Kids Eat Free Nights: The Beginning of Family-Friendly Dining

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Kids Eat Free Nights has become a staple of American life. My husband and I frequently used this fantastic opportunity when raising our sons.

In the middle of the work week, we’d get exhausted. Usually, by Wednesday, I needed a break from cooking and cleaning up afterward (which my husband and I shared equally), so a good Kids Eat Free Wednesday or Kids Eat Free Thursday night was always welcome!

Sound familiar? 😁

I don’t remember this when I was growing up. I remember my parents driving us a reasonable distance weekly for a family outing to McDonald’s. Otherwise, we ate at home every night.

This got me wondering about the Kids Eat Free movement. When did it start?

Keep reading to learn more about this evolution and some restaurants that make Kids Eat Free night a staple.

History of Kids Eat Free Nights

As we can all imagine, the recession that started in 2008 caused many families to hold on tighter to their cash. The recession affected employment, family income, and activities.

This, in turn, affected businesses, and many couldn’t keep their doors open.

Those who tried and succeeded attempted different strategies to keep customers coming in the doors.

For example,
Starbucks invested in its store managers and hosted a conference to demonstrate their value to the business and give them a voice and sense of brand ownership. In addition, they closed all U.S. stores for half a day so baristas could relearn how to make espresso.” ☕️

T-Mobile focused on how people felt when they launched their 2009 “Life’s for Sharing” campaign at the height of the recession. It featured a flash mob in Liverpool Street Station in 2009. It was designed to celebrate sharing and encourage a moment of fun and laughter to be enjoyed together. This ad alone generated $15 million in sales. 📱

Many restaurants around the country also used this time to engage their customers and keep them coming back, at least as much as possible.

One way they did this was to offer a Kids Eat Free night. Banking on tired and stressed-out families that needed a break, restaurants provided a way to make it easier, even for one night a week, and bring some fun to what was a tough time for many of us.

Kids Eat Free Restaurants

Now you’re wondering, “where can I find kids <eat free near me>?”
To help you out, here is a list of some restaurants offering a Kids Eat Free option and the night of the week they do so.

*NOTE—check your location for the restaurants near you that have kids-eat-free days and menus.

Kids Eat Free Monday—
Fuddruckers: While not free, all kid's meals are $1.99 from 4 pm to close with a purchase of an adult entrée.
Sweet Tomatoes: Get a free kids’ meal if you’re an All-Club Veg member

Kids Eat Free Tuesday —
Johnny Rockets: From 4 to 8 p.m., kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entrée and drink
Ruby Tuesday: Kids eat free from 5 pm to close with the purchase of an adult entrée

Kids Eat Free Wednesday—
Friendly's: After 4 p.m., kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.
Smashburger: From 4 to 9 p.m., kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal

Kids Eat Free Thursday—
El Chico: Kids meal special for .99 with a purchase of an adult meal. Dine-in only.

Kids Eat Free on Weekends—
Steak ‘n’ Shake: offers a kids-eat-free meal for every $9 spent on adult food by their parent.
Marie Callender’s: (Saturday) – A Free kids’ meal with the purchase of an adult entrée
Moe’s Southwest Grill: (Sunday) – A Free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée of $6 or more
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: (Sunday) - One free kids’ meal per check with a minimum $10 purchase

Add to Your Apps!

For those on the go, there are apps you can download to help you find <Kids Eat Free Near Me>.

KidsEatFree – Offering restaurants by state, look for the restaurants near you offering Kids Eat Free.

KidsEatFree by Kids Meal Deals, LLC – Look for special Kids Meal Deals near you.

Final Thought

It is believed that Kids Eat Free is here to stay. It’s an excellent offer to overworked and overwhelmed parents trying to navigate raising children in today’s complex world.

No matter where you live in the country, a Kids Eat Free night is near you. You can choose any of the above restaurants or download one of the apps so you can find Kids Eat Free Nights near you.

*Reminder—the U.S. is a big country, so check on participating locations of <kids eat free near me>.

Bottom line? If you haven’t already tried this fantastic program in your town, don’t worry. Many restaurants compete for your hard-earned dollars and want you to come in with the family. They’re waiting to greet you when you’re ready!

Bon Appetit! 😃

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