2020 Veterans Day Participation Survey

Many organizations support the military community on Veterans Day with free meals, discounts, and other offers. This survey shows the positive impact these offers have on the military community.
Advertising Disclosure.

Advertiser Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone. This article may contain links from our advertisers. For more information, please see our Advertising Policy.

2020 Veterans Day Participation Survey
Table of Contents
  1. 98% of Veterans Use Veterans Day Discounts
  2. 84% of Veterans Bring a Guest With Them When They Eat a Free Meal on Veterans Day
    1. How many guests do veterans bring?
  3. 84% of Veterans Spend As Much More on Veterans Day Than They Normally Would
    1. Why do most veterans spend as much or more on Veterans Day?
  4. 98% of Veterans Have a Good Experience at Veterans Day Events
  5. 85% of Veterans Frequent Locations Year-Round – Not Just on Veterans Day
  6. Most Popular Restaurants Offering Free Meals on Veterans Day
  7. 77% of Veterans Will Participate in a Veterans Day Event This Year
  8. What Can We Learn From This Survey?
  9. Survey Methodology

On Veterans Day, many organizations celebrate the service our nation’s military members have given to our country through the years. These celebrations include ceremonies, events, speeches, and more. Many restaurants and retail organizations also honor our servicemembers by providing them with a free or discounted meal, free car washes or haircuts, or other discounts.

This is a tremendously generous way of saying thanks. But it’s also a great way to bring people together to remember that freedom isn’t free.

These events are also a great way to engender goodwill among the military community. It’s difficult to understand the impact these events have on both the military community and the organizations that provide so much.

We surveyed our readers to better understand:

  • What percentage of them participate in these Veterans Day offers?
  • Do they bring guests or spend more than they normally would?
  • Do they frequent these establishments over the course of the year?

The results were eye-opening and overwhelmingly positive.

We in the military community graciously thank each of the organizations that support the military community. If you run one of these organizations or are on any committees that decide whether or not to offer these Veterans Day deals, we hope the results of this survey show you how impactful these offers are to the military community – and possibly to your organization as well!

98% of Veterans Use Veterans Day Discounts

We asked our readers the following question:

  • How many Veterans Day offers do you partake of each year? (free meals, discounts, or other offers)

A whopping 98% of our readers indicated they take advantage or at least one offer each year, while 78% take advantage of at least 2 or more offers.

Veterans Day Survey - How many offers do you use each year?
Source: TheMilitaryWallet.com, 2020

How many offers our readers participate in each year:

  • 0 offers: 2.0%
  • 1 offer: 20.7%
  • 2 offers: 33.2%
  • 3 offers: 21.8%
  • 4 offers: 7.4%
  • 5+ offers: 14.9%

84% of Veterans Bring a Guest With Them When They Eat a Free Meal on Veterans Day

Over 80% of our readers bring at least one guest with them for free meal offers. And one third of our readers bring at least two or more guests with them.

Veterans Day Bring Guest for Free Meal Offers
Source: TheMilitaryWallet.com, 2020

How many guests do veterans bring?

Veterans Day Survey - How many guests do veterans bring to Free Veterans Day meals?
Source: TheMilitaryWallet.com, 2020

How many guests do they bring?

  • 0 Guests – 14.0%
  • 1 Guest – 53.2%
  • 2 Guests – 19.6%
  • 3 Guests – 7.4%
  • 4 Guests – 5.9%

84% of Veterans Spend As Much More on Veterans Day Than They Normally Would

The majority of veterans (84%) spend as much, or more, than they normally would when they are attending a restaurant offering a free meal on Veterans Day.

How much do veterans spend on Veterans Day?
Source: TheMilitaryWallet.com, 2020
  • 52% of Veterans Spend More When They Eat at a Restaurant on Veterans Day
  • 31% spend about the same.
  • Only 16% spend less than they normally would.

Why do most veterans spend as much or more on Veterans Day?

Veterans Day is a day to celebrate. And going out for a free meal often means bringing family, friends, or fellow veterans. This is a great opportunity to live it up and order an appetizer, dessert, or several drinks to go with your meal. Many veterans also take the opportunity to tip the waitstaff on the full price of the meal (or larger).

98% of Veterans Have a Good Experience at Veterans Day Events

The vast majority of veterans have a very positive experience when attending Veterans Day events or receiving a discount or other Veterans Day offer. These experiences help the veteran and their families remember these organizations fondly – and as you’ll see, many veterans frequent these establishments throughout the year.

