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On Wednesday, November 11 federal offices and many private businesses will close to honor Veterans Day. While the retail world will go about business as usual, several restaurant chains will offer special promotions targeting active-duty military, their families, and veterans across the armed services.
More so than many other industries, foodservice has a special relationship with veterans. According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), an estimated 66,000 restaurants are at least half owned by former members of the military. Restaurants also employ more than 250,000 veterans.
Here’s a snapshot of the various specials taking place Wednesday:
- Participating Arby’s locations will serve free roast beef sandwiches to veterans and active-duty military personnel.
- Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s teamed up with Call of Duty to create the Ultimate Care Package combo meal and sweepstakes. On November 11, all Ultimate Care Package proceeds will go to the Call of Duty Endowment, a nonprofit that helps place veterans in jobs.
- All 43 locations of Chicken Salad Chick will offer service men and women a free Original Chicken with their choice of sandwich or chicken salad scoop with a side, pickle spear, and cookie.
- Italian chain Fazoli’s is inviting current and former military members to create their own individualized pasta bowl.
- Krystal will give veterans and active military an option of a free chicken biscuit or sausage biscuit between 6 and 11 a.m. All customers can purchase Pups and Corn Pups at a $0.50 discount with proceeds benefiting Armed Services YMCA.
- For the third consecutive year, fro-yo chain Menchie's will offer a free 6-ounce, fill-your-own cup for members of the military with a valid ID.
- Pie Five is offering a free pizza to service men and women with a military ID or proof of service.
- Caribbean cuisine chain Pollo Tropical will give guests with a military ID 15 percent off their purchase.
- Starbucks will serve active-duty service members, reservists, veterans, and military spouses a free tall-brewed coffee. The brand will also give $5 to the USO Transition 360 Alliance for every purchase of its Starbucks Veterans gift card through November 11.
- Shoney’s will offer military guests—past and present—a free All-American Burger.
- Tiajuana Flats will serve free entrées to active and former service men and women.
- Wayback Burgers will be giving active and former military members free Classic Cheeseburgers nationwide, as well as Crispy Chicken Sriracha Sandwiches at its navy base locations in Port Hueneme, California, and Goose Creek, South Carolina.
- White Castle will offer veterans and active-duty military a free Breakfast Slider, Waffle Slider, or Toast Sandwich and a small beverage.
- Wienerschnitzel will give away its popular Chili Dog along with a small Pepsi to members of the military with a valid ID, proof of service, or wearing their uniform.
In addition to its Veterans Day specials, Starbucks has passed the halfway mark in its goal to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018. Monday, the company announced that it has hired 5,500. Starbucks is also extending its College Achievement plan so that the spouses and children of former military service men and women can also take advantage of tuition-free education.
For more on military veterans, check out our Values Added column this month, which looks at the new generation of health-focused and tech-savvy veterans as potential franchisees.
Correction: This story previously stated that there are 66,000 restaurants in the U.S. and that half are owned by veterans. We regret the error.
By Nicole Duncan