 18 states. They’re known for their breakfasts and feature the Lil Farmers Breakfast (one egg, hotcakes, home fries and either bacon or sausage) or the Little Piggy Hotcakes (hotcakes in the shape of a pig with chocolate sauce, banana slices, and sausage link).
For dinner, kids have the old standards to choose from along with spaghetti, Turkey Lurkey (turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy and baby carrots) or Chicken-N-Noodles with steamed broccoli. On Tuesday’s kids 12 and under eat free with the purchase of one adult meal.
This one isn’t actually a free kid’s meal, but we had to include it because it’s free ice cream and everyone (especially kids) scream for ice cream. If you have a child who is shorter than 40 inches, they can receive a free baby cone any day of the week.
Individual flavors may vary, but who wouldn’t want to experience exotic flavors like Boston Cream Pie, Caramel Explosion with Twix, Chocolate Cherry Chunk, Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckeye, or Cotton Candy Explosion?
One of the largest chains of seafood restaurants in the country offers free kids meals on Thursdays. In fact, up to two kids can eat free with the purchase of an adult meal. Kids’ meal options at Captain D’s include chicken tenders, fish tenders (fried or grilled), popcorn shrimp, and batter dipped fish.
These meals actually allow for a choice of two sides including green beans, fried okra, corn on the cob, baked potato, and hush puppies. Kids also get a drink and a 3D fun pack.
Chick-fil-A is one of the fastest growing fast food chains in the country with an incredibly loyal following because of the high quality food and options including curbside service and app ordering. Here, kids eat free on Tuesdays from 5:30-7:30 with the purchase of an adult combo meal.
Kids meals at Chick-fil-A include the choice of nuggets (4 or 6 count), along with a small side (cinnamon apple sauce, waffle fries, or a fruit cup) and a kid’s drink.
One little known fact about Chick-fil-A is that kids who don’t want the toy that comes with the meal can trade it in for a small cup of soft serve ice cream. (NOTE: Some franchises do not offer the free meal option and instead charge $0.99 instead.)
This restaurant is building a reputation on the basis of its delicious frozen custards. Rather than restrict this offer to just one day, kids 12 and under get a free frozen custard every day with the purchase of an adult meal.
Also, Culver’s offers a kids meal (burger, cheeseburger, corn dog, chicken tenders, or grilled cheese) that also comes with a free frozen custard as well as a “Scoopie Token” that can be exchanged for gear or free meals when you collect enough.
This American diner favorite has free meals for kids on Tuesdays from 4 to 10 PM. (Some restaurants have also added the same option on Friday.) Up to two kids can eat for each paid adult meal.
Denny’s offers the traditional kids meal options but also others such as spaghetti and breakfast selections such as chocolate chip pancakes, the Jr. Strawberry Poppin’ Pancake Breakfast, and a kids version of Denny’s popular Grand Slam.
10. Famous Dave’s
This national chain of barbeque restaurants features what they refer to as “Lil’ Wilbur” meals. Kids under 12 eat free on Tuesdays. (NOTE: Some restaurants use Monday as their kids special day and others offer the kids special for $0.99.)
Besides the usual fare, Famous Dave’s Lil’ Wilbur meals feature chopped pork sandwiches, St. Louis-style spareribs, and a quarter chicken that can be either roasted or barbequed. They also come with a side (including carrots and celery sticks, baked beans, sweet corn, firecracker green beans, potato salad, or a pair of grilled pineapple slices) and an Oreo cookie for dessert. For a small upgrade, you can add a sundae or root beer float to the meal.
Kids eat free all day on Wednesday at this sub sandwich chain that also donates a portion of its profits back to first responders and charities across the country. For each adult meal purchased, you can get one free kids meal that includes a sandwich (grilled cheese, meatball, turkey and provolone, or ham and provolone) along with a Rice Krispies treat, and a drink. Plus the meal comes with a cool plastic firefighter’s hat to wear out when you are done eating.
Fuddruckers boasts “the world’s greatest hamburgers” and “burger combinations limited only by your imagination.” So if you’re hankering for a burger and want to bring the kids along for a cheap meal, come on Mondays between 5 and 9 PM when kids eat free.
Their kid’s meals feature fries or apple slices, a cookie and a kid’s drink along with the entrée (burger, cheeseburger, hot dog, grilled cheese, chicken tenders, and grilled chicken sandwich). You can upgrade to a kid’s shake for $2.00.
13. Ghengis Grill
If you really want to try something different, head over to Ghengis Grill where you can get a free Khan’s Kidz meal on Tuesdays for children 12 and under.
This “build your own bowl” stir fry restaurant offers kid’s Teriyaki Fried Rice (chicken, carrots, green beans and fried rice topped with Island Teriyaki sauce) or Chicken Lo Mein (Udon noodles with carrots, green beans and bell peppers topped with Honey Soy sauce).
Or your child can create their own Future Warrior Bowl, a kid-sized version of the build your own bowl option that lets you pick your toppings.
If you’re really looking to stock up for yourself, then Godfather’s Pizza buffet can certainly fill you up. But you know there is no point in buying an expensive buffet plate for a kid who can’t eat that much.
