In what’s become an annual trend, the beginning of every year is marked by a flood of fast-food discounts, followed by national giveaway days when consumers can scoop up pancakes, bagels, ice cream and more for free.
In both cases, the point seems to be that national chains and fast-food specialists want you to start off the new year thinking about — and consuming — their food and beverages. Mark your calendar to take advantage of these freebies in the days and weeks ahead:
Coffee or Tea
Participating locations of the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a chain that’s been around since 1963 and now has some 900 stores in 23 countries, are giving away one free Anniversary Blend coffee or tea per customer all day on Jan. 30. The giveaway celebrates the company’s anniversary — 50 years in business.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Krispy Kreme is giving 12 free donut coupons with the purchase of a dozen donuts — now through February 14.
With this deal, there’s a 50-50 chance of free pizza. The Papa John’s chain is hosting a special coin-toss promotion to coincide with the Super Bowl: vote heads or tails by Feb. 2, and if your guess matches the opening coin toss at the big game the following day, you’ll be sent a code via e-mail good for a free one-topping large pizza.
This year’s National Pancake Day falls on Feb. 5, when all IHOP customers get a free short stack of pancakes — and are asked to consider making a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or another charity. IHOP has raised over $10 million thanks to the event, which began in 2006.
A few days after National Pancake Day comes National Bagel Day, Feb. 9, when Einstein Bros. Bagels and Noah’s New York Bagels offer every customer a free bagel with a smear of butter or cream cheese with the purchase of a coffee or espresso.
Coming Soon: Ice Cream and (Maybe) Pretzels
The Ben & Jerry’s website states that the dates and other details regarding Global Free Cone Day will be released soon; the ice cream giveaway usually takes place in March or April. Meanwhile, 2013 would mark the fifth year in a row that Auntie Anne’s Pretzels is hosting a Free Pretzel Day. While last year’s pretzel free-for-all day fell on March 3, no information is available about the possibility of a 2013 date.