Top 10

Some of the top 10 dining deals of 2011

Some of the top 10 dining deals of 2011

EatDrinkDeals Names Top 10 Dining Deals of 2011

 

 By GM Arnold, EatDrinkDeals Senior Editor

EatDrinkDeals has released its annual list of the Top 10 Dining Deals, naming Outback Steakhouse and their million-steak giveaway as the number one dining deal of 2011.

Although 2011 was a great year for dining deals, the staff of EatDrinkDeals had no trouble picking Outback’s one million steak giveaway as EatDrinkDeals’   Number One Dining Deal of 2011.

In August, 2011,  Outback announced the “Great Aussie Steakout” where they promised to give away a free steak dinner to the first million customers to sign up.   The steakhouse chain followed up by sending out coupons for free steak dinners to one million customers.  The coupon was good for a six-ounce sirloin and choice of a side dish.  This was Outback’s way of promoting their new wood-fired grill menu.
In addition to Outback’s winning deal, 2011 brought continued bargains from the fast food places and casual dining chains,  with dollar menus from all the top burger chains,  happy hour bargains at the finest dining establishments, and BOGOs and free entrees at many casual chains.    Here is our complete list of the Top 10 Dining Deals of 2011.
  1. Million Steak Giveaway.   One million free steaks at Outback?  No contest!  Outback wins our award for the best EatDrinkDeal of 2011.  EatDrinkDeals covered this in our August 2011 story, Outback Million Steak Giveway.
  2. Million Pizza Giveway. Papa John’s was runner-up with their own one million giveaway.  The No. 3  pizza chain (behind Pizza Hut and Domino’s) gave out 60,000 pizzas a week during the NFL season, with a total of one million being given away.  Details in our story, One Million Free Pizzas.
  3. $2 Subs at Subway.   The world’s largest fast food establishment kept a hold on their Number 1 position with $5 Footlong promotions during much of the year and then doubled down with $2 subs for December.  Subway declared December, 2011, as Customer Appreciation Month, and Subway offered two of their most popular subs on sale for just $2.  Details in our story, $2 Subs at Subway.
  4. Dining Deals for Veterans.  Millions of veterans were treated on Veterans Day (Nov. 11, 2011) with free entrees or other deals at many chain restaurants.  Applebee’s, Golden Corral,  Chili’s, McCormick & Schmick’s, and Olive Garden in particular deserve recognition for free entrees for vets.  What a great way to honor our vets, with a welcoming atmosphere and a free entree.  Details in our story, Restaurant Deals for Veterans Day 2011.
  5. Red Robin’s $6.99 Specials.  On several occasions in 2011 Red Robin offered one of their gourmet burger meals for just $6.99.  Usual price is about $9.  The most recent example, now expired, was the $6.99 Oktoberfest Burger.  These deals usually last a month; you’ll have to watch the EatDrinkDeals website or the Red Robin page for the next deal.  Our next 5 Top 10 Deals are repeat winners from 2010, which continued to be great deals in 2011.  Here they are:
  6. Upscale Happy Hours.  Get Oysters Rockefeller for $4.95 (McCormick & Schmick’s), Prime Burger for $6 (Fleming’s), Crab Cakes for $4.50 (The Palm),  Filet Mignon Sandwich for $7 (Morton’s), and dozens of other deals.  Complete details in our story, Best Happy Hours of 2011.
  7. Restaurant gift card bonuses.  Most of the major restaurant chains gave gift card discounts for the 2011 holidays, like this one from Ruby Tuesday: buy a $50 gift card, get a $15  bonus card.  All the details are in our annual roundup.
  8. Restaurant Week.  This annual event at many major cities allows you to visit the finest restaurants for a special price, usually around $20 for lunch or $30 for dinner.  2012 looks to be an even bigger year for Restaurant Week.  EatDrinkDeals has links to 70+ restaurant week events across the country in our story, Restaurant Week 2012.
  9. Two for $20 dinners.  Two respectable meals for $20 was a popular deal in 2010 and continued in 2011 at Applebee’s, Chili’s, Lone Star, and other places.  It’s hard to pick the best of the lot.  See the deals for yourself at these links:
  10. Rounding out the top 10 was this sweet deal: Free Donuts for National Donut Day.  This comes on the first Friday of June each year.   Donut Day was created to honor the Salvation Army, which served countless donuts to soldiers in wartime.  In 2011 the two biggest chains, Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme,  gave out a free donut to customers.

Other notable dining out deals during the year, in no particular order, were:

  • Red Lobster’s Seafood Celebrations.  The seafood chain had great deals at its LobsterFest, Shrimpfest, Crabfest, and other events throughout the year.
  • Denny’s Value Menu. Get $2 pancakes, $4 Fried Cheese Melt platter, $6 Nacho Salad, $8 Fried Shrimp platter, and more choices.
  • Endless lunch deals (free refills) were offered on special occasions at Olive Garden, IHOP, Red Lobster, On the Border, and other places.
  • BOGO at Maggiano’s.  Buy one pasta dinner, get one to take home.

That’s it for 2011.  Here’s hoping that 2012 brings even better Eat Drink Deals.

For a look at last year’s top 10 list, see our Top 1o Deals of 2010.

Also, see our list of the Best Happy Hours of 2011.

About EatDrinkDeals

EatDrinkDeals is the nation’s leading news website for discount dining information.  It accepts no advertising.  Every article is checked and verified by a staff member before it is posted.

Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, EatDrinkDeals covers national chains and provides restaurant coupons, coupon codes, and general information on how to get the best dining deals. EatDrinkDeals was founded in 2006 and is privately owned.

EatDrinkDeals was featured by Consumer Reports in October, 2010 and January, 2012.  EatDrinkDeals has also been featured in  Real Simple Magazine  and other consumer publications.

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GM Arnold (Senior Editor), eatdrinkdeals@gmail.com

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