Pajo's Fish and Chips in Steveston

I cashed in the first of my free birthday meals yesterday when I paid a visit to Boston Pizza. That was a couple of days early, but that’s the beauty of receiving the e-mail coupon ahead of time. You might remember that Boston Pizza is one of the places that you can get free food on your birthday.

When I sent out a tweet about my BP meal, I was spurred on by Dot Com Pho regular Aaron Koo to do a blog post on other free birthday meals that you can get in Vancouver. You may remember when I blogged about the free meals at Denny’s and Red Robin too. But there’s more. Much more. And who am I to turn down a perfectly good meal?

The free meal deals described below are from the perspective of a native Vancouverite, but some of these can also apply outside of my fair major metropolitan area too. Boston Pizza, Red Robin, and Denny’s are good examples of that. So, where else can you eat for free on birthday?

Vera’s Burger Shack – “You can’t beat Vera’s meat.” That’s a clever (albeit cheeky) slogan for a burger joint. If you sign up for Vera’s Club, you get a $10 gift certificate that is valid only on your exact birth date. This also means you get spammed with their newsletter, which is the case with many of these free birthday deals.

Dairy Queen – Joining the Blizzard Fan Club nets you a “special surprise” coupon on your birthday, but from what I’ve received, it’s not a straight up free dessert. It’s usually a BOGO (buy one, get one) kind of deal, which isn’t nearly as good.

The Boathouse – Here, you need to sign up for the free Westcoast Club and they send you a $25 gift card on your birthday. I haven’t received this one yet, as it’s my first year as a member, so I can’t verify whether the gift card arrives in electronic or physical form. They never did ask for a mailing address, so I’m assuming it’s an e-certificate via e-mail.

UPDATE (10/26/82): You get an e-mail coupon stating that you get a free meal (up to $25 value), but you need to be a table of four and you need to make a reservation through their website using the coupon code stated in the e-mail.

Pajo’s Fish and Chips – We hosted a Dot Com Pho at Pajo’s earlier this year (depicted above) and I filled out the Free Birthday Meal online form shortly thereafter. The free meal consists of either a small fish and chips (plus drink) or a burger and fries (plus drink). Again, I haven’t received this one yet either, but they do say that it is only valid on your birthday.

Starbucks – Many of you may have already registered a card with Starbucks. Assuming that you also provided your contact and birthday information, Starbucks should send you a postcard in the mail on your birthday for one free beverage. That’s any size and with as many customizations as you’d like.

Several places offer free dessert — Milestones, Sammy J Peppers, White Spot, etc. — but that’s not much of a deal, nor is it exactly “free” when you’ve already paid for your meal. I hear that Blenz also offers free beverages on your birthday, but some franchisees “opt out” of that program.

Part of the reason why I still prefer the free meal deals at Red Robin and Boston Pizza is that they give you about a one-week window. Not everyone is available to eat out precisely on your birthday. By spreading it out, it also means you can get more free meals too.

Interestingly, my birthday wish list hasn’t changed all that much from last year. I no longer need a new camera, but I’d like a couple of new lenses for my Olympus. I’ve been eyeing the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 and Panasonic 45-200mm for a while, but just can’t convince myself to make the plunge. If you feel so inclined, you can check out my current Amazon wish list too, but some of these free meals will suffice for now.

UPDATE (10/26/82): As Jennifer points out below, Booster Juice also offers a free drink on your birthday. You have to sign up for their newsletter/community (they call it “Nation” on the website) and then they’ll e-mail you a digital coupon to print out. It’s valid for one week, but you do have to specify your preferred location when you sign up.

Disclosure: I am not at all affiliated with any of these restaurants and I don’t get anything for sending new sign-ups their way. The link to my Amazon wish list is an affiliate link, so I do earn a small commission if you happen to buy anything from there… in addition to the birthday gift, should you feel so generous. 🙂