Golden Corral Military Appreciation Night: Free Dinner after Veterans Day 2024

On the Monday after Veterans Day weekend, current and former military members can enjoy a free meal at Golden Corral's Military Appreciation Night.
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golden corral veterans day offer

Gold Corral has offered free military and veteran buffet meals and drinks for over 20 years. While many restaurants offer free meals on Veterans Day, Golden Corral will offer its Military Appreciation Night promotion on the Monday after Veterans Day weekend.

We are working on validating Veterans Day discounts for 2024. Below is last year’s Veterans Day discount.

Golden Corral Military Appreciation Night on Veterans Day

Valid Military ID, Proof of Service

Who Qualifies?
Active-Duty, Veterans, Reservists


Golden Corral hosts Military Appreciation Night on Monday, November 13th, from 5 p.m. to close. Active and former military members enjoy a free meal, but it's for dine-in only. A valid military ID or proof of service is required.

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Golden Corral Free Veteran Meal Eligibility

Veterans, active-duty, National Guard and reserve service members can eat free on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, from 5 to close, according to Golden Corral’s website. However, military family members must pay for their meals.

Golden Corral’s website does not list a proof of service requirement. Please don’t abuse the rule if your Golden Corral location uses the honor system on military appreciation night. Claiming you are a veteran just for a free meal cheapens the service and sacrifice of actual service members and veterans.

If you need documentation to prove your military service, you can bring a:

Most restaurants will accept these forms of identification for Veterans Day offers. Some may also accept a photo of you in your uniform or a membership card for the VFW, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America or another veteran service organization.


Golden Corral Military Appreciation Night Exclusions

Veterans and service members can only eat for free dining at Golden Corral. The restaurant won’t provide free takeout orders on military appreciation night. You may run into an extended wait time due to this requirement, so call ahead to find out if you’ll be able to get in.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, some Golden Corral locations offered vouchers and rain checks on Veterans Day to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s indoor dining capacity limit recommendations.

However, Golden Corral won’t offer rain checks or vouchers in 2023, according to its website. The Military Appreciation Night offer is only valid on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023.


How Golden Corral Supports the Military

In 2019, Golden Corral provided over 300,000 free meals to veterans and service members, according to its website. It has provided more than six million meals since it began celebrating Military Appreciation Night over 20 years ago.

Guests and restaurants combined to contribute over $1.3 million to support local initiatives for veterans in 2019. Over the last two decades, Golden Corral and its customers have contributed over $16 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization.

More Veterans Day Discounts and Offers

More restaurants offering free meals on Veterans Day include Applebee’s, Bob Evans, Chili’s, Little Caesar’s, McCormick & Schmick’s, Red Robin, Ruby Tuesday and Texas Roadhouse.

Here’s this year’s list of restaurants offering free meals on Veterans Day! We’ve also rounded up these 2023 Veterans Day retail discounts and Veterans Day activities, events and attractions.

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  1. Mary Lee says

    I our golden corals are closed for good in Florence ky area what can we do with our cards since we can’t get too any of the others out of state we got these before we closed I need a reply soon thank you

  2. John C. Davis says

    You should know, there are some locations (at least two in Texas and probably more across the nation) that are not honoring this. I tried today in Conroe, Texas, to pick up my card for a free meal later on, but the manager there said he handed out all the cards on Veterans Day and had no intention of honoring this for the whole month. Very misleading.

    • Ryan Guina says

      John, I can understand your frustration. However, I can also understand each store setting limitations on the offer. The website announced there would be a limited number of cards for each location and they would be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. This seems to me like a reasonable approach. Otherwise, there are some veterans (or people posing as veterans) who might take advantage of this, and try to get multiple cards throughout the month.

  3. Dara says

    My husband and I went to Golden Corral to eat on 1/3/2020 and any other time he always received his veterans discount but today he was told they don’t give that anymore it’s only for active duty as my husband sat and ate his food he felt more and more like he was worthless like he did his duty he didn’t matter anymore I just don’t understand

  4. TJ Fackler says

    Golden Corral Rapid City is the only Golden Corral that I’ve been to that does NOT offer s military discount daily.

  5. Bob cerino says

    I have been going to my local golden corral for a few years get there early line has an acceptable waiting time 5 to 10 minutes the only thing I don’t like is the missuse of this much appreciated event. Never was asked for any id some people take advantage of any free offers and think they are entitled to it

  6. Kimberly Howard says

    I happened to be at Golden Corral today and enjoyed seeing the veterans. There were some young ROTC there to help servers and patrons [one refilled my Pepsi for me], DAV were set up in the front lobby, doors were held open by volunteer vets and of course you could still donate to Camp Corral, a camp for children of military families. I am not a vet but my son is an NCO and my heart swells with love for vets. While all were enjoying their meal, I saw many greeting either old friends or perhaps reading the medals that some sported and shaking their hand. When I left, I noticed that there was a line outside but an employee had come out with the stickers for vets to facilitate the process. As a regular, non-veteran customer, I thoroughly enjoyed the event.

