Saving Money Dining OutEarly bird specials may be harder to come by these days, but retirees on a budget can still enjoy the occasional restaurant outing without breaking the bank thanks to senior discounts at many nationwide chains.
Chain restaurants may not advertise their discounts, but they may be willing to do give you a deal if you ask for one. Here are some popular restaurants offering deals for retirees as young as just 50 years old.
Be sure to bring identification with your birth date on it, however. Regardless of how old (or young) you look, some restaurants may want you to prove your age before giving you the deal.
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Golden CorralGolden Corral calls itself American's #1 buffet and grill and boasts “grilled to order sirloin steaks, pork, seafood, shrimp, and chicken,” pot roast that’s been simmered for 12 hours, home made meatloaf, fried chicken, mac and cheese and plenty of fresh salad options as well as cakes, pies, ice cream and cookies for dessert.
In the morning, the Golden Corral breakfast buffet offers made-to-order omelettes, pancakes, French toast, sausage, bacon, fruit and pastries among other options.
Deals for Seniors: You should definitely call before you go, but we hear that most Golden Corrals offer about 10% off for seniors aged 60 and up. And if you arrive at the end of breakfast and you’re lucky, you may even be able to stay and enjoy lunch as well. Discounts may vary by location.
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Waffle HouseWaffle House has served 495,264,367 waffles, 123,587,123 t-bone steaks and 22,217,455 slices of pie since 1955, according to the company’s Web site, and it’s amassed a substantial group of regulars. It might not be the healthiest food in the world, but it serves up tasty versions of breakfast basics with a bottomless cup of coffee.
Deals for Seniors: Depending on where you live, your local Waffle House may have a senior menu which offers smaller portions at lower prices.
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Elephant Bar RestaurantElephant Bar Restaurants aim to provide a relaxing, tropical-themed environment for casual dining on food and drinks from the classics to the more exotic, the chain says.
Deals for Seniors: If you’re 60 years of age or older, and you sign up for the Senior Explorer VIP Card, you can get 20% off lunch and dinner, not including drinks.
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Denny'sThis nationwide, classic and affordable family dining establishment has special senior discounts and meals just for seniors.
Deals for Seniors: The Denny’s Senior Slam with French toast comes with one piece of toast, one egg, and two strips of bacon or two sausages for $5.49, as opposed to the regular French toast slam which comes with two pieces of toast, two eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausages for $6.99, notes The New York Times. That's half the food, but it's only a buck and a half cheaper, but perhaps those who'd rather not waste food would consider the meal worth it.
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SizzlerDiscounts on already-affordable meals may be available at your local Sizzler restaurant, and there’s a special menu for seniors too.
Deals for Seniors: At Sizzler, the senior menu features lists dinner entrees like fresh fish to chicken to beef for $5.99 and a buffet for $6.49. Certain locations may not include the same menu options, notes the Los Angeles Times.
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Friendly's Restaurant and Ice CreamFriendly’s ice cream can be found in grocery stores across the country, but there are also restaurant locations where sandwiches, burgers and greasy snacks are also available.
Deals for Seniors: Seniors can aged 60 and over can get special breakfasts like two eggs cooked to order, pancakes or French toast with sausage or bacon, plus coffee, toast and jelly, at senior-friendly pricing that varies based on location.
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BuffetsBuffets Inc., the parent company of Old Country, Hometown and Country Buffet offers classic, affordable buffets of grilled meats, cooked vegetables, salads and desserts. And the company says its one of the largest restaurant chains in America, serving about 75 million customers a year.
Deals for Seniors: Diners 60 years and up can buy a Senior Club card for $1 and get discounts for a full year.
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FuddruckersThis national burger joint is in the business of “Making the world a burger place,” according to one tagline on the company’s Web site. Deals for Seniors: Fuddruckers patrons say the restaurants may give seniors a 10% discount or a discount on certain plates if you’re 55 or older. Participation may vary.
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Ponderosa SteakhouseBesides its buffet and steak, Ponderosa specializes in burgers, sandwiches and chicken, and it’s ready to accommodate large groups, according to the company’s Web site.
Deals for Seniors: Special menu and cheaper senior pricing, but menus and deals may vary by location. There are also lunch specials between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
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Shoney'sThis 62-year-old restaurant chain started out as a little drive-in in Charleston, W. Va. Now there are hundreds of locations in 18 states serving their all-American favorites, the company says.
Deals: Senior discounts vary by location, so the company says to ask your server what’s available at the location near you.
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CarrowsCarrows appears to have a few more healthy options than many of the national restaurant chains with notable deals for seniors. The chain also has banquet rooms at some of its locations where big groups can meet up for a meal.
Deals for Seniors: There’s a special senior menu with smaller portions for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Prices vary by location.
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Chili's Grill & BarChili’s ribs are smoked in-house, and the company boasts some healthier choices as well as a vegetarian menu. What's more, Chili’s isn’t just concerned with filling your plate. The restaurant is in the midst of a 10-year plan to donate $50 million to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Deals for Seniors: A 10% discount for seniors aged 55 and older at participating locations.
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Country KitchenCountry Kitchen promises “real food and fast food prices,” including full meals like a barbecue chicken dinner or a cheeseburger and fries for $5 at participating locations.
Deals for Seniors: Country Kitchen has special offers for 55-plus crowd as well as membership discounts.
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BurgersBasic fast food chains offer senior discounts, so if you haven’t been taking advantage of them, now’s the time to start. Arby's, McDonald's (Stock Quote: MCD), Burger King (Stock Quote: BKC), Carl's Jr., Hardees (Stock Quote: CKR), Dairy Queen, Jack in the Box (Stock Quote: JACK), Wendy’s (Stock Quote: WEN), Whataburger and Sonic Drive-In have discounts for seniors, according to some restaurant goers who stop at one of these restaurants for a quick meal.
Deals for Seniors: Deals may include a percentage off your meal or a free drink.
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ChickenOlder lovers of fried chicken may be able to get senior discount at a number of chicken chains including Chick-fil-A, Church's Chicken, KFC (Stock Quote: YUM), Popeye's Fried Chicken and Boston Market, some consumers note.
Deals for Seniors: Restaurants may offer a certain percentage off of your purchase or a free drink with your meal.
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Taco BellTaco Bell is one of the oldest and biggest Mexican-style restaurant chains in the United States, the company says. And like Chili’s, the chain and its parent company, Yum! Brands, contributes a portion of its earnings to charity with its Taco Bell Foundation for Teens.
Deals for Seniors: One consumer reports that Taco Bell gives seniors free drinks at participating locations.
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Restaurant.comRestaurant.com already offers gift certificates at a significant discount to their face value, but discounts for seniors are available through the AARP.
Deals for Seniors: Currently, AARP members can get a $25 gift certificate for $2 through the AARP.
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DessertsSometimes just a taste of something sweet would hit the spot, so even if you want dessert or a sweet snack, there are several senior discounts you can take advantage of. Krispy Kreme (Stock Quote: KKD), Dunkin Donuts, Dairy Queen, TCBY and Mrs. Fields offer discounts for seniors, according to some of those chains’ patrons.
Mrs. Fields, for example, may give those over 60 a 10% discount on purchases, and TCBY might offer a 10% discount for those over 55, depending on your location.
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