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Let’s talk about why Thursday is the best day to get tacos this week.
Oct. 4 is National Taco Day, and national and regional taco chains are marking this taco lovers’ fiesta, also known as Taco Thursday this year, with free tacos or specials.
According to the made-up food holiday’s website, NationalTacoDay.com, last year Americans ate more than 4.5 billion tacos. The site estimates that’s 490,000 miles of tacos and 775 million pounds.
Mexican restaurants and taco joints are expected to be busy Thursday. Punchh, a marketing automation platform, found “a giant revenue peak” in taco sales on National Taco Day last year.
Despite the specials, Thursday won’t be the biggest day of the year for the Mexican dish, according to an analysis from small business software provider Womply.
“Not surprisingly, the best revenue day of the year for taco shops is Cinco de Mayo,” said Brad Plothow, Womply’s vice president of brand and communications.
More: Best October deals: Your guide to this month’s spooky specials and freebies
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More: Taco Bell’s Diablo sauce now comes as a tortilla chip and is available at 7-Eleven
The deals and freebies
Most deals are available at participating locations and while supplies last. Some require an app or coupon. To be on the safe side, check with your closest location to confirm it’s participating.
Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant: Through Oct. 29, the chain is promoting a taco Family Feast. Choose from a taco pack to-go for six people for $21.99 or $41.99 for 12 people.
Bahama Breeze Island Grille: Not a taco deal, but through Thursday, the chain has a deal on its Rum Coke Chicken and Ribs as part of Bahama Breeze’s Rumtoberfest. The event of rum-inspired dishes and cocktails goes through Oct. 28.
Bill Miller Bar-B-Q: Get bean and cheese tacos for 65 cents each Thursday.
Bite Squad: Take $5 off orders $20 or more Thursday at www.bitesquad.com with code TACOTIME.
Bubbakoo’s Burritos: The New Jersey chain has $1 tacos Thursday, limit five per person.
California Tortilla: Buy one taco, get one free Thursday. The Blackened Fish, California Sunset, Korean BBQ and Crunchy BBQ Ranch street tacos are included in this deal and there’s a limit of five free tacos per person.
Chronic Tacos: Get a free taco between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday with a code word, which according to a tweet is “Taco Life.”
Chuy’s: Add a crispy beef taco to any order for $1 Thursday and get $1 off Modelo beers. If you visit the restaurant dressed up as a taco and post a picture on social media with #NationalTacoDay, get a free meal.
Cold Stone Creamery: While not a deal, only on Thursday, Cold Stone will sell Waffle Tacos.
Del Taco: Buy one shredded beef taco, get one free Thursday with a coupon at www.deltaco.com.
El Pollo Loco: Get a free Chicken Taco al Carbon at participating locations Thursday and enter for a chance to win a limited-edition taco shirt that unlocks free tacos for an entire year. Find the coupon and enter at www.elpolloloco.com/tacosforayear.
El Fenix: Get $1 beef or chicken soft or crunchy tacos Thursday. Limit three per guest.
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop: Breakfast and Baja-style are $1 each Thursday. Some exclusions apply.
Green Leaf’s Beyond Great Salads: Get a free Baja Street Taco Thursday at participating locations with a coupon. Sign up for the coupon and join the chain’s EClub at www.greenleafsbananas.com/tacoday.
Jimboy’s Tacos: Get a free Original Ground Beef Taco with the purchase of another Thursday at participating locations in California and Nevada.
Margaritas Mexican Restaurants: Through Oct. 31, order the two pound Taco Gigante for $12.99 and finish it in one sitting win free tacos for the year. Winners get one free beef or chicken taco per week loaded on a Circle of Friends account.
Moe’s Southwest Grill: National Taco Day is a four-day fiesta at the fast-casual chain. From Thursday to Sunday, members of Moe’s Rockin’ Rewards loyalty program, will get one free taco when they purchase two. Download the Moe’s app at www.moes.com/rewards.
On The Border: For $8.99, get unlimited tacos Thursday. Mix and match between the chain’s Seasoned Ground Beef or Chicken Tinga tacos. Through Sunday, get 15 percent off Taco Buffets catering orders $200 or more with promo code TACO18.
PT’s Taverns: Get $1 tacos in either seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken Thursday.
Qdoba: Members of the Qdoba Rewards program get double or triple points depending on what tier of the program they are on. The deal is available online, mobile and in-restaurant orders, but does not apply to catering orders. Sign up at www.qdoba.com/rewards.
Red Robin: For a limited time, get the Taco Tavern Double served with Bottomless Steak Fries for $6.99.
Rubio’s Coastal Grill: Get a free Original Fish Taco with purchase of a beverage and a coupon Thursday at participating locations. Find the coupon at www.rubios.com.
Taco Bell: At participating locations Thursday, the chain has a special “National Taco Day gift set.” For $5, get four tacos including the Crunchy Taco, Fiery, Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos. While supplies last. Also through Nov. 8, Taco Bell is offering first-time app and online order customers 20 percent off an order, up to $10 off. The 20 percent coupon will expire two weeks after signing up. Learn more at www.tacobell.com.
Taco Bueno: Get a free Texas Street Taco with any purchase Thursday.
Taco Cabana: Get a free Shredded Chicken Taco or Ground Beef Taco from 3 p.m. to midnight Thursday with a coupon on the chain’s Facebook and Instagram pages. One per guest, per visit and per transaction at participating locations.
Taco John’s: Through Friday, the chain that trademarked the terms “Taco Tuesday” and “Wake Up Wednesday,” is giving away free crispy beef tacos. To get the freebie each day, you need a coupon only available in the Taco John’s Rewards app. Download the app at www.tacojohns.com/rewards.
Taco Time: Buy a $30 gift card online at www.tacotime.com Thursday and get a $10 bonus. The gift cards aren’t valid for locations in Western Washington.
Taco Time NW (Western Washington): Get one free Crisp Taco Thursday at Taco Time restaurants in Western Washington.
Tijuana Flats: Choose a deal Thursday. Get two tacos, chips and a drink for $5.99 or a burrito or bowl with chips and a drink for the same price. Prices may vary by state.
Torchy’s Tacos: Dine in Thursday for a chance to win a gift card. Five guests at each location Thursday will have a gold paper lined basket, which they can redeem for a gift card.
More deals: Local restaurants and smaller chains will also offer specials for National Taco Day. Check social media accounts for deal announcements.
Kelly Tyko is a consumer columnist and retail reporter for Treasure Coast Newspapers and TCPalm.com, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Read her Bargainista tips at TCPalm.com/Bargainista, follow her on Twitter @KellyTyko and email her at email@example.com. Sign up for her weekly newsletter at www.tcpalm.com/newsletters.