(RNN) - War veterans and active military won't have to worry about putting food on the table this Veterans Day. Several of the country's leading restaurant chains are offering free meals Thursday as their way of saying thank you for serving the country.
Some restaurants are going the extra mile by raising money for charities that serve veterans.
To cash in on your meal, all restaurants require that troops show proof of their military service.
If you qualify, easy ways to identify yourself include wearing your uniform or bringing a photograph of you in your uniform, showing your U.S. Uniform Services/Retired Services identification or veterans' organization card, or providing a current leave and earnings statement (LES) or a DD214.
As part of the "thank you" effort, every Outback across the country will offer a free bloomin' onion and beverage to veterans and active duty military who dine with them Thursday.
"It's just our ongoing commitment to the military, and this is one of many things we do with the military throughout the year," said Stephanie Amberg, a spokeswoman for the down under-themed chain.
Throughout the month of November, Outback customers will have their chance to say thank you by giving to Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to families of troops at war. To donate $5, text "TROOPS" to 90999. Standard messaging rates apply.
Earlier this year, the chain sponsored a special menu called "Red, White & Bloomin'," which raised $1 million to the charity.
"Since the day we started 22 years ago, we've done a lot of great things with the military," Amberg said.
In 2002, Outback started "Operation Feeding Freedom," which has brought food to 150,000 troops on seven missions to the Middle East.
The "Neighborhood Bar and Grille" is offering a free meal on Veterans Day at participating locations nationwide to both retired and active duty military.
Diners will be able to choose from seven of the restaurant's menu items: house sirloin, bacon cheeseburger, chicken tenders platter, oriental chicken salad, three-cheese chicken penne, fiesta lime chicken, and double crunch shrimp.
The restaurant has also dedicated part of its website to honoring troops. All around the world, people can log on and send messages of support and gratitude to troops "from around the neighborhood."
Be sure to call ahead to make sure your neighborhood location is participating.
In their Veteran's Day advertisements, the Southwest-inspired eatery says it's time to serve those who've served them. So it's taking on the daunting task of making up for the "Meals, Ready to Eat," or field rations, given to troops during their tours of duty.
On Veterans Day, active duty military can choose from six free meals, all of which are promised to be served free of vacuum-sealed plastic bags and without the need for hydration.
"There are so many brave men and women who fight and sacrifice their lives for our freedom every day," said Wyman Roberts, president of Chili's Grill & Bar. "For all that they do, Chili's is saluting those in our armed forces with a free meal for their brave and unselfish service."
The items are: the Oldtimer burger with cheese, quesadilla explosion salad, margarita grilled chicken, Cajun chicken pasta, chicken crispers, and chicken club tacos.
The entrees can be eaten for free during all business hours at participating locations.
Texas Roadhouse is offering a free entree from the "Early Dine" menu with a military uniform or valid ID on Veteran's Day.
"It's become one of our favorite promotions all year long," said Travis Doster, a spokesman for the steak chain. "We speak frequently within our company that we rely on less than 1 percent of our population to protect the other 99 percent. We could never possibly do enough. A free meal doesn't come close, but we're working on ways to continue to pay the troops back."
Participating times and locations vary, so call your local Texas Roadhouse to find out when and if your location is offering the promotion.
Golden Corral will offer veterans and active duty military a free dinner Nov. 15, the Monday after Veteran's Day, between 5 and 9 p.m., according to its website.
This will mark the company's 10th nationwide "Military Appreciation Monday" dinner.
Last year, the company said it served a free buffet and drink to more than 335,000 veterans and collected and donated $808,000 to the Disabled American Veterans.
The company says the meal is a "thank you tribute" to those who've served in the armed forces and will be available at all Golden Corral locations nationwide.
Friday's, the eatery known for its American fare, is offering a 2-for-1 special "as a thank you to all who serve our country," said spokeswoman Maddy Gale.
Beginning Thursday and lasting throughout the weekend, Friday's locations around the country will give those with a current or expired military ID a free entree with the purchase of another - a great deal for the whole family.
To see if a Friday's near you is participating, dial 1-800-FRIDAYS and select option No. 1.
If you're looking for a sweet start to Veterans Day, the doughnut and coffee chain is offering one free doughnut to veterans on Thursday. The promotion is only available at participating franchise locations, so call ahead to verify if your local store is offering the promotion.
All day Thursday at participating nationwide Hooters, troops will eat free if they choose one of the restaurant's specialty menu items, all of which have a value of up to $8.49.
UNO Chicago Grill
Nationwide, the chain is dishing out its famous pizzas to show support of troops on Veteran's Day. Those in uniform will have the opportunity to dine on an individual pizza, or if they have their taste buds set on something different, the entree of their choice.
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