2022! Chick fil A’s Cow Appreciation Day: Dress Like A Cow & Get FREE Food

Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A Abbey & Joe Economides got a free meal.

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Chick-fil-A has an annual Cow Appreciation Day – sometimes called  “Dress LIke a Cow Day” others call it “Chick-fil-a Day.” It occurred each year at the beginning of July. And it was celebrated by more than 1.8 million people.

But Covid changed all of that. Since 2020 Cow Appreciation day has been canceled. Each year we check with the Chick-Fil-A website and update this post.

2023 Cow Appreciation Day Has Been Canceled

Posted on ChickFilA.com in 2023:

Chick-fil-A® restaurants are not hosting Cow Appreciation Day this year, but the Cows are back in new and exciting ways. To learn more about the celebration, visit playCodeMoo.com.

The following was Posted in 2022 on ChickFilA.com

Since 2005, we have celebrated Cow Appreciation Day on the second Tuesday of July – an annual tradition for Chick-fil-A® to thank our guests and the perfect excuse to dress up like our beloved Cows.

While Cow Appreciation Day continues to be one of our favorite days of the year, the best decision for our restaurant teams is to not hold the in-person event this year. This was a difficult decision, but we look forward to giving our guests delightful cow interactions in future years.

Chick Fil A Website

When Is Cow Appreciation Day in 2023

This year Dress Like a Cow Day is tentatively scheduled to be celebrated on Tuesday, July 11. It starts at opening time and ends around 7 pm that day.

2021July 13Canceled
2022July 12Canceled
2023July 11Tuesday
2024July 9Tuesday
2025July 8Tuesday

This live video was shot on Cow Appreciation Day 2019 with 2 of our grandkids and our daughter-in-law Sarah

WANT MORE FREE STUFF? Check out our Free Stuff Category

How did Cow Appreciation Day Get Started

Cow appreciation day billboard.

Legend has it that in 1995 a herd of cattle took a stand to protect their race from extinction. A really smart bull named Heff R. Jones took up a paintbrush and created a slogan. Using his limited grasp of the English language he climbed to the top of a billboard with his friend Eton Fowl and painted the infamous words “EAT MOR CHIKIN.” An amateur photographer happened to be driving by and captured the picture for posterity.

This photo sent into motion a movement uniting the bovine race in a movement every July to encourage the consumption of chicken.

How Can You Participate in Cow Appreciation Day

To celebrate the movement, Chick-fil-A instituted Cow Appreciation Day in 2005. And is celebrated each year, the second week in July. More than 2300 Chick-fil-A restaurants participate in the day. They give away free entrees during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

3 Things you Need to do to Get a Free Meal

Wear Cow Apparel or Accessories
To earn your free food entree, you need to look like a cow (as much as possible). This could be as simple as wearing a white, brown or black shirt and pants and then tape or pin paper “cow spots” on your clothes. They will even accept you if you wear “normal” clothes with cow “accessories.” These include things like a plastic cow nose, a cow horn headband or cow face paint. Get Cow Spot templates here on Pinterest

Click on the image to see a full-size version

Cow spot template

Arrive at any Chick-fil-A between Opening and 7 pm (in cow attire)

Ask for a Free Entree

Costume Ideas

Costumes don’t have to be expensive or complete to enjoy the day. Our family has had so much fun participating in this event.

One of our kids splurged and purchased a cow costume complete with a hoodie and udders. That costume has been used for years and has earned our family dozens of meals.

Related: Watch the Video at the Bottom of this Page when a local TV News Station saw the haul our kids picked up at Chick-fil-a and put it into an interview we were doing.

Abbey Joe chick fil a rancher cow
Chick fil a day when Joe dressed as a rancher and Abbey as the cow -scoring free Chick-fil-a meals for their costumes.

One year there were only 3 of us available. Our daughter slipped on the old cow costume and our son Joe dressed up like a cowboy and carried a lasso. And Annette dressed up as the farmer’s wife with a denim dress, cowgirl boots, and a cowgirl hat.

Joe threw the rope over Abbey (with the cow costume on) in the restaurant and the people in line and the staff loved it and begged to take pictures of our group.

Of course, we agreed.

Cow Appreciation Day & Empty Nesters

Our kids are now grown and gone and the cow costume went with them. But that doesn’t stop us from enjoying Dress Like a Cow Day. Sometimes our grown kids come with us, other times we go as a couple.

Our usual apparel is to wear a black top and black pants. We cut out white paper cow spots and pin them on our clothes. While we know that this isn’t technically correct coloring for a cow, it works for us. We also put on plastic cow noses and horns that we keep in our costume trunks.

The Best Times to Get Your Free Meal on Chick Fil A Day

All Chick-fil-A managers know it’s going to be busy and usually have extra employees working on this day. Because Cow Appreciation day is getting really popular, it’s not too unusual to see long lines of people waiting outside of the restaurant.

As a family we’ve found the best times to go are NOT at regular meal times.

The busiest times at Chick-fil-A restaurants will be:

  • Lunch – between 11 am and 2 pm
  • Dinner – between 5 pm and 7 pm

If you can avoid these times your wait will be significantly shorter. We usually go either late in the morning (around 10 am) to pick up lunch or in the afternoon (around 3 or 4 o’clock) to pick up dinner.

2014 Dress Like a Cow Day Joe Sarah S&A
A recent Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a in Scottsdale. The had a photo booth set up and we took pictures with our son Joe, his wife Sarah with Steve & Annette.

Speeding Up the Ordering on Chick Fil A Cow Day

If you want to streamline the process, visit the Chick-fil-A website before you head out and decide what you want to order.

What You Will Receive for Dressing like a Cow

The free food you receive will vary by the franchise you visit. Some will give you one sandwich per costume. Others will give you a full meal including sandwich, waffle fries and a drink. Children are usually given a free kids’ meal.

Truett Cathy  Biography

Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, grew up learning the value of hard work, fairness, honesty, and respect. He helped his mother run a boarding house.

In 1946 he and his brother Ben opened a restaurant, where Truett put into practice all he learned from his mom.

He has written a wonderful biography about his life and the company. The book is called, “Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People: Doing Business the Chick-fil-A Way. The family history and stories of his dream are inspiring. One cool thing about Truett is that he has a real heart for kids and orphans.

We hope you get to enjoy Cow Appreciation Day in your town this year. We’d love to see your costume and hear your stories. We’ll be posting ours on our Facebook page – could you meet us there?

ABC 15 News with Corey Rangle

ABC 15 reporter Corey Rangel talks with Steve and Annette about their saving strategies. He touches on planning and stocking up.

But, this interview ended up with a funny twist.

Three of their kids went out to pick up lunch at a local Chic-Fil-A on Cow Appreciation Day. Anyone who dresses like a cow gets a free sandwich. They were sent with several coupons for additional free sandwiches and milkshakes.

In all, they spent $10, but you’ve got to see all that they brought home . . . watch the video. Abbey (their youngest) is the one in the cow make-up.

If you want to find ways to get more meals for free or cheaper, check out our popular Restaurant Hacks page.

Cow Appreciation Day or Dress Like a Cow Day at Chick-fil-a with Abbey from Money Smart Family!.
Daughter Abbey dressed up like a cow on Chick fil a day and scored lots of free food.