(USA TODAY) -- You can feed Mom for free all day on Mother's Day. Almost.
In what's becoming a Mother's Day rite of passage for the thin-of-wallet, some of the nation's most familiar restaurant chains — both casual dining and fast-food — once again hope to lure in entire families on Mother's Day by offering mothers everything from free beverages to free desserts to entirely free meals.
The main appeal, of course, isn't so much to Mom, but to those budget-conscious family members who might be taking her out to celebrate. "A free menu item is a small price to pay to drive a hungry family into an establishment at regular prices," notes public relations guru Peter Himler.
Among this year's Mother's Day free food offerings:
• Chocolate-dipped strawberry. McCormick & Schmick's may be best known for its seafood, but on Mother's Day it expects to hand out thousands of free chocolate-dipped strawberries. Every mother who eats there will get one for free.
• Cup 'o tea. In honor of moms, Starbucks will offer a buy-one-get-one free Teavana Oprah Chai Tea Latte while supplies last on Sunday at participating stores in the U.S. and Canada.
• Ice cream cake. This one, from Dairy Queen, has a bit of a twist to it. Any mom who gives birth on Mother's Day, May 11, gets a free Dairy Queen ice cream cake. Lucky moms must e-mail a copy of the baby's birth certificate to receive the free cake.
• Strawberry pie. Moms who order the Mother's Day buffet at Shoney's also get a free slice of Shoney's Strawberry Pie.
• Fast-food meal. Take Mom to a participating Boston Market on Mother's Day, and if you purchase one Individual Meal for yourself, Mom gets hers for free. No coupon is required.
• Lasagna. Buy Mom a Spaghetti Warehouse meal on Mother's Day, and she walks out not only with a full stomach, but a coupon for a free slice of the chain's famous 15-layer lasagna on her next visit.
• Casual dining meal. While Hooters may not be every mom's first choice on Mother's Day, it's trying to lure folks with one of the best deals. Moms get a free entree — up to $10 in value — as long as they purchase a drink. Chicken wings, for Mom, on Mother's Day? Well, says, Andrew Pudduck, vice president of marketing, "it's about time to skip the tea sandwiches and doilies."
Fast food fun. During breakfast hours McDonald's is offering moms a free breakfast sandwich or entree along with their choice of a small orange juice, coffee or soft drink.
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