From free meals to discounts on propane deliveries, countless local and national businesses are offering discounts to military personnel and veterans on Veterans Day.

A word to the wise: Always call ahead to confirm what they're offering, and whether there are limitations, such as hours. In many cases, for example, a free meal doesn't come with a beverage, so be prepared to pay for your beverage and other extras. While some restaurants have discounts for those who are dining with a veteran or active-duty member, many don't. When you go into the business, let them know you would like the discount or deal.

No business is required to offer discounts, or offer it in a certain way. It's a gesture of appreciation. It's up to you to decide whether any extra out-of-pocket costs are worth it.

Here are a smattering of offerings:

  • 7-Eleven car washes are offering current and former military personnel free "The Works" car washes that include undercarriage blast, pre-soak, wheel wash, foam conditioner, surface protectant, rinse and power dry. Some 300 7-Eleven stores with  car washes in 16 states will offer the service, rain or shine, from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 on Veterans Day. To locate a car wash, visit the 7-Eleven smartphone app and click on the map, check the car wash filter and search for the nearest store. Or visit, go to the locator tab, click on "Looking for Something Special" and check "car wash", along with your location.
  • California Tortilla is offering one free taco per person, to active duty and retired military members, all day. The chain has restaurants in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and  West Virginia. Show the cashier your military ID.
  • Denny’s is offering a free "Build Your Own Grand Slam" to veterans and active military personnel, from 5 a.m. to noon on Nov. 11. To find a participating Denny’s nearby, visit Call ahead to find out what documentation you need to bring.
  • ESquared Hospitality is offering discounts to veterans and military personnel on Nov. 11 at most of their locations in the U.S. Some of their restaurants include BLT Steak in New York, Arizona, Atlanta, Charlotte, Hawaii, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas, but there are other restaurants as well. In most cases, discounts are 50 percent for parties of one or two, and 25 percent off for parties of three or more, except for the BLT Steak Las Vegas, which offers 25 percent off for all veterans. Check for locations near you and contact them to find out whether they’re participating, and what proof of service is required.
  • On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is offering a free "create your own combo" meal (worth up to $10.79) to veterans and active-duty members on Nov. 11. Beverages, desserts and gratuity are not included. Numerous restaurants in 28 states are participating. For a list, visit Check with your local restaurant for more information. Guests need to provide proof of service, such as active or retired military ID card, a current leave and earnings statement, a copy of the form DD 214, a veterans organization membership card, or a citation or commendation.
  • Golden Corral is offering a free dinner buffet meal with beverage from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 11 to anyone who is serving or has served in the military, including the Guard and reserves. In addition, the restaurants will help raise funds for the Disabled American Veterans; state and local DAV representatives will be at all restaurants coordinating the collection of donations from customers.
  • Great Clips salons will offer a free haircut — or a card for a future free haircut to be redeemed through Dec. 31 — to active-duty members and veterans who come in to a salon Nov. 11. (Those who purchase a service Nov. 11 will get a card for a future free haircut. After Nov. 11, customers must have a free haircut card in order to get the free haircut.) Great Clips also encourages other customers who get haircuts Nov. 11 to pick up a free haircut card to pass on to a veteran.
  • Olive Garden is offering a free entrée Nov. 11, from a special menu of five of Olive Garden’s most popular items, served with unlimited soup or salad, and breadsticks. Those dining with the active-duty member or veteran receive 10 percent off their meal. Olive Garden will ask for proof of service.
  • Sanderling Resort, Duck, North Carolina, is offering discounts of more than 40 percent on getaways for current active and retired military personnel, with valid ID from Nov. 11 to March 11, 2016. Rates begin at $119 per night, with an additional 20 percent discount on treatments in the Sanderling spa, dining in the resort’s restaurants and shopping in its retail outlets. The "Heroes Welcome" discount can be booked beginning on Veterans Day at, or by calling 877-697-4613.
  • Suburban Propane, with locations in 41 states, is offering $10 off your next delivery of 100 gallons or more if you or someone in your household is a veteran or active duty. Current customers who are veterans or active duty can also earn 35 gallons of fuel for referring a new customer who is a veteran or active duty. For new customers who are veterans or active duty, there are additional discounts. These offers are good for one delivery (or the first delivery) taken by March 31. You must present a coupon downloaded at, and military ID or for veterans, the form DD 214.
  • TGI Fridays is offering active duty and veterans a free lunch at participating locations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 11, with a valid military ID. Check with your local TGI Fridays to make sure it is participating, and what document you need if you’re a veteran without a military ID. The chain has designated a variety of menu items — specific burgers, sandwiches, salads, and lunch combinations — that will be included in the free lunch offer. Beverages and add-ons are not included.
  • Western Union is offering fee-free U.S. domestic money transfers for all customers, including transfers to and from U.S. military bases around the world where Western Union has a retail agent location, on Nov. 11. The offer is available only at retail locations, not online. Customers using the promo code "HERO" will have the normal transaction fee waived. There is no limit, and no dollar-amount limit, to the number of fee-free transactions that can be made on  Nov. 11.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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