Sign up now to get your free drink code sent on June 15.

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Though the COVID-19 pandemic is waning, times are still critical for the restaurant industry: Reopening your doors is only a good thing if people actually walk through them. So to encourage people to support local restaurants this summer, Coca-Cola has come up with a straightforward plan: They're going to help you go out and grab a Coke at your favorite restaurant for free.

Coca-Cola is currently giving everyone in the country a chance to sign up to get "a Coke on us"-a promotion that allows people to go out, buy a Coca-Cola beverage at a restaurant, and have the company cover the cost. Simply go to us.coca-cola.com/summer, enter your info, and then you'll receive an email on June 15 with details on how to score your free Coke, redeemable from June 17 to 21.

soft drink being poured into glass
Credit: rez-art/Getty Images

But how precisely does you getting a free Coke help restaurants? Coca-Cola pulled back the veil on the program for us a bit: The "free Cokes" will actually be distributed in the form of a $2.50 Mastercard Mobile Wallet credit which can then be processed by any restaurant that takes card payments. Coca-Cola admits that while, technically, the mobile wallet won't be able to tell how you spend the money, the whole point of the promotion is to benefit local restaurants, so the company is simply encouraging everyone to hold up their end of the bargain, and infuse their favorite restaurants with a bit of extra cash-$2.50 at a time-preferably by adding a Coca-Cola soft drink to their meal.

"Coca-Cola has fervently supported local restaurants-a vital part of our beverage business-especially during the pandemic," Melissa Schwartz, brand director for Coke & Meals, told me via email. "We provided employees with delivery credits, joined forces with #TheGreatAmericanTakeout, donated to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund and supported World Central Kitchen, among many others, but our work is far from over. In our latest effort to raise up local restaurants, Coca-Cola is incentivizing fans to revisit and rediscover restaurants after a very tough year with the 'This Coke's on Us' program. We're enabling hundreds of thousands of fans to kick off summer with a Coke and a meal from a local restaurant, and to feel good while doing so, giving Americans one more reason to support local."

So there you have it: Take a bit of free cash from Coca-Cola and spend it at your favorite restaurant-preferably on a Coke. Or, if you absolutely must, a Sprite. Just don't be a total jerk and spend the money on a Pepsi.