As coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country, restaurants are doing more and more to help support healthcare workers, first-responders, and those who are on the front-lines of the pandemic. Whether it’s through free food, coffee, or donations to relief funds, there’s plenty of positive news to highlight when it comes to the food industry. If you are a medical worker, first responder, teacher, or law enforcement, check out the opportunities below to get free food and/or discounts at your favorite places.
Updated July 10, 2020
Free Food & Discounts for Medical Workers & First Responders
Forget about Happy Meals – McDonald’s is showing off its generous side with new “Thank You” Meals for healthcare workers and first responders. Thank You Meals are entirely free and can be picked up at any local participating McDonald’s. Options include an Egg McMuffin, Chicken McGriddles or a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit for workers that visit during breakfast hours. Each meal also comes with a drink and a hash brown. For those who swing by for lunch or dinner, options switch to the Double Cheeseburger, 6 Piece McNuggets or Filet-O-Fish. These meals come with a drink and a side of fries. To redeem your free Thank You Meal, healthcare workers and first responders need to show some form of work ID.
Starbucks was one of the first franchises to respond to the pandemic by offering to give away a free menu item to healthcare workers. Starbucks is giving away free tall hot or iced coffee to all frontline workers and first responders through May 3. To get your free coffee, just visit the drive-thru at your local Starbucks and let them know you are a first responder.
To thank first responders and healthcare workers, Outback Steakhouse is offering 10% off all meals, as well as free delivery. Military personnel are eligible for this deal, as well. Simply show your work ID to receive the discount.
If you are a healthcare worker, stop by Dunkin’ to get a free medium coffee, hot or iced, and a free doughnut. This deal is exclusive to those who work in a hospital setting, but Dunkin’ is also offering free doughnuts for the rest of us on Fridays in May, as long as you purchase a drink and are a part of the DD Rewards program.
Checkers & Rally’s
Both Checkers and Rally’s will be offering healthcare workers and first responders free meals when they visit a participating location wearing their uniform. The freebie includes a small combo meal with an entree, small fries, and a drink. Workers can choose from the Big Buford, Baconzilla!, Cheese Champ, Chicken Bites, Chili Dog, Classic Wings, Deep Sea Double, Spicy Chicken Sandwich, or BBQ Bacon Roadhouse.
White Castle recently announced how they plan to help support those working to fight the pandemic. The burger chain is giving away free combo meals for frontline workers from now until April 30. All you have to do to get your free meal is visit the drive-thru at your nearest White Castle location and choose a Combo Meal (1-6) or the Breakfast Combo and show your work ID at checkout.
White Castle will also be delivering Crave Cases of Sliders to hospitals for medical staff. Each case includes 30 sliders.
Per a press release, Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle said, “In the midst of this pandemic, healthcare workers have put it all on the line to serve and take care of us. Now it’s our turn to serve them.” He continued, “Providing free Sliders and meals to healthcare workers is a way for us to show our appreciation for everything they’re doing right now.”
Everyone working on the frontlines of the pandemic deserves our appreciation – and pancakes. Lots of pancakes. For those who are medical staff, law enforcement, military, and firefighters, IHOP is currently offering 20% off orders. Just show a valid work ID when you go to pickup your meal to get your discount.
Krispy Kreme wants healthcare workers and first responders to feel appreciated and cared for during this time, and what better way to say “thank you” than free donuts? Every Monday until May 12, Krispy Kreme will be giving away free donuts to those who are serving us – and if that’s you, simply visit your local shop and ask for two, three, or a dozen donuts. Whatever you need.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Tropical Smoothie is prepared to come to you if you’re medical staff or first responder. At participating locations, you can request free smoothies for your team to be delivered to your location. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is dedicated to making these deliveries as contact-free as possible, so they will typically call a front-desk worker to come get the smoothies and bring them inside. So far, they’ve given away nearly 60,000 smoothies.
Steak ‘N Shake
After wrapping up their 20% off discount for essential workers, Steak ‘N Shake is now giving away free fries to anyone who visits the drive-thru. While you don’t have to be a first responder or healthcare worker to receive the freebie, it’s certainly worth nothing if you’re already planning to visit the burger chain.
&pizza is passionate about supporting hospital workers in anyway they can. They are giving away free pizzas for hospital workers. Just show a valid work ID when you go to pickup your pie. If you can’t leave your place of work, text #HERO to 200-03 to get a code for your pizza to be delivered to you.
The franchise is also inviting customers to help support hospital workers, encouraging us to “help ’em heal us.” By visiting their website, you can select the number of pizzas you want to donate and pay for it right then and there.
Taco Bell was another franchise that responded quickly to the crisis. The fast food chain turned their “Taco Trucks” into mobile kitchens and have used them to serve and deliver healthcare workers meals. Taco Bell has also donated $1 million to No Kids Hungry during the pandemic.
Hooters is giving 20% off all orders for hospital workers, first responders and military personnel. To get your discount, simply show your work ID when you go to pickup your meal. If you do an online order, you’ll need to select the options that allows you to pay in store and show your ID when you arrive to ensure your discount is applied.
Participating Firehouse Subs locations have been delivering free subs to healthcare workers throughout the pandemic. If you’d like to get a donation for your team, check with your local restaurant.
In an Instagram post Sweetgreen said,”Two weeks ago, we launched our Impact Outpost program to deliver free sweetgreen to hospital workers + medical personnel.
In response to your overwhelming support, we created the Sweetgreen Impact Outpost Fund – a new initiative in partnership with humanitarian and @chefjoseandres’ @WCKitchen – his not-for-profit devoted to using the power of food to heal and strengthen communities in times of crisis.”
Texas de Brazil
Even prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Texas de Brazil was offering a 20% discount to first responders, service members, and their everyday heroes. According to the restaurant’s website, military members/veterans, law enforcement, firefighters, nurses, EMS, and teachers can all receive 20% off their meal when they show a valid ID at checkout.
El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco is another restaurant that offered a first responder discount prior to the pandemic. The franchise offers a 15% off first responder discount to police officers, firefighters, EMTs, federal law enforcement agents, and military personnel.
After donating burrito boxes to hospitals, Chipotle is continuing to do their part to support healthcare workers with the launch of their new e-gift card program. When you purchase an e-gift card, the restaurant will do a 10% match that will be donated to healthcare organizations.
Carb up to get you through your next shift with Fazoli’s latest deal for healthcare workers. The restaurant is offering a $2.99 combo with spaghetti (meat sauce or marinara) and a drink. This is a drive-through deal – just be sure to have your work ID or some proof of employment with you.
If you’re looking to give back to a first responder, Macaroni Grill wants to partner up with you to send meals to those on the frontlines. If you’re ordering from your local restaurant, just ask to purchase the First Responder Meal, an order of Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs + Spaghetti.
Pieology is teaming up with customers to offer Care Packs to medical professionals, first responders, family members, and friends. There are 1-2 person packs that come with two 11” Three Topping PieRise® Thick Crust Pizzas, and the 4-6 person Care Packs include four 11″ Five Topping Artisan Thin Pizzas, one Ooey Gooey Cheese Bread, and one Family-size Shareable Dessert.
Hard Rock Cafe
Throughout the rest of the month, Hard Rock Cafe is giving away free Steakburgers like the Original Legendary Burger, BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, and the Big Cheeseburger. to healthcare workers. To receive your free burger, just show your local restaurant a valid work ID. The reason Hard Rock is just now offering this deal is because most of their dining rooms have been closed up until recently.
For more deals to get your through this difficult time, check out these delivery services.