As the industry enters the holiday season, restaurants ranging from neighborhood joints to Michelin star fine dining are offering prepared holiday meals. Given pandemic-era traveling restrictions that may dissuade large gatherings of family and friends, many Americans are opting out of elaborate home-cooked meals again this year. According to restaurant tech company Lunchbox’s recent analysis on holiday trends, 42% of American adults planned to order restaurant food (whether in person or takeout) on New Year’s Eve and 28% for the following morning.
And with the upcoming seasonal dip of winter dining compounded by increasing COVID risks, restaurants are looking for ways to lure diners with holiday specials while they can. Takeout holiday sets have become a win-win scenario for working foodie parents and restaurants alike. Eaters are able to spend more time with their families and leave the prep to the experts, and restaurants can keep their doors open given the downtick in formal events.
Last year, local restaurants offered pre-sliced cheese and crudite platters—while on the other end of the spectrum Eleven Madison Park featured a $375 plant-based Thanksgiving menu and Wayan a $488 Indonesian-inspired roast turkey feast. Restaurants are also steadily releasing Christmas and New Year’s plans, hoping to capture holiday festivities before the slow of January and February. The annual celebration of Black-owned restaurants and bars Kwanzaa Crawl will return as well, featuring stops in Harlem and Brooklyn.
Lunchbox also reported that 72% of the to 25 highest sales days for restaurants last year occurred in November and December. And though Black Friday is more digital than ever before, 72% of in-person Black Friday shoppers visit restaurants while shopping. To capture this market, restaurants are recommended to increase accessibility by maximizing digital presence and taking advantage of app-based loyalty systems. To best manage holiday dining options, restaurants should plan ahead and market three weeks in advance of any specials. And as usual, gift cards are a popular gift.