  7. Jack says

    As has been mentioned before, the Vietnam Vet is a special person. We were not even acknowledged when when we came home to our loved ones, {for those who did come home}.. Anybody that has a problem with the way this company or any other shows its respect and gratitude to the veterans, deserves all the koodos possible and if you want to complain, then find someone who will listen because it seems nobody likes a cry baby or a winer. GET A LIFE….

  8. dana goins says

    I am a Vietnam Vet, 68 years young, and at my age a person appreciates anything that is done for them because we sure didn’t receive any thanks when we came home as we all know. And even though theVietnam War has long been over with, for us vets who served there, we appreciate any type of “Thanks” we receive whether it is a hand shake, a thank you or a free meal. So those that complain, I realize they have that right, as that is what we fought for, but don’t spoil it for those that do appreciate what Golden Corral does along with the other businesses and what they do. After all, they are not required to do anything. Look at how many restaurants (McDonalds, Burger King, etc., who does nothing!!!! And if you think you can get better food at Dennys (LoL), then all I can say is “have at it.” There is nobody holding a gun to your head and forcing you to do anything. But then again, some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope!!!! It’s in their DNA.

  9. Jim Marsh says

    I take my sons with me each year for this meal. They love talking with the other veterans and their experiences. It is a great way to interact with other veterans and my kids really get a kick out of it. My kids ages are 20 and 14.

  10. Peter says

    I just read a comment by ROSE who spoke of being a veteran and how many do not believe her.

    I just wish to say that as there are women that could handle the rigors of training and mentally competent to put themselves in harms way…And then there are many who cannot handle these rigors no matter how hard they try…BUT this same principle applies to many MEN as well.

    So THUS bringing the conclusion that all WOMEN who have the USA in there hearts and are willing to fight for their USA if it means dying…THEY ARE DESERVING OF EQUAL RESPECT!! God bless you all!

  11. Peter says

    I am a Vietnam era vet. Though I never got to Vietnam, I have been told by Nam vets they THANK GOD I was not there.

    The fact that sooo many had been there intensifies my respect for them so much more and for all vets regardless of war and/or branch of military they were in.

    To Golden Corral, I thank you for all the work and love that goes into bringing about these events and the respect you all have in order to make these events very successful. God Bless to your company and to ALL VETS AND ACTIVE DUTY!

  12. Butch Burgoon says

    I’m a Vietnam veteran 68-69 101st Airborne and retired Army … I don’t care how long I have to wait in line to eat a free meal … Golden Corral has been feeding Veterans for years and I appreciate it !!!

  13. Tony Berke says

    As a VietNam vet who tried to attend the thank you meal at my local Easley, SC Golden Coral, let me just say that I believe it would be a great idea if military ID WAS indeed required, as this would shorten the line and clear out the parking lot considerably to allow disabled vets access to this benefit. Do I think a lot of people are abusing this privilege? I don’t know, but would not be surprised, as I’ve run into many people claiming to be be vets who most certainly were not.

  14. Dave says

    It’s about vets not police (although many police are vets). The military has always been celebrated as defending the entire country and we haven’t really seen negative issues regarding military in the same way we have with increasing police violence. Iow, it’s easier to overwhelmingly support the military than it is for people to provide unwavering police support (given recent police incidents…)

    Semper Fi to all Marines and thanks to all veterans.

  15. rose says

    I served my Country at the end of the Vietnam War and was very proud to do it. However I get asked almost in disbelief are you a Veteran which I proceed to show my Veteran card. Is it that hard to accept that women will be there also because they are proud of there fellow Brothers. Please say Thank you Ma’am for your Service as well as Thank you Sir for your Service.

  16. John Doe says

    With long lines anywhere I tend to sweat and anxiety kicks in. Those who do not have this issue should enjoy the free meal. I for one tend to get wreck less at a line anywhere.

    OEF 2010 Afghanistan
    John Doe

  17. Pamela Wharton says

    This is so messed up. The Veterans Day is for the many men at women that put their lives on the line for this country. It is their day to be “Thanked”. Here I sit looking at all the veterans that came with their families and it is like this country has forgotten them. Every year Golden Corral does this great deed to honored the veterans. Now this year they decided not to do it on veterans day but to do it on the 17th instead and not even the staff can tell me why.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Pamela, Golden Corral has traditionally honored veterans on the Monday following Veterans Day – they’ve been doing it for years. One of the main reasons they do this is so Veterans can receive a free meal on two days. Golden Corral also donates millions of dollars to military and veterans charities. Overall, they do a very good job of honoring and supporting the military and veteran community. The good news is there is still time to visit another restaurant if there are any in your area. And of course, you can always visit Golden Corral next Monday. I hope this is helpful.

      Thanks for your service!

  18. barbarajo99 says

    Thank you so much and God Bless that you are honoring the Veteran’s . My husband served in the Korean War ( The Forgotten War) .. Michael was Airborne 82 than became the 101 st. I Just wish this generation and the last could feel the need to serve their county.

    Because of our Veteran’s who put County First we can enjoy our Blessing’s of a Republic for the People.

