All across the country households will be carving turkey, eating pie and reflecting on what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving. No matter how you celebrate, the fourth Thursday in November is not complete without a fest. And for those who are less than inclined to cook a turkey at home, they may be turning to your restaurant to put them in a food coma. So how can your restaurant take advantage of the Thanksgiving dinner demand? Take look at our tips to make your restaurant another thing diners are grateful for this Thanksgiving:
What can your restaurant do to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner?
As a restaurant, it’s great to get involved in a celebration centered around food. Here are some strategies to make sure your restaurant is ready for turkey day:
Establish Thanksgiving hours
First, you need to decide if you are going to be open for the holiday. While keeping your doors open could lead to more business, it also means your staff will have to come in on a day that most people have off. It’s important to weigh your restaurant’s location, predicted business, staff availability and menu capabilities.
We know that a restaurant staff can sometimes feel like family. If you’re going to close your doors to regular customers on Thanksgiving, you could use your restaurant space to host your employees or community members who don’t have a place to go for the holidays.
Once you decide if you’re going to open your doors, the next step is to publicize your hours. Make sure to update your website, listings on third-party delivery apps and POS system to indicate when your restaurant will be closed. It’s also great to post your updated hours on your social media accounts to spread the word.
Craft the perfect Thanksgiving dinner menu
Thanksgiving isn’t the same without the turkey, stuffing and gravy, and odds are hungry diners are going to be looking for classics like these on Thursday. In fact, Americans spent an estimated $927 million on turkey last year, and not all of those birds were cooked at home. Featuring a Thanksgiving menu can make your restaurant the go-to place for the holiday and allow you to capture some of the fortune that’s spent on Thanksgiving every year.
Your Thanksgiving menu can build off of current fall trends, feature holiday staples or take a unique twist on a holiday classic. Taking a new twist on traditional Thanksgiving dishes can make your restaurant stand out. Some innovative dishes include:
- Cajun baked turkey breast
- Cranberry brie pastry tarts
- Sweet potato biscuits
- Green bean casserole
- Quinoa stuffing
- Pumpkin pie bites
Once you establish what dishes are going to round out your holiday menu, it’s important to make sure your restaurant is stocked up with the right inventory. If you are straying away from your usual cuisine for your Thanksgiving meals, you’ll want to adjust your inventory well in advance so that you won’t waste any of your usual ingredients.
Make your menu to-go
Not everyone wants to cook at home for the holiday. With Thanksgiving family to-go boxes, your restaurant can become the centerpiece of families’ Thanksgiving dinner. You can adapt your Thanksgiving menu to create family to-go meals so that customers can take a multi-course dinner home with them. Family to-go meals can allow your restaurant to cater dinners and bring in extra revenue without large overhead costs. For tips on maintaining food quality with sustainable food containers, click here.
Don’t forget about the drinks
Nothing brings holiday joy quite like a steady flow of drinks, so it’s important to make sure you add beverage options to your Thanksgiving menu. Seasonal drinks can pair great with Thanksgiving dishes and can bring out the flavor profile of the season. Check out these festive fall drinks ideas for inspiration.
When you partner with Grubhub, you can add alcohol to your delivery and to-go menu so that customers can bring holiday spirits home. Including alcohol in your Thanksgiving delivery menu can increase the average order value by $14 to $15 per drink. Before you add drinks to your to-go menu, don’t forget to brush up on the best practices for beverage delivery to ensure that you are on top of drink delivery trends.
Nail down holiday staffing
Your restaurant can’t operate without your dedicated staff, and creating a thorough staffing schedule can help make sure you’re prepared for the holidays. Make sure you create a holiday schedule well in advance and take into account your employees’ preferences. Balancing your staffing needs and your employees’ obligations can help make sure everyone is happy during the holidays.
Did you know Thanksgiving Eve is a popular night for restaurants?
Thanksgiving Eve is one of the most popular delivery days on Grubhub. It’s pretty common for people to skip the cooking on Thanksgiving Eve as they’re busy preparing dishes for the next day’s feast. For those hosting family, take-out or delivery is an effortless way to feed their hungry crowd. It’s a good idea to stay open on Thanksgiving Eve to capture some of this customer demand.
Wondering how you can keep up with delivery? When you partner with Grubhub you get access to a fleet of drivers who can help your restaurant conquer the holiday rush. That way you can invest more time into preparing your mouthwatering dishes and let Grubhub take care of getting your meals to diners’ doors.
While Thanksgiving Eve is a popular night for ordering in, it’s also a big night for grabbing a drink at a local spot. Diners who are returning to their hometowns may be looking for a place to catch up with old friends, grab a bite and pour back some drinks. It’s a good idea to stock up on alcohol inventory to prepare for the local rush.
Make your restaurant the go-to Friendsgiving spot
Did you know that there’s a celebration solely dedicated to sharing a meal with your friends? Friendsgiving is a non-traditional take on Thanksgiving that gives people a reason to give thanks for great friends. It’s also a celebration that’s centered around food, giving your restaurant an opportunity to get involved all November long.
Try offering a Friendsgiving menu that’s available for dine-in and to-go. Feel free to get creative – your Friendsgiving menu can break tradition just like the holiday does. You can also encourage diners to take their Friendsgiving celebrations to your restaurant by hosting a special event. Setting up family-style tables and featuring fun activities around your restaurant like a photo booth or Instagram-worthy backgrounds can give diners an extra incentive to stop by. You can even offer a Friendsgiving cooking class to get groups in the holiday spirit.
Friendsgiving is also a great opportunity to run a promotion so that your restaurant is at the center of the celebration. The great thing about this holiday is that it will bring large group orders to your restaurant. You can offer a percentage off, a free appetizer or a coupon for their next visit on bigger ticket orders. You can even extend your promotions to to-go orders by running promotions on Grubhub so that diners can take their Friendsgiving meals home.
Tackle turkey day with Grubhub
Whether you are opening your restaurant to anti-cooking diners, creating a menu to help customers celebrate the holiday at home or closing your doors for the day, it’s important to have a Thanksgiving plan for your restaurant. And if you want to reach even more customers this holiday season, consider partnering with Grubhub to get access to over 33 million diners who are searching for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.