Mark your calendar: Free burritos, free pancakes, and even free babysitting for a child-free parents' dinner are available this weekend and in the near future.
Free Chips & Nutella: February 12
California Tortilla, which has dozens of locations in the Mid-Atlantic region (but none in California or the West), is hosting an early Valentine's special two days before the actual holiday. On Thursday, February 12, with any purchase, customers also get a free order of "Love Chips"—tortilla chips dusted with cinnamon and sugar—with some Nutella for dipping.
Free Burrito: February 14
The Mexican restaurant chain Qdoba has a buy-one-get-one-free smothered burrito deal to celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14, though only once a certain romantic—or perhaps icky—requirement is met. To take advantage of the deal, you must kiss someone at the time the order is placed. Could be your spouse, could be a first date, could be a total stranger, but the rule is: No kiss, no free burrito.
In other news related to public displays of affection being used to get free food, McDonald's announced plans to run its "Pay With Lovin'" promotion, which was popularized during its Super Bowl commercial, in select locations around the country on February 14. If selected, McDonald's customers will be allowed to use "lovin'" in the form of a hug, fist bump, a phone call to mom, or some other demonstration of love, to cover their bill. A representative for McDonald's said that the company anticipates that more than 1 million customers will be asked to "perform an act of lovin’ as payment in restaurants" on Saturday. [UPDATE: An earlier version of this story stated that the "Pay With Lovin'" promotion was only taking place in Pittsburgh, when in fact the promotion is occurring at select McDonald's restaurants all over the country.]
Free Babysitting: February 20
On Friday, February 20, participating Olive Garden restaurants are hosting "Parents Night Out" evenings. Couples can drop children off at partner My Gym locations, where staff will lead kids in games, songs, and gymnastics. After dinner, parents who present a receipt from Olive Garden get their gym deposit refunded.
Free Pancakes: March 3
Tuesday, March 3, 2015, is when the 10th anniversary of IHOP National Pancake Day will be celebrated. As is always the case, IHOP marks the event by giving away one short stack of buttermilk pancakes free of charge to each customer. In lieu of a bill for the pancakes, customers are asked to consider making a donation to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals or another charity.
Free Breakfast, Dessert, Shopping Bag: March 7
IKEA somehow decided that Saturday, March 7, should be BYOF (Bring Your Own Friends) Day. We're not sure what that really means. In any event, there's no need to bring a friend to take advantage of the freebies offered that day: With a printout from the link above, anyone visiting a participating IKEA can get a free breakfast platter with scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and home fries until 11 a.m., a free reusable IKEA blue shopping bag all day long, and a free dessert with each dessert purchased from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.