Applebee's, Chili's, Outback conduct Veterans Day promotions

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A number of restaurant chains are offering freebies and rewards to veterans and active duty military personnel as a Veterans Day thank you and show of support. Applebee's, Chili's and Outback Steakhouse promoted November 11 specials through social media, online ads and TV spots.

Applebee's is giving a free entrée to military members and veterans from a special Veterans Day menu. The restaurant ran a national TV commercial featuring members of the US Armed Forces returning to their families, and promoted the offer on Applebees.com. The chain also connected the campaign to social media by encouraging consumers to spread the word through Twitter and Facebook and to “Invite a Veteran” via e-mail. Applebee's also encourage consumers to post messages and upload Veterans Day messages to its site.

Chili's is offering current military members and veterans one of six entrees for free, while Friendly's is giving away a free kids' meal with the purchase of an adult entrée. Pizzeria Uno is giving away a free individual pizza to veterans and active-duty military.

“We see it as a way for us to live our company value of ‘genuine hospitality' and reaching out to the community,” said Rick Hendrie, SVP of marketing at Pizzeria Uno. The chain has also sponsored pizza parties at military hospitals and donated pizzas to war zones. “It seems to speak to our guests very powerfully,” he said.

Outback Steakhouse is offering a free Bloomin' Onion and beverage to veterans and current military members. The chain also holds local events and fundraisers for the Armed Forces at its locations throughout the year, as well as sponsored giveaways in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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