There’s nothing better than the words “free food” to hungry college students, and this guide will help you save your money for those expensive college textbooks (and buying even more food).
Free Food Events
There are constantly new restaurants opening up in Westwood. They are eager for business and generally offer coupons and special deals. Sometimes they even give out free food – for example, Cava Grill recently provided free meals on their opening day. As well as restaurant openings, there are a lot of on-campus/on-the-hill events that give out free food. Keep your eyes peeled for event postings on Facebook or on the residential life event calendars for your dorm building.
Also, in case you didn’t know, Chipotle is currently offering free chips and guac if you play their Guac Hunter game between March 21st and March 31st.
E-mail/Birthday Rewards Programs
Happy birthday to you, here is some free food (if you sign up with your e-mail). There are a lot of places around UCLA that offer e-mail/birthday rewards programs (which give you free food or coupons), so here is a list of some of the nearest ones.
- Sprinkles Cupcakes: Get a free cupcake upon registering for Sprinkles Perks, and you also get a free cupcake on your birthday.
- Corner Bakery Cafe: Free cookie for signing up for the Corner Bakery eCafe.
- Panera Bread: Get a free pastry or sweet welcome reward for signing up for MyPanera.
- Jersey Mike’s: Free sub and drink for your birthday if you join their e-mail club.
- Denny’s: You get a free Grand Slam breakfast with no purchase necessary on your birthday if you show your ID.
- IHOP: You get a free full stack of pancakes for signing up and every year on your birthday and the anniversary that you signed up.
- Yogurtland: Free 3-oz. of frozen yogurt for registering and free 3-oz. on your birthday with Yogurtland Real Rewards (and they’ll send you an e-mail around February to remind you about Free Yogurt Day).
- Rubio’s: Join their Beach Club and get a free taco for signing up and a free meal up to $7.00 during your birthday month.
- Jamba Juice: $3 off your next purchase for joining Jamba Insider Rewards, and also get a free small birthday smoothie or juice.
- Steak N’ Shake: Join their e-club and get a free double cheeseburger (steakburger with cheese) and fries on your birthday.
- Ben & Jerry’s: Become a Chunk Spelunker and get free ice cream on your birthday (at the bottom of the website underneath “Online,” choose “Sign up for our newsletter” in the drop-down menu).
- Starbucks: Free birthday drink or treat if you are signed up for Starbucks Rewards.
- BJ’s: Free mini pizookie or handcrafted soda for new members who register for BJ’s Premier Rewards. Also, they give you a free mini pizookie on your birthday.
- Yoshinoya: Free regular bowl with the purchase of a drink if you join the Bowler Club.
- Noah’s Bagels: If you sign up for their e-club, you can get a free bagel + shmear (with purchase) when you register and a free egg sandwich on your birthday (with purchase).
Playfull is an app created by UCLA students for UCLA students (or anyone who lives in Westwood). You play mini games to earn points, which you can trade for special food deals at certain restaurants in Westwood. Lately, they’ve been offering free food deals at Denny’s, Koala T Cafe, and Garlo’s Aussie Pie Shop. The app is currently available for iOS and Android.
There are also multiple food delivery apps like Postmates that occasionally give out codes for free credit/food, and people usually post about them on the UCLA Free & For Sale groups on Facebook.
Free Food Holidays
Many businesses have annual free food events on days that have been deemed special food holidays. Thrillist has a convenient free food holiday calendar so that you’ll always know when and where to go every month.
The next upcoming free food holiday is Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, so don’t forget to drop by your nearest Ben and Jerry’s (the closest one to UCLA is at Santa Monica) on April 12th from 12PM-8PM for a free scoop of ice cream.
Check your receipts because some restaurants offer free food if you complete their surveys. Subway will give you a free cookie if you complete a customer satisfaction survey, using the number on your receipt.
Don’t forget your loyalty and stamp cards because you can easily rack up the points/stamps if they are places that you visit frequently. Coco gives you a free drink with every 10 stamps, and you can get one free Honeymee ice cream up to $4.75 after the 10th stamp.
There is a plethora of free food available at your fingertips, and all you have to do is go and claim it. Good luck food hunting, and may your stomach be happy. In addition to free food, here is a list of multiple eateries in Westwood that offer student discounts if you show your Bruincard to help you save even more change. And if you want some more basic tips on how to score free food on campus, click here.