Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s topic: how restaurants can provide alternative Thanksgiving options.
Although Thanksgiving is just a couple days away, last week the CDC recommended that Americans hold off on traveling for the holiday due to concerns surrounding growing COVID cases. In addition, they suggest that families limit celebrations to just their households, due to “diagnosed infections, hospitalizations and deaths skyrocketing across the country.” In spite of these warnings, over 3 million people traveled through airports this past weekend.
Even though millions of people continued to travel this year, a report by Restaurant Dive shows that over 30% of diners plan to get their Thanksgiving meal catered this year. The report also suggests that restaurants who decide to offer holiday-themed or “value-focused” meals aimed at smaller groups will find success with this group of consumers. Along with those tips, here are a couple idea for restaurants who want to attract Thanksgiving diners this Thursday.
- Since most people will opt for to-go and delivery options, consider creating ‘build your own’ meal kits. They can be Thanksgiving themed or something out of the box to add variety to classic holiday. And don’t forget cocktails to keep spirits high!
- Take an idea from the current social climate and partner with a small business. This could be to offer something new to your menu or to provide an option you don’t already have – such as vegetarian or vegan choices. You might also consider partnering with someone whose business offers non-food/beverage related items. Be creative when thinking of who you can partner with.
- Tip: There is a huge push right now to support small businesses because of the suffering economy. In doing so, you’ll be able to bring some positive attention to your brand and help support a business that needs it.
- Push the ‘alternative holiday’ theme. Because of the warning against travel, those who are staying home may be opting for a non-traditional Thanksgiving experience because they can’t go through with their typical plans. Think about a different spin on traditional holiday dishes for a fun way to still incorporate the classics.
- It’s mentioned above, but a key reminder is that a lot of people will be spending their holidays with smaller groups, thus looking for a more cost-conscious dining option. Consider how to create specials that don’t break the bank and may even attract customers back in the future –– like offering a gift card.
With COVID vaccines on the horizon, we’re hopeful that 2020 will be the only holiday season affected by the pandemic. In the meantime, restaurants have the opportunity to help make this time special, even though many have been forced to change their plans. By finding unique ways to offer to-go and dining services, you can help provide comfort (and maybe a little fun) during a time when we all need it.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the country, it’s important to remember to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands. If possible, limit Thanksgiving celebrations to just your household in order to slow the spread of the virus. Visit the CDC website to learn more about staying safe this holiday season.