Veterans Day Survey - Good Times
Source: TheMilitaryWallet.com, 2020

85% of Veterans Frequent Locations Year-Round – Not Just on Veterans Day

The military community, by and large, is a very loyal and dependable community. 85.4% of our readers frequent establishments that offer Veterans Day promotions year-round instead of just on the day of the event. These free meals and discounts are a great way to bring back repeat customers as well as create a new way to create loyal customers that frequent your business year-round.

Veterans Day Survey - How often do you frequent these restaurants?
Source: TheMilitaryWallet.com, 2020

Each year, we list over 100 restaurants that offer free meals on Veterans Day. These range from local establishments with only one or a handful of locations, through the large national chains with locations in every state. As part of the military community, we all want to thank every restaurant that offers the military community discounts or support.

For fun, we asked our readers which restaurants they have visited in the previous five years. Of course, the numbers will be based in part by how many locations a restaurant has, its proximity to military communities, and other factors. But this is a fun bit of information. And again, we in the military community are humbled by the generosity of all organizations that support us, large and small.

Veterans Day Survey - most popular restaurants for free meals
The most popular free meals offered on Veterans Day. Source: TheMilitaryWallet.com, 2020

Of note:

  • Two-thirds of our readers have visited an Applebee’s on Veterans Day within the last 5 years.
  • Roughly one-third or more of our readers have visited Chili’s, Denny’s, Golden Corral, IHOP, Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse, or local establishments in the last 5 years.
  • Again, thank you to all organizations that support the military community!

77% of Veterans Will Participate in a Veterans Day Event This Year

Things are very different this year, with the pandemic putting a damper on many gatherings and celebrations. Even with social distancing keeping many people at bay, only 6.4% of our readers plan to avoid Veterans Day events or offers this year, while 77% have firm plans, and the remaining 16% are undecided.

Veterans Day Survey - will you participate in any events this year.
Source: TheMilitaryWallet.com, 2020

What Can We Learn From This Survey?

Here are the major takeaways from this survey:

  • By and large, most veterans (98%) have a great experience during Veterans Day free meals or from other offers.
  • The military community is very loyal. Over 85% of veterans are return visitors throughout the year.
  • 85% of veterans spend as much or more during Veterans Day offers than they normally would. This includes bringing more guests (84%) and spending more on additional items, such as appetizers, drinks, dessert, or by leaving larger tips.
  • The majority of veterans participate in these events. Even with the issues we are seeing this year, 77.4% have firm plans for celebrating Veterans Day, with another 16.1% considering attending. The U.S. Census Bureau lists over 18 million veterans in the U.S. (not including family members). This is a very large community of loyal customers.

Survey Methodology

We sent out a survey to our newsletter readers; our readers are all members of the military community – including current military members, retirees, veterans, and their family members. There were 2,003 responses to the survey.

As a member of the military community, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to every organization, large and small, that supports our community. Thank you for your support!

Get Instant Access
FREE Weekly Updates! Enter your information to join our mailing list.

About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is The Military Wallet's founder. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over six years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the Illinois Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Featured In: Ryan's writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes, Military.com, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine (print and online editions), Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.

Reader Interactions


    Leave A Comment:


    About the comments on this site:

    These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Bob Joseph says

    I appreciate the time and effort that goes into the all of the “Military Wallet” emails that you send out!
    You keep me up to date on so much veteran related information that I would not hear about from any other source.
    Your emails are always friendly and it’s always nice to hear from a fellow vet!
    Keep the emails coming!
    Thank you,
    Bob J

The Military Wallet is a property of Three Creeks Media. Neither The Military Wallet nor Three Creeks Media are associated with or endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs. The content on The Military Wallet is produced by Three Creeks Media, its partners, affiliates and contractors, any opinions or statements on The Military Wallet should not be attributed to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Dept. of Defense or any governmental entity. If you have questions about Veteran programs offered through or by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, please visit their website at va.gov. The content offered on The Military Wallet is for general informational purposes only and may not be relevant to any consumer’s specific situation, this content should not be construed as legal or financial advice. If you have questions of a specific nature consider consulting a financial professional, accountant or attorney to discuss. References to third-party products, rates and offers may change without notice.

Advertising Notice: The Military Wallet and Three Creeks Media, its parent and affiliate companies, may receive compensation through advertising placements on The Military Wallet; For any rankings or lists on this site, The Military Wallet may receive compensation from the companies being ranked and this compensation may affect how, where and in what order products and companies appear in the rankings and lists. If a ranking or list has a company noted to be a “partner” the indicated company is a corporate affiliate of The Military Wallet. No tables, rankings or lists are fully comprehensive and do not include all companies or available products.

Editorial Disclosure: Editorial content on The Military Wallet may include opinions. Any opinions are those of the author alone, and not those of an advertiser to the site nor of  The Military Wallet.