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Restaurants seize tax-day promotions

Chains are using tax day as an opportunity to drive traffic with special deals and promotions

Move over, Valentine’s Day, July 4th and Halloween: The deadline for Americans to pay their taxes is emerging as another opportunity for restaurants to drive traffic with themed deals and promotions.

Restaurants and chains across the country are attempting to tap into the annual tax ritual by offering promotions tied to the Internal Revenue Service filing deadline, which this year falls on April 17.

Some chains, like RA Sushi, a brand operated by Benihana Inc., are extending their happy hour deals on Tuesday.

RA Sushi’s happy hour will run from 3 p.m. to closing at its 25 locations across the country, offering guests sushi, appetizers and tapas for $2 to $7, as well as drink specials. Typically, happy hour ends at 7 p.m.

McCormick & Schmick’s restaurants are extending their happy hour from 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday, featuring drinks like “The Rummy Refund,” “The Bloody Mary Tax Code” and “The Uncle Sam.”

Others, like Sonic Drive-In, are offering happy hour deals all day Tuesday. Sonic is inviting customers to “take their first deductions of the year” with half-priced fountain drinks and slushes throughout the day. Customers can create customized drink blends from an estimated 398,929 possible combinations at more than 3,500 locations across the country.

Watch a commercial for Sonic’s happy hour beverage deals; story continues below

“People work hard to get their taxes filed and Sonic’s Happy Hour All Day on tax day is a great way to reward our hard-working customers at the conclusion of tax season,” said James O’Reilly, Sonic’s chief marketing officer. “Tax day is a unique time to experiment with flavor possibilities and find the perfect drink.”

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Here are some examples of other discounts and freebies to entice weary taxpayers across the country:

Chili’s Grill & Bar locations are offering coupon-carrying guests a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of an adult entrée Monday through Wednesday. The coupons are available to the chain’s Email Club members, Facebook fans and Twitter followers, and can be printed or displayed on a smart phone.

• Starting Friday through Tuesday, Bruegger’s Bakery Café is offering a Big Bagel Bundle for $10.40, a reference to the 1040 tax form. The bundle includes 13 bagels and two tubs of cream cheese, which amounts to savings of between $4 and $5, depending on location. Guests must bring a coupon available on Bruegger’s Facebook page.

Arby’s is giving away a free order curly fries on Tuesday. The chain will also give away $5,000 in “tax relief.” Guests must bring a coupon available on Arby’s Facebook page.

• Friday through Tuesday Chevys Fresh Mex is running a “Taste of Tax Relief Weekend” by offering various specials. On April 13, guests with a Facebook coupon will receive a free order of chicken taquitos. Throughout the weekend, the chain will be offering “Tequila is Better Than Taxes” margaritas, with two for $10.40, including the chain’s new Herradura versions with various infused flavors. And on Tuesday, Chevys will pay the tax on all meals.

Panda Express on Tuesday will give a free serving of its new Shanghai Angus Steak entrée to guests with a Facebook coupon at participating locations. The dish includes wok-seared marinated steak with fresh asparagus, grilled mushrooms and onions in an Asian steak sauce.

Seattle’s Best Coffee is offering the “Great American Coffee Refund,” which includes a free cup small cup of brewed coffee at coffeehouse locations on Tuesday. Guests that like the brand on Facebook can also win a free sample of coffee for home brewing.

Watch Seattle’s Best Coffee’s Great American Coffee Refund commercial; story continues below

Marble Slab Creamery and MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream and Treatery are offering free scoops of their new yogurt flavors from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at participating stores on Tuesday. The “yo-bate” includes lemon crème, birthday cake and forest berry flavors. The stores are also raising money for Boys & Girls Clubs of America this month, and customers who donate $1 on tax day will get their names posted in the store for the rest of the month.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro will offer a 15-percent discount on all meals Tuesday — except happy hour food and beverages.

White Castle is also offering a coupon for 15-percent off that guests can use Friday through Tuesday.

Cinnabon will give away two free Cinna Bites mini cinnamon rolls from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

Boston Market is offering a coupon for a free meal with the purchase of another meal and fountain drink on Tuesday.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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