For foodies, there’s no better feeling than tracking your waiter or waitress across the dining room of your favorite restaurant, knowing they are about to stop at your table to unload trays of delicious grub. Still, when the check comes, that euphoria can dissipate.
Most of the time, emptying your wallet for that extravagant steak and lobster dinner can be extremely satisfying, but it can also be a bit disappointing, because going for broke, well, sucks. Still, there are ways that you can legally get yourself free food — if you’re slick and do a little research beforehand. So, before you gear up to go dumpster diving, take down these notes on what you can do to avoid breaking the bank.
1. Get a Tattoo
In 1999, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that a famous Bay Area burrito spot accidentally set a standard they would later regret. Casa Sanchez, a frequented spot for delicious Mexican food in the Mission District, hung a sign claiming that whoever got a tattoo of the Casa Sanchez logo would receive free lunch for life.
But, after people actually started showing up with their ink, ownership began adding up the potential cost of giving away free food. It was estimated that it would cost up to $5.8 million dollars! Having underestimated the attraction, Casa Sanchez had no choice but to honor the deal. However, tattoo collectors are now subject to an interview, and the deal is only available to 10 more people. Well, what are you waiting for?
2. Free Samples at Costco
You’ll need access to an annual membership, but most of us know someone who has one. Once inside, you’ll find at least a half dozen demonstration tables set up handing out various meats, cheeses, sweets and booze. There’s no limit!
Pro Tip: Grab two samples at a time, even if you’re the only one eating them.
3. "It’s My Birthday!"
Most restaurants will honor your birthday by comping your dessert. Unless you’re being super shady about your birthday, they’re probably not going to check your ID either. So, in that case, you should say it’s your birthday Everywhere. You. Go. Eat.
4. Play Fast Food Games
Chipotle, McDonald’s, and several other fast food chains participate in purchase-based games that offer prizes like cash, free food and trips. While most of us will never win anything worthwhile, these games are pretty easy and a sure-fire way to win free fries or soda.
5. Become Friends With Workers
We all know that working in the service industry can be a thankless job, so always remember to be friendly with staff no matter how your day’s going. In fact, your friendly nature can score you some free goodies. Whether it’s getting an employee discount, free cup of coffee or free side of guac, anything is better than nothing.
6. Have Reddit Send You Pizza
Random Acts Of Pizza is a private Reddit community that you need to be invited to. However, it wasn’t too long ago that Redditors requesting pizza actually got their wishes fulfilled. So, if you’re really looking for free pizza, it can probably be found on Reddit.
7. Go Wild With Extras at Chipotle
Apparently, at Chipotle there’s no charge for extra toppings (excluding meat and guacamole) —meaning beans, fajitas, corn, lettuce taco shells and tortillas are essentially free. The next time you order a Burrito Bowl, add on a few extra ingredients and have yourself a taco party. Just be sure to grab some extra salsa!
8. Troll Delivery Services
Mobile ordering is now a part of the norm. Recently, a Buzzfeed writer attempted to troll the system by finding loopholes in promotions from well-known food delivery sites. In fact, he managed to purchase Maine lobster in garlic sauce for about $4.
“I settled for buying one-and-a-half-pound Maine lobsters in an amazing garlic sauce from an Ecuadorian spot in Williamsburg. For $4. Again and again and again.”
Opens food app and starts digging
9. Become a Social Media Influencer
Everyone knows the best thing about being a celebrity is the perks and sponsorships that come along with fame. Well, in Australia, there’s an app for that. The “Into” app allows social media influencers with more than 11,000 followers to obtain free drinks and meals at participating restaurants and bars.
Users must be verified by the app and their partnering agency, and pay a $49 monthly fee. The unspoken rule is that the influencers will promote the places they visit in an effort to direct more attention to them.