Chick-fil-A offers free food to anyone dressed like a cow

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Provo residents dressed like cows are coming in herds to Chick-fil-A for a free entree today. Chick-fil-A’s annual Cow Appreciation Day celebrates its customers and beloved mascot, the “Eat Mor Chikin” Cows. Only guests who come dressed as cows from 10:45 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. will receive a free entree, and the Chick-fil-A at BYU’s Cougareat will be happily serving the bovine-attired community. 

Customers line up at Chick-fil-A in the BYU Cougareat for Cow Appreciation Day. (Calvin Petersen)

The Cougar Eat’s Chick-fil-A manager said their location is perhaps the least busy when it comes to hungry customers on “Cow Day,” even though they still give away at least 300 free entrees each year to EFY kids, students and visiting families. Many people, the manager said, don’t even realize it’s Cow Appreciation Day until they pass by their location. Several people, she said, run home to change once they see the signs for a free entree while others simply tape napkins to their shirts to represent cow spots.

Because a rush of customers could come at any time on Cow Appreciation Day, the Cougar Eat Chick-fil-A manager said she tells her employees to prepare for anything. Additionally, the staff needs to be ready with the crowd favorites. “Just today,” the manager said, “I looked up everything that we gave away last year to make sure we had enough of that item this year.” She also said that customers will typically upgrade their usual orders to “deluxe” items because they’re free on Cow Appreciation Day. 

To cater to a younger customer base, the BYU location also provides a Photo Opp station with a grassy farm back-drop and signs people can hold saying things like the iconic, “Eat Mor Chikin,” and “We ‘heart’ Chick-fil-A.” 

“We love Cow Day, it’s a really fun time to get to connect with everybody,” the manager concluded, “It’s about getting into the spirit of it and having a really good time.” 

Michelle and Steven Proctor dressed up for Cow Appreciation Day. (Steven Proctor)

Steven and Michelle Proctor really know how to have a good time when it comes to Cow Appreciation Day. They’ve gone to the event every year since 2015. Back then, Michelle worked on BYU campus at the career center, and Cow Appreciation Day was always a big hit in the office.

“The student workers would make cow costumes out of paper and markers,” Michelle said. “Then they’d pass them around the office for the students and staff to use. Everyone would go in rotations, then come back to the conference room to eat their free meal.” 

Steven, a BYU graduate, also has fond memories of wearing hooves, ears, a tail and spots to get his signature favorite: the Southwest Salad with chicken. 

While Cow Appreciation Day no longer offers salads as a free entree, the Proctor’s still love their “Cow Day.” This year, however, the two are spending their Chick-fil-A holiday in California. “When Steven found out we’d be in California over Cow Appreciation Day,” Michelle said, “he insisted on bringing his cow mask so he could get free Chick-fil-A on our trip.” 

Cow Appreciation Day has been around for 15 years and is going strong. There are currently more than 2,400 participating Chick-fil-A restaurants, and last year 1.95 million people participated in the franchise’s Cow Appreciation Day.

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