Simple gestures go a long way, especially when you’re saying thank you for something invaluable.
Shoney’s, the diner chain with locations around the Southeast, takes a simple approach to thanking veterans and military members for their service.
Rather than offering a special menu or giving you a free appetizer on a holiday, participating Shoney’s locations will simply knock 15 percent off your check any day of the year. This discount is also available to first-responders, including police, firefighters, and EMTs (with ID).
Order what you want — something from the menu, the breakfast or all-day buffet, a hot-fudge cake for dessert — and you’ll pay 15 percent less at the register all day, every day, and not just on Veterans Day or Memorial Day.
What’s On the Menu at Shoney’s?
At its height in the late 1990s, Shoney’s had 1,300 locations around the country. Since then, the Nashville, Tennessee-based chain has retreated closer to its West Virginia roots with about 150 locations in 17 states, mostly in the South.
The remaining locations continue to serve their communities well and are favorite breakfast and lunch spots for people who like Shoney’s buffet-style All-You-Care-To-Eat specials:
- All-You-Care-To-Eat Family Favorites on Monday
- Steak Night on Tuesday
- Endless Breakfast for Dinner on Wednesday
- All-You-Care-To-Eat Ribs Night on Thursday
- Endless Seafood on Friday
- Endless Seafood and Steak on Saturday
- All-You-Care-To-Eat Southern-Style Favorites on Sunday.
Shoney’s breakfast menu is another draw for customers. Most stores open at 6 am and have a full breakfast waiting when customers arrive.
Breakfast features include:
- All-Star Breakfast which includes about everything
- Shoney’s Steak Breakfast
- Pancake Breakfast (all you can eat)
- Signature Slim Jim Omelet
- Create Your Own Omelet, a three-egg omelet with your choice of cheese and toppings.
And anyone who’s ever been to a Shoney’s has probably been tempted by the chain’s hot-fudge cake for dessert.
How to Claim Your Military Discount at Shoney’s
Veterans can prove their status in several different ways, a few of which are below:
- With a U.S. Uniformed Forces Retired ID
- Veterans ID Card or VA Health Care Card
- With a Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)
- With your DD214 discharge form.
Other forms of veteran or armed services identification should work too, including state-issued drivers licenses or ID cards with a Veterans stamp or membership cards from veterans service organizations such as Veterans of Foreign Wars or the American Legion.
Other first responders may be eligible as well, with ID. Check with your local Shoney’s for more information.
2020 Shoney’s Veterans Day Free Meal
This year, Shoney’s is offering current and former military members a free breakfast from the fresh food bar until 11 a.m. on November 11th. You can find more info here.
Make Sure Your Location is On Board
It’s always a good idea to call ahead to make sure a restaurant participates in a special discount, and to make sure your form of ID will suffice.
It’s even more important to call before arriving at a Shoney’s location because many restaurants are locally owned and operated, which means managers have the freedom to opt in or out of any regional or national promotion.
This can be good or bad. It’s possible your closest location does not participate, but some Shoney’s locations may offer more than a 15 percent discount.
Independently owned franchises may also have Veterans Day-specific specials such as free entrees, especially in communities with military bases.
Without checking in first it’s impossible to know for sure what your local Shoney’s may offer. Some local Shoney’s also offer discounts to first responders, police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians.
Shoney’s: Seven Decades and Still Going
In 1947, as highway construction and car ownership soared, Alex Schoenbaum opened the doors of the Parkette Drive-In in Charleston, W.Va.
The restaurant drew crowds. It expanded. Through a series of business deals, it merged with the existing Big Boy chain of restaurants in West Virginia and eventually developed the name Shoney’s.
The “Big Boy” mascot survived into the 1980s as Shoney’s expanded around the nation, as did two menu favorites, the All-American and Big Boy burgers. The All-American burger was always served with an American flag.
The chain developed a fuller menu as the decades passed and started to specialize in breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets for hotel guests and other travelers.
Though smaller than in previous decades, the current chain of Shoney’s restaurants draws auto travelers alongside busy Interstates connecting Maryland, Ohio, Texas, and Florida.
A National Trend: Food as Thanks
We all know how to say thanks for our food, and veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces know as much as anyone the value of a hearty meal.
It makes perfect sense that more and more restaurants have switched things around and now offer free or discounted food to vets and military members as a way of saying thanks for their service on Veterans Day.
We enjoy a lot of freedom as Americans, including the freedom to go out and have dinner together. Eating out is part of our culture. It’s something we do on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
This Veterans Day, active duty military members as well as veterans have a lot of options for free or discounted food at some of our nation’s leading restaurants.
So if there’s not a Shoney’s in your area, you can find another establishment to welcome you and say thanks for sacrificing in order to protect our freedom and way of life.
If you do have a Shoney’s nearby, check-in before arriving to make sure it will honor your service with a 15 percent discount or some other promotion.