More People Are Dining Out at Restaurants for Thanksgiving

Tradition has been fading these past few decades. In fact, in 2011, 30 million Americans were expected to eat out on Thanksgiving.1 Since 2011, some Americans have made ditching the prepping and cooking in the kitchen on Thanksgiving the new tradition. However, in 2022, this number might have just increased a bit more since 2011.

Why some American prefer to eat out on Thanksgiving

Fewer people want to do the work

There are many ingredients, time, and money go into prepping for an annual Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family. Americans from the ages of 25 – 40 have opted out of making their own Thanksgiving dinner and prefer that they dine out with friends or family this year.

There is also considerable time that goes into prepping a good Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is all about timing. Nothing is worse than being the one responsible for cooking the turkey and having the turkey not being done in time. Also, costs are going up too to cook at home. According to the Los Angeles Times, poultry prices have increased up to 17% from a year ago. Flour has increased to 24% and butter is up to 32%.

Distance and Time

Although it is a national holiday, there are people who may have to work on Thanksgiving, such as retail workers, food, bar employees, and first responders. Many workers may have family or friends who live states away from them.

According to Katie Jackson from, people should start by shopping and searching for recipes 2-4 weeks out. For those who are busy working more than one job, have a demanding job, or have children, it may be impossible to prep that far ahead.

Restaurants, use this to your advantage

Restaurants can earn extra money by operating on Thanksgiving. For some restaurants, Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year or at least in the top five annually. It is an opportunity for all sectors of the restaurant business including quick service, fast casual, casual dining, and fine dining.

Shorten hours

Thanksgiving meals offered for pickup start and typically offered the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving Day. Dine-in service typically starts up around noon and wraps up by 8 PM, with most guests wanting to dine between 3 and 6 PM.


A traditional Thanksgiving menu with a twist based on your brand and type of cuisine. Guests appreciate a little creativity around Thanksgiving but don’t skip the turkey, sides, or pie as part of the menu!


The first step is to see what your competitors are doing. Start with a menu and offering something that is like what they are doing and add your flare to the menu. Expect the first year or two to be slower than you might want, but hold on, once you get a few years into offering Thanksgiving most restaurants see the holiday as one of their most successful sales days.

Let’s Talk

Goliath Consulting Group is a restaurant consultancy group based in Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more about digital training and the types of software that are offered, contact us to find out which is the right fit for your restaurant: or email us at

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Published by Linda Springer

Hi! My name is Linda Springer, and I am the Digital Marketing Manager at Goliath Consulting Group. During my free time, I enjoy reading fantasy novels to escape from my everyday life and traveling to countries with rich histories and cultures.

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