That’s where Godfather’s really helps out. Kid’s ten and under can eat from the buffet during select times (Tuesdays only; 11AM to 2PM for Lunch and 5PM to 8PM for dinner) with the purchase of an adult buffet.
Hooters may not exactly be known as a family restaurant, but they’re trying to lure in more family diners by offering a kids eat free special from 11 AM to 1 PM on Sundays. The kid’s meals include burgers and chicken tenders, but also feature buffalo shrimp, a cheese quesadilla or chicken wings along with a drink and a side (including celery or tater tots).
Earlier this year, IHOP tried to rebrand themselves as the International House of Burgers (IHOB), but they’re still known for offering great breakfast options.
Their kids promotions vary by location and date, but often feature a free kids meal with the purchase of an adult meal, so keep your eye peeled to their Facebook page for specifics.
The IHOP menu features eleven kid’s meal options including the junior version of their Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘n Fruity pancakes, five silver dollar pancakes with eggs and bacon, and a junior order of the chicken and waffles.
Breakfast can also look like dessert with the Jr. Cupcake Pancake Combo, French Toast with Nutella, and the Funny Face pancake (a chocolate pancake with chocolate chips, sprinkled with powder sugar and a whipped topping smile).
We aren’t crazy as this is a great option for parents who are shopping and don’t want cranky children because they’re hungry. The Swedish superstore has its own food court and kids eat free on Tuesdays.
Your child can opt for the traditional Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and green beans or chicken tenders and fries or spaghetti with tomato sauce.
18. Jason’s Deli
This deli chain has been serving communities for 40 years with healthy options including vegetarian and gluten-sensitive dishes. On Wednesdays, kids eat free all day with the purchase of an adult meal.
Their kid’s meals offer healthy alternatives including a kid’s salad bar and all organic sides such as carrots or apple slices.
They also have pasta with either meatballs or Alfredo sauce as well as sandwich options including grilled cheese, ham or turkey and cheese and an all-organic PB&J on your choice of bread.
If you and your kids are tired of sandwiches and chicken fingers, then go Italian with Maggiano’s Little Italy. On Saturday, kids under 5 eat free.
Your little bambinos can choose from a variety of Italian classics like cheese flatbread pizza, ziti pasta (with Alfredo, marinara or meat sauce), spaghetti and meatballs, cheese ravioli, lasagna, and either breaded or grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and sugar snap peas.
“Welcome to Moe’s” has greeted thousands of patrons who dine at this burrito and quesadilla chain. On Tuesdays, kids eat free all day with the purchase of one adult meal per child.
While you’re enjoying your Joey Bag of Donuts (a traditional burrito with your choice of fillings), the kids can have a Moo Moo Mr. Cow (a kid-sized burrito with either chicken, beef, or tofu and seasoned rice, beans, and cheese) or a Power Wagon (a hard or soft shell taco with your choice of fillings) or a Mini Masterpiece (cheese quesadilla on an 8” tortilla). Plus, the kid’s meals include a kid’s drink, chips and salsa, and a cookie for dessert.
This popular restaurant chain doesn’t make you choose which day to come in. You can get a free kid’s meal (not including drink) on any day of the week. Kids just have to be 10 and under and you have to purchase an adult meal to qualify.
Here, kids can choose from a grilled chicken salad, BBQ ribs, cheese pizza, cheeseburger, chicken tenders, min-corn dogs, or kid’s steak tips. Sides include broccoli, orange slices, carrot sticks, fries, applesauce, or “smashed” potatoes.
On Sundays, kids can get a Sunday brunch option that includes a scrambled egg with potatoes and toast or a waffle.
22. On the Border
This Tex-Mex cantina may not offer free kid’s meals, but they do offer the next best thing—free dessert. Every day, kids can receive a free sundae with the purchase of a kid’s meal.
Kids can pick from mini versions of the restaurant’s enchilada, cheesy chicken taquitos, grilled chicken soft taco (or build their own) or Big Kid Nachos. And when they’re done, they can top it off with some ice cream on the house.
This bakery and restaurant chain has been around for 60 years offering quality food at good prices. They have a rewards membership as well as “KidsPerks” that includes a birthday club and kid’s apps. One child can eat free every Tuesday with the purchase of an adult meal.
Kids get to pick from grilled cheese, pancake dippers, Perky Bear Pancakes, a silver dollar short stack, brioche French toast, scrambled eggs with hash browns and bacon, rainbow pancakes, or a mini chef salad.
Most kid’s meals also come with a side such as grilled asparagus, grilled summer veggies (squash, zucchini, mushrooms, red peppers and sweet red onions), buttered corn, or sautéed spinach, just to name a few.
When you want a good steak, you probably know that the average steakhouse can be a little bit pricey to bring the kids along. But Ponderosa Steakhouse is not your average steakhouse.
On Tuesdays after 4 PM, you can get two free kid’s meals with each adult meal you purchase. They also accept the Kids Eat Free card that can be redeemed at other locations including Hurricane Grill and Wings or Subway.
