April 10, 2008

Saving at restaurants #2- birthday & email club discounts

This week I've been talking about how I spend a lot of money on dining out and I'm discussing ways that I might cut my restaurant expenses. This is the 2nd part in a series on saving money at restaurants.

In my previous post on restaurant discount programs I mentioned that the McCormick and Scmicks restaurant club gave a free meal for your birthday. There are a lot of restaurant chains out there that offer free meals or bonuses for your birthday. Many of them have email clubs that you can sign up for. They send you a news letter via email and then on your birthday you get a free meal or free dessert or similar. Other restaurants have email clubs that send you bonus coupons or discount offers in general not specific to your birthday.

I compiled a list of birthday deals and email newsletters from various large restaurant chains. I haven't used hardly any of these myself but I'm pretty sure they are all pretty straight forward and legit. You might also check into your favorite restaurants if they are local and/or not listed here to see if they have any offers like this. I'm sure many other restaurants have special offers for your birthday just for asking and with no need to sign up for email.

Birthday deals

Black Angus gives you a free steak dinner for your birthday and a free desert just for joining their club.
Red Robin has an e-club which gets you a free burger for your birthday and when you sign up they send you a $3 coupon.
Old Country Buffet offers a 'birthday coupon', an 'anniversary coupon' for your wedding anniversary plus you get a free buffet meal just for joining and they send you other discount offers.
Qdoba Mexican grill offers a 'special gift' for your birthday and free chips & salsa just for signing up.
Red Lobster has a club that offers a 'birthday gift' as well as other offers.
Bonanza/Ponderosa Steakhouse has a 'special offer' for your birthday and other offers.
For kids only, Old Spaghetti Factory's kids club offers a free kids meal to children during the week of their birthday. They also send out special offers.
Chuck E Cheese has a club that gives kids 20 free tokens on their birthday plus they send special offers and coupons.

Of course you can't really go out to eat at 6 different restaurants all on your birthday. But you could pick your favorite option among this list as your birthday meal. Also most of these offers don't have to be used exactly on your birthday and are good for a number of days around your your birthday. So you might have a meal at one restaurant on your birthday and save another offer with a longer usage period for a week later or something.

In addition to birthday deals there are a lot of restaurants that have email clubs/newsletters that say they will send you special offers.

Special offer / Coupon deals
Bennigans has an e-club that gives you coupon deals.
Buffalo Wild Wings has an email club with deals / coupons.
Chili's restaurant has an email club advertises exclusive offers
Denny's has a breakfast club with offers and exclusive promotions
Claim Jumper has a club and they say they'll send out gift card promotions plus exclusive offers
Dairy Queen's Blizzard fanclub gets you 2-for-1 blizzard for joining and other offers.
Dave and Busters rewards club offers $10 of free play, discount offers and 10% off gameplay.
Romanos Macaroni Grill has a 'Mac pack' club that gives you a free appetizer for joining.
Olive Garden has an email newsletter with offers
Steak and Ale has a 'preferred guest list' email newsletter that sends you "monthly specials, news and more".
TGIFridays has an e-club with special offers and a free appetizer for signing up.
AppleBees and PF Changs both have an email newsletter but they don't say much about special offers, though I'd assume they'd send you something.

Many of these clubs ask for you birthday so I'm guessing they might also send you a birthday coupon but I can not say for sure.

If you are going to sign up for email newsletters then I'd recommend using an alternative email address. If you send all these newsletters to your normal address you may find yourself swamped with newsletters. But if you create an email specifically for offers such as this then you can direct the email there and it won't clutter your normal email.

(Note, most of the links above are going to a site fishbowl.com. Fishbowl is a company that provides the online service to these restaurants. )

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