Poutine at Spud Shack Fry Co, Photo by Ed Lau

Photo credit: Ed Lau

I celebrated my birthday about three weeks ago and while I wasn’t able to take advantage of all the free birthday meals and deals available to me, I did get to enjoy some of the great freebies. There’s nothing quite like sipping on your free coffee after you’ve eaten your free burger.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve written about birthday freebies; I’ve already done it twice before, but the rules and details related to these can change. Some get discontinued and new ones pop up, so here is a quick update on some of the better freebies you can get on (or around) your birthday in the Vancouver area.

Free Grand Slam Breakfast

The actual execution of this deal seems to vary widely from location to location and even server to server. In general, the rule is that you have to come to a Denny’s restaurant with a guest, both of you have to order a drink, and your guest has to get a meal. Some restaurants will allow you to get any entree you’d like for free, but others restrict you to the basic Grand Slam Breakfast with no substitutions. That’s two pancakes, two strips of bacon, two sausage links and two eggs. The free breakfast is only valid on your exact birthday.

Red Robin
Free Gourmet Burger and Fries

In order to get the free burger with Red Robin, you’ll first need to go to their website and sign up for their e-mail newsletter. A few days before your birthday, you’ll receive a message containing your free burger coupon. Print this out and bring it to your local Red Robin restaurant (I went to the one near Lougheed Town Centre) and present it to your server. You get to choose any of the “gourmet” burgers. The coupon is valid for about a week.

Your mileage may vary, but on my most recent free birthday trip, the server also gave me a free birthday sundae. It was really basic — vanilla ice cream with some chocolate syrup and whipped cream — but it was free.

Booster Juice
Free Regular Smoothie

Sign up for the “Booster Nation” newsletter and you’ll receive a certificate via e-mail for a free regular sized smoothie. It is only valid on your exact birth date.

Spud Shack Fry Co.
Free Medium Poutine

Having only been open for about a year, Spud Shack is understandably new to this list. We hosted a Dot Com Pho there in March. They specialize in fries, not surprisingly, but you’ll also find burgers, sandwiches and fried fish. To take advantage of their birthday freebie, you’ll need to download the LoyalTree app on your smartphone and add Spud Shack to your list. The free poutine “offer” will show up in the app a few days before your birthday and it’s valid for about two months.

Vera's Burger Shack

Vera’s Burger Shack
Free $10 Food Voucher

Here’s another one of those “sign up for our mailing list and get a freebie” kind of deals. The difference is that the Vera’s birthday freebie is essentially a straight $10 value. The best way to spend it, I find, is to take advantage of whatever their daily featured special is. This will usually include a burger, fries and a drink for $10, so you’re only responsible for the 50 cents in tax. And yes, it’s only valid on your birthday.

Pajo’s Fish and Chips
Free Small Fish and Chips

The free birthday meal coupon used to be sent via e-mail if you signed up for the newsletter, but I didn’t get mine this year. Thankfully, the coupon is available online; you just have to print it out. If you don’t want the small fish and chips (with drink), you can get a burger, fries and drink instead. Since Pajo’s isn’t open in the winter, they’ve changed the deal for people born between November 1 and February 15; you can redeem it on the same “day” as your birthday, but in April, May or June.

Boston Pizza
Free Dessert

It used to be that if you signed up for the Boston Pizza mailing list, you’d receive a message where you could get a free gourmet pasta during your birthday week. This is no longer the case. They only offer a free dessert now instead.

Free Birthday Beverage

It used to be that the free birthday drink with Starbucks would arrive in the form of a physical postcard in the mail. Now, the free drink gets loaded on your registered Starbucks card, so you can get your free drink via the card or using the smartphone app. Just be sure to tell the barista that you’re cashing in a free birthday drink. Then, you can load up with all the syrups, toppings and other drink options that you’d like for no additional charge. It seems to be valid for about a month.

Any Other Free Birthday Meals and Deals?

I’m sure there are other restaurants and businesses that give away something to patrons on their birthdays. Do you have a particular favorite? I recently learned that A&W restaurants in the US will give you a root beer float, but I’m not sure if that’s valid in Canada too.

UPDATE! More Freebies!