Where To Get Free Food On Your Birthday

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komagataya.comMy buddy just had a free meal at Todai, a Japanese seafood and sushi buffet located primarily along the West Coast. They offer free meals to people on their birthday (they check ID), as long as you go with one paying customer. I usually avoid buffets, but where else can two people eat about five pounds of raw fish for $30? And unlimited crab legs. Mmm… I love sashimi. If you see a guy eating only the fish and leaving the rice balls underneath untouched, that’s me. Gotta save room!

Here’s a nice list of other places to get free food on your birthday. Many are just desserts or kids-only, but it includes such chains as Red Lobster, TGIFs, Baskin Robbins, and Burger King. Nothing I’d really go out of my way for, besides maybe Baskin Robbins 🙂

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  1. I don’t know about Todai, but a lot of the really nice buffets, particularly sushi/seafood buffets, will fine you for leaving food on your plate. Might want to eat those rice balls!

  2. Perfect! My birthday is on the 29th of this month! Thanks!

  3. I won’t ever go to those restaurants that fine customers. What if their food really sucks?

  4. I’ve been to Todai like 6 times, never been fined or heard of anyone being fined.

    I’ve worked in a buffett restaurent before. That sounds like a bad business practice to me. Don’t like wasted food? Don’t open a buffett! Besides, tons of food are wasted in regular restaurants as well.

  5. I don’t think it’s legal for restaurants to “fine” customers for leaving food on their plates.

  6. FYI, you may wanna check this out:

  7. i love sushi man…its the onyl thing ill splurge on….i love frugal living but sushi is my vice…

  8. PuttyWad says

    While understanding assets, markets, and money is one thing, being so blase about wasting food is another. Shame on you, Jonathan. 😐

    Though I must say, I went to Todai (in Portland – not sure if each iteration is different) for my birthday back in 2002. Tasty, and one of the best bets for those of you with a birthday coming up. 🙂

  9. First time commenter here. Jonathan, thanks for the GREAT blog. My favorite of all personal finance blogs and I do read it everyday.

    My wife and I have been to Todai in Oahu and near Chicago and noticed that the one in Hawaii is much, much better. Even though it is the same restaurant, I think the quality of the non-coastal restaurants leaves much to be desired.

    Also, you mentioned that you worked in a buffett restaurant before… was that Jimmy or Warren? (Had to mention that since your spelling is usually flawless.)

  10. bigmouth says

    now, all you need to do is to make fake IDs with various birthdays…

    The problem of eat birthday for free is that you can’t eat there along. You have to bring someone with you. And you can’t just order something simple, it’s your birthday, you have to get a bottle of wine and some nice desert and cake…

    Then your bill adds up. I think they know how to make up the differences there.

  11. I usually do hate to waste food, but I’m not going to feel bad about 10 cents of rice. If you examine your lifestyle closely, there is so much other waste out there. Even eating meat at all can be viewed as wasteful if you look at how many resources are expended to create it versus vegetables.

    Ha, I think those Warren Buffett PBS episodes have gotten into my subconscious.

    Doesn’t Jimmy Buffett actually have a restaurant called Margaritaville or something? 🙂

  12. PuttyWad says

    Now *there’s* an idea. Vegetarian or vegan lifestyles as a pecuniarily responsible lifestyle choice. Hmmmmmm.

  13. Actually, I have friends that are vegetarian for just that – world-economic reasons. (as opposed to religious, cultural, or animal-cruelty reasons). Here is one argument. I don’t think I have the discipline to go veggie, however.

  14. Todai in Southern Caliofornia is one of the BIGGEST Japanese buffets out there, and the food is GREAT! I remember when my mother first took me to this place for my birthday. Ever since then, it’s been a family tradition to go on each of our birthdays. All you can eat for an EXCELLENT price!

  15. personal finance advice says

    lol – just what I need, Japanese food on my birthday 😉

  16. Buffets restaurant is Cheeseburger in Paradise

  17. Sushi buffets obviously don’t make money by providing the best quality or freshest seafood. Do you really want to risk getting some parasite or worm that may migrate to your brain (do some Googling on that) just to get a free meal? This strikes me as a case of “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish.”

  18. Todai is actually a pretty nice buffet in good locations, regular price for dinner is over $25. If it was in a back alley for $5.99, I’d be wary 😉

  19. There was a Todai in the Cherry Creek mall (upscale mall) in Denver. It was opened for only a few years, then it closed. I can say that the food didn’t look fresh. Some sushi looked dried out and some hot items looked like they were sitting there for hours (and they probably were).

    Two years ago, I was traveling Asia and spend Thanksgiving in Hong Kong. It was USD$36, but the food was SOOO fresh and had some items I don’t usually see in California Todai’s. Raw oysters on half shell, green tea souffle, and apple crumb pudding.

  20. The whole deal with getting a free combo meal at taco bell is not true, Went today to get one and did not give free birthday combos. But I did get a Happy Birthday grunt from the drive threw lady….Nothings for free.

  21. Hello! I work at an Applebee’s and you get a free dessert. The big dessert shooter. Woo Hoo! Only a whopping $1.99 if you purchase anyway. Red Lobster sent me a $5 off two adult entree ecoupon to print out for my birthday. The best I have so far is this year is a free spaghetti and spumanti from The Spaghetti Warehouse, which is in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania that I can think of. I am waiting to get something from Maggiano’s Little Italy, which I love! Anyhow, birthday is in a week so if I get anything better, I’ll comment.

  22. Value Dude says

    If you have to bring some1 to get a free meal, then it’s NOT really free. advertisng marketing trick I would say.
    who said you have to order wine & desert & something expensive on your birthday, Bigmouth? if you want to waste $ then it’s yours $ wasted; your own fault.
    what restaurant fine you for not eating food that you don’t want to eat; NO restaurant do that in USA? rice is cheap anyway like 1 cents oe less cost to them.
    RAW food can make you sick. it’s not too tasty either. yak! puke!

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