Never pay for your child's restaurant meal again...

About a week ago, I took my family out for one of those impromptu, unplanned dinners out, and immediately, I was both glad and frustrated at myself. It's fun to go to a restaurant, which is why I was happy with this dining decision, but with two daughters, 4 and 6, my wallet is still occasionally in shock when it sees what it costs to pay for a family of four to dine out.

Anyway, we wound up at IHOP, the International House of Pancakes, which somehow we had never visited before despite it being one of those chains that are kind of everywhere; and when the bill came to my and my wife's surprise, the waitress told us that we had picked an evening to eat when the kids dine free: $9 magically had been subtracted from the bill.

What a great country, I thought.
The same thing happened at a Denny's when we were on a recent summer vacation, and so I thought I'd knock out a little handy-dandy guide of some of the restaurants out there that offer "kids eat free" menus. And then as I started going through the Internet, planning on crafting my little guide, I learned that a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs have already beaten me to it. There are several web sites that tell the public what restaurants offer "kids eat free" meals. I'll assume that there may be some guidelines. Like, they kind of expect to adults to eat, and I can guess that there may be parameters if two parents and 12 kids marched into a restaurant.

But if you're thinking of dining out soon and looking to cut your restaurant budget, you might want to consider visiting some of these web sites...
Although I suspect Fridays and Saturdays are harder nights to come by when looking for these deals, if you wanted to, your kids could theoretically eat out for free every night. But as a former waiter during my college days, just a friendly reminder: Even when your children eat for free, you really should pretend that they ate for full price when calculating your server's tip.

Geoff Williams is a freelance journalist, blogger and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).

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