It looks like even free meals are conditional. Mandarin Restaurants, a Chinese buffet chain based out of Brampton, Ontario, announced this week that it would be offering free meals on July 1st to celebrate Canada Day. However, Mandarin's Canada Day 2019 free buffet promotion has a detail in its fine print that many people consider unfair. Those who want in on the free buffet will need to provide proof of Canadian citizenship.

Unsurprisingly, Mandarin's requirements sparked backlash. Permanent residents, as well as those without Canadian citizenship, took serious issue with it, claiming it to be discriminatory.

In a written statement to Narcity, Mandarin provided more details on how they will be screening their guests during the Canada Day promotion. "Guests will need to show proof of Canadian citizenship (their passport, birth certificate or Canadian citizenship card)." 

Mandarin has actually been running this exact promotion for half a decade, though. According to Retail Insider, this is the fifth year that Mandarin Restaurants has offered the promotion.

This year, it appears that the deal is being met with significant pushback. Here are some of the reactions it has gotten so far:

To get in on the free buffet, guests will need to visit one of the restaurant's 29 locations between noon and the last seating at 8:30 PM on July 1st. The offer does not include take-out or delivery meals.

It’s also worth noting that Mandarin Restaurants will not be taking reservations during the promotion. Instead, it will operate on a first come, first basis. The deal is expected to draw huge crowds, so guests should arrive extra early and prepare for long lineups.

Mandarin's full statement to Narcity reads, “Mandarin is proud to celebrate our country’s birthday and our 40th anniversary! We’re inviting all Canadian citizens to a free buffet meal on July 1st. This is our way of saying THANK YOU CANADA for all the opportunities we enjoy here and for their loyalty over the years!"

The statement continues, "Guests will need to show proof of Canadian citizenship (their passport, birth certificate or Canadian citizenship card). For all customers attending on July 1, please visit for important event details. We are also honouring the country all July with a new “Celebrate Canada” menu, featuring many of the nation’s favourite dishes on the buffet for a limited time.”

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