    All Our Soldier’s , Women and Men have make it possible by putting County First, Before their Families and Friends to have a future….. Remember the United States is a Young Nation…… God Bless Our Veteran’s THANK YOU :0)

  19. Mike Macey says

    Thank you for honoring veterans every year. I learned how to “hurry up and wait” in the Army and many of those waits were in line. At 68, I can still follow orders! It would be great if local golf courses would bring over a golf cart to move veterans and wives with limited mobility from their cars to the front door. I know others waiting in line will make way for our brothers and sisters.

  20. Marcia says

    Thank you for remembering and appreciating my husband and all the Vets before, during and after him. I am proud to be a Ret Navy Wife.

  21. Ken says

    If you want free food and don’t mind the wait then you should check it out. It’s a great opportunity to get some free food and hang out with other vets, but for the sake of God… Don’t believe that they are doing this because they care about you. A lot of companies “care” about veterans because it sounds great, looks great, and gives you repeat business from veterans, their families, and all those that support the United States military and the sacrifice they have made. Don’t get me wrong because I’m not trying to say anything rude towards those who have served, but please remember that if people cared as much about veterans as they did about…oh…say.. Cops. Then I’m sure they would have a big day honoring police officers with a free dinner and it would be announced on both the news and radio weeks in advance.

    • dan says

      i would like to say I admire what the police and firemen do but the day is meant to honor veterans not the police and firemen if they want a day I’m sure that nobody would complain about those organization petitioning for their own day at a restaurant. But keep the days separate. No disrespect intended. its our day thank you

    • oly oleson says

      I suppose you are one of those that kneel during the National Anthem. Its obvious you did not serve in the military, that has kept this country safe. I also have great respect for the Police and Firemen, BUT— this day belongs to our VETS. If you feel that strong about the Police and Firemen, why don’t YOU get something going for them also, that way they can have their Special Day and maybe you can become Happy again. I do know that you probably stand alone with your “ugly thoughts” Be Happy—-We are thrilled that our family made it home safe from war.

  22. Sharon Johnson says

    To the gentleman complaining about the long lines and the wait. Enjoy yourself and stay home. We have enjoyed these various offers for several years. We love the lines and the wait. We love the opportunity to meet and visit new people who have shared many of the same experiences that we have. We are very thankful for the business’ that appreciate our vets, what they have done for our country and are willing to show their appreciation in this great way. We feel honored that they are willing to donate their service and money in this way.

  23. Andrew says

    To the gentleman who complains about the long lines at the veterans appreciation meals…they don’t have to do it yet they spend lots and lots of money to give us vets a meal to show their gratitude for our service to country. You should show alittle more appreciation to the businesses that honor us. I for one feel honored that my service in the Navy did not go unnoticed by these great people and sponsors including the great jobs that the BSA and the GSA do. I am honored and I say thank you to all the sponsoring restaurants.

  24. J. L. Hickman says

    I’m a Vietnam Veteran, retired after twenty years service, and we will not be visiting our local Golden Corral. Why? Because it’s extremely difficult to find parking and wait through the interminable line. I’d just as soon visit a Dennies where we won’t have to wait 1-2 hours just to be seated, even if we do pay full price for our meals.

    • Dave says

      Comment for J.L. Hickman and others fearing the long wait. Anytime something is offered for free, there will always be long waits, but this offering of appreciation from Golden Corral is more than just a free meal. It’s a time to socialize with other Vets (present and past) in support of this day in which we served for the freedom of this great nation. I suppose if you don’t have the time to wait, then this is your decision or you can wait in the lines and start a conversation in rememberance of the times spent serving your country. you might just meet a new friend to share lifes journey.

    • B says

      They usually have a VA rep there to ensure all benefits are being received and such as well as usually people who know/knew each other are in abundance. So it tends to alleviate the waiting sensation.

    • Andrea Morgan says

      My Vietnam veteran husband loves the long wait in line at Golden Corral for the free yearly dinner. He suffers from PTSD and rarely goes out for entertainment so this a chance for him to socialize with people with whom he has something in common. Usually a waitress comes out to the line with fresh made cookies and drinks for the line. It is just like a party and everyone waiting is very friendly and patient. These people are thrilled to be so appreciated by Golden Corral.

    • Deborah Arnold says

      I’m so sorry. You sound angry at having to wait in a line for people who want to thank you for your service by inviting you to Supper. I would think with 20yrs of service you would have mastered the art of Hurry Up And Wait. I am surprised every year when I hear of any place offering a free anything for Veterans. I am happy and greatful each and every year for their thoughtfulness. Enjoy your meal, wherever you choose to go.

    • Karen Newlander says

      For the people that have a problem with the long lines for a free meal, you are fortunate to live in a Country that gives you choices. You are certainly welcome to go to another restaurant for your meal. I am grateful for the freedom and liberties that we all have due to the wonderful servicemen and women that have stepped forward and served our Country to keep us all safe and free. A free meal is a token of respect and gratitude that these thoughtful restaurant chains extend to our honorable military and veterans. A long line or wait signifies the unequivocal commitment and dedication that beats in the heart of every military veteran. God Bless all of you.

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