Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating family traditions, and this year, those traditions may be adapted to reflect consumer values and spending practices. According to a recent survey, as many as 45% of consumers plan to order part or even all of their Thanksgiving meals from restaurants.

Grocery store food pricing, specifically on items central to the holiday – think turkey, potatoes, cranberries – is changing how the public will plan for Thanksgiving. The result is likely to be an increase in restaurant sales on what is often a sleepy day for the industry overall. So, Turkey Day can be a great opportunity to build revenue and get ahead as we move toward the new year.

Push Beyond Classics

A survey revealed that more than a quarter of people polled are tired of traditional Thanksgiving food, plus it’s hard to make a sweet potato casserole that’s as good as grandma’s. Instead, present a Thanksgiving meal through the lens of your restaurant. Riff on the classics with the flavors, textures, and techniques that your customers know and love. Play with traditional favorites such as stuffing: Deploy it as a garnish for noodle-based dishes or add it atop a vegetable side dish for a little extra comfort texture.

Take Reservations

If you plan on offering Thanksgiving service, the goal should be to have a solidly full reservation book lined up for that Thursday. Likely, you’ll see some larger parties, as folks gather with friends and family to celebrate, so promote and emphasize well in advance that reservations are recommended, and ensure you have a system for managing resos on the back end so you are well-prepared on the day of.

Offer Takeout

While some customers will want to dine in, you may also find a large portion of your guests who want to take food to-go to enjoy at home. Plan to offer a Thanksgiving menu available in the days leading up to the holiday so that folks can get what they need in advance. If you are open on Thanksgiving, schedule to have enough staff to support in-house dining and any takeout or delivery options that you offer.

Share Gratitude with Staff

Though restaurant folks are used to working nights and weekends, working on Thanksgiving may be something new. Show your gratitude to your staff with your heartfelt thanks and any perks you may be able to offer, like a family meal, gift cards, or holiday bonuses.

Spread the Word

Connect with media and influencers in your area to let them know your hours and share excitement about your special Thanksgiving menu. Share those details in your newsletter, in person at your restaurant, and on social media, possibly with reels or videos. Create a pop-up for your website that comes up whenever someone visits the page for the month of November.

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