25. Red Robin
“Red Robin…Yummm.” Chances are your kids can probably recite this catchy jingle and tag line from the Red Robin commercials. On Mondays, kids 10 and under eat free. Besides the traditional hamburgers and cheeseburgers, kids can also pick Swirly Twirly Pasta or meatballs on a stick.
If you go for the meatball option, even the stick is edible as they are made of bread and can be dipped in your choice of marinara, 5-cheese sauce, or teriyaki. Red Robin also features bottomless, all-you-can-eat sides including fries, Yukon chips, mandarin oranges, apples, corn, or broccoli.
Buffets can be a real pleaser with kids who can pick and choose exactly what they want. Plus, it’s a great way to introduce them to new foods they should really try (i.e., all those veggies). On Thursday, Ryan’s buffet restaurant offers up to two kids’ buffets for $0.99 a piece with the purchase of one adult buffet.
Although the buffet items vary from day-to-day, they typically include “comfort foods” like mac and cheese, baked or fried chicken, baked or fried fish, and baked ham.
This comes with an array of fresh vegetables, corn bread dressing and two home-style soups of the day. Plus, the dessert is included with options like cookies, cakes, and ice cream.
Salsarita’s has been making major inroads in the Mexican grill department and has offered some tasty burrito and taco dishes. Kids eat free on Thursdays (all day) with a paying adult.
Your children can choose from a quesadilla, taco, or nachos along with chips, a drink, and a dessert. But what makes this an awesome deal is that the kids can choose to fill their Mexican dish with cheese, chicken, ground beef, ground pork, steak, or shrimp.
28. Steak ‘n Shake
For years now, Steak ‘n Shake has had one of the best kid’s meal deals around—kids eat free on Saturday and Sunday. In fact, you get one free kid’s meal for every $9 that you spend at the restaurant.
The Steak ‘n Shake menu includes breakfast (chocolate chip pancakes or eggs and toast with either bacon and sausage) and dinner (hamburger, cheeseburger, chicken tenders, mac and cheese, or mini corn dogs).
When they’re done, have the kids save room for a kid’s size shake in the normal chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors, or go exotic with cereal flavored shakes (Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Cinnamon Crunch, or Cocoa Krispies) or candy blends (M&M’s, Kit Kat, or Butterfinger). The really adventurous can try the Nutella or Chocolate Covered Strawberry Milkshakes.
29. Texas Roadhouse
This is another one that you’ll definitely want to call ahead and check on—the day of the week for the promotion varies from franchise to franchise and not all of them participate.
But those that do, offer a wide variety of kid’s entrée options including an all beef hot dog, mini-cheesburgers, grilled chicken or steak strips, chicken tenders, a rib basket, or a kid’s size steak.
These are served with a kid’s drink and either apple sauce, green beans, fresh veggies, steak fries, or mashed potatoes.
30. T.G.I. Friday’s
“Everyone looks forward to Friday’s.” That includes your kids who’ll love the free kid’s meals on Mondays and Tuesdays (with purchase of an adult meal). Kids can choose from chicken tenders, sliders, chicken sandwich, mac & cheese, or pasta with marinara sauce.
Sides include fries (regular or sweet potato), veggies, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, or jasmine rice pilaf.
Kids love this Italian grill that features free kid’s meals on Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult meal. UNO has non-traditional kid’s meals including Safari Nuggets (animal shaped chicken nuggets that are baked and not fried) or chicken pops.
Kids can also make their own pizza with the wait staff bringing out the dough, tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni for your child to design their own creation.
(They even provide an apron to keep their clothes clean.) After the free kid’s meal, you may also want to treat them to a “make your own” sundae with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, Oreo and chocolate chip cookie crumbles, sprinkles, and a cherry on top for good measure.
This sandwich shop doesn’t feature free kid’s meals, but it’s pretty close. If you buy a 7” sandwich for yourself, your child can get a kid’s meal for only $0.99. This is valid for kids 12 and under on Mondays and Saturdays.
The kid’s menu includes kid-sized sandwiches or roll-ups, a pizzawich, grilled cheese sandwich, or a PB&J made with grape jelly. This comes with apple slices, carrots, a drink, and tokens that can be redeemed for free yellow chocolate candies.
33. White Castle
Budget minded college students aren’t the only ones who love White Castle burgers.
From 4 PM to 8 PM on Sundays, kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal over $4. Kids can choose either an original slider, cheese slider, or savory grilled chicken slider for their meal with applesauce or kid-size fries and either milk or a kid’s soft drink.
But Wait…There’s Even More
This doesn’t even cover all of the local varieties of restaurant offers that are out there and available for kids. So to keep up with all your options, check out the Kids Eat Free app available on iTunes Store or Google Play.
All you have to do is enter your zip code and the app lets you know what restaurants nearby are offering free meals that day. This free app is crowd-sourced, meaning you can add new deals to it you find along the way or flag any that have expired so other parents can stay in the know.
If you have kids, chances are you know you have to stay on a budget. And usually that means no eating out unless it’s a real special occasion.
But with these free kid’s meal options, you can find something available every night of the week and save money for dessert (or the kid’s college fund)! (Just be sure that you call ahead and check on availability as these deals may not be available at every restaurant.)
Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!