It’s that time of year when we celebrate all the grads in our lives. Whether they’re finishing high school or completing a higher degree, you can find a freebie or a discount that will make their graduation even better.

Restaurants are offering everything from free desserts to fully catered meal packages. Some eateries are even giving out free gift cards with a purchase — because restaurant gift cards make perfect gift for a new grad who is moving into the next phase of their life.

Food Freebies and Deals for Graduates 2024

Note: The deals below often require you to make a purchase to snag the freebie or bonus gift card. In some cases, you might be required to be a rewards member or install the restaurant’s app. Additionally, some may vary by franchise and are subject to change.


When you buy a $50 Applebee’s gift card, you’ll get an extra $10 bonus for free. You have until June 23 to grab this deal, which also makes it a great option for a Father’s Day gift. The card expires on August 4, 2024.

image showing $10 bonus applebees gift card

Baked by Melissa

Celebrate your newest graduate with a pack of mini cupcakes from Baked by Melissa. The cupcakes are available in quantities of 25 and 50 and come in a festive box that says “Congrats.” You can also pick up a gift card for your grad!

Baskin Robbins

A classic treat, Baskin Robbins has graduation-themed ice cream cakes. They offer options like a customizable Cap & Gown cake, which can be customized by the grad’s school colors.


Bertucci’s offers unique graduation meal packages for pickup, curbside and delivery. You can find packages that include pasta and pizza with extras like salads and desserts, so the guests at your graduation party are sure to be satisfied. Use code GRAD2024 at checkout to get a free tray of mini chocolate chip cannoli with the purchase of a $100+ Graduation Package.

Bonefish Grill

They are offering a free $10 gift card deal when you purchase a $50 gift card (redeemable June 24 to Aug. 25). This deal is valid for e-gift cards and physical gift cards. See details and fine print.

Buca di Beppo

The Italian chain is offering special graduation catering packages that feature favorites like baked ziti, spicy chicken rigatoni and lasagna. Some packages even come with delicious desserts that range from cookies and brownies to cannoli and tiramisu. Packages start at $12.99 per person. Get a free tray of mini chocolate chip cannoli when you purchase a $100+ graduation package with code GRAD2024 at checkout.

a cannoli that looks like a diploma

Buffalo Wild Wings

Another awesome gift card promotion for new graduates comes from Buffalo Wild Wings. When you buy $40 in gift cards online, you’ll get a $10 eBonus gift card. This promotion is valid through June 16.


Free a $5 Reward Card through June 16, when you buy $24 in e-gift cards. You can redeem that bonus card through Aug. 31.


Graduates will always love receiving a gift card, and Chili’s is running a great promotion for them. When you order a $50 Chili’s gift card through June 22, you’ll receive a free $10 e-gift card as a thank you.

Edible Arrangements

If you’d rather show up with a bouquet of fruit than flowers, Edible Arrangements has an expansive list of graduation-themed gifts you can choose from. They also have dessert gifts if your grad isn’t a fan of fruit.

Jason’s Deli

Buy $50 worth of gift cards, and get a $10 worth of gifts: a $5 promo card you can use between June 17 and July 31 and $5 worth of rewards points.

McAlister’s Deli

This graduation season, get a $5 eReward online or a physical reward voucher for every $25 worth of gift cards you purchase. You can get this deal until June 16, and the $5 eReward can be used from June 17 to Aug. 11. 

Miller’s Ale House

Miller’s Ale House is running a gift card promotion to treat grads. When you purchase a $50 Miller’s Ale House gift card, you’ll receive a $10 bonus card. Again, gift cards can be the perfect gift for a new grad, so you won’t want to miss this promo.


If you’re proud of your grad and want everyone to know it, Minted can help. The service offers plenty of customizable graduation announcements for 2024. You can also pick up graduation party invitations and thank you notes. Minted is also running a Memorial Day deal through May 28: Get 15% off sitewide with this promo code. Be sure to stack that with RetailMeNot’s 5% cash back offer (valid through May 31).

Moe’s Southwest Grill

Moe’s Southwest Grill is offering a great gift card promotion in honor of the Class of 2024. When you buy a $25 Moe’s gift card for a graduate, you’ll get a free $5 gift card for you. After all, burritos make the best gifts.

On the Border

Buy $50 worth of gift cards, and get a free $10 bonus card through May 31. The bonus card can be used June 1 to June 30. If you’re taking the gang out to celebrate, be sure to take advantage of Endless Enchilada Mondays.

Outback Steakhouse

“Gift and you shall receive” at Outback Steakhouse. You’ll get a free $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in Outback Steakhouse gift cards for a limited time. It’s the best way to give a bloomin’ onion as a graduation gift.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

If you’re looking for delicious catering for your graduate’s party, Potbelly is here to help. You can order individual box lunches or bundles for 6 or 10 people. There’s even a package that provides mac and cheese for a group.

Red Lobster

From now until July 1, you’ll receive two $10 off bonus coupons for every $50 you spend on Red Lobster gift cards. These coupons are good on purchases of at least $40 that are made in July and August.

banner showing red lobster $10 bonus gift cards


Smashburger is running an enticing gift card promotion. When you buy $25 in gift cards, you’ll get $5 in Smash Cash to use at participating locations through June 18. The coupon is good for both in-store and online purchases.

TGI Fridays

Through June 15, grads who wear a cap and gown can get a free appetizer or dessert with entree purchase. Plus, use promo code GRAD24 when ordering online to get 25% off party platters.

Why Do Restaurants Offer Deals for Grads?

Restaurants know that shoppers are looking for gifts for grads in their lives, hence the proliferation of bonus gift card offers around this time. In addition to graduation season, it’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifting season, so many restaurants extend the specials throughout May and June. The next time you’ll see this level of gift card deals will be during the holiday season.

Restaurants also know that their customers are likely throwing graduation parties and enjoying celebratory meals out — hence offering catering packages and freebies.

The post 20+ Food Freebies and Deals for 2024 Graduates appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.

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