The end of the years holidays (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.) have traditionally been a time of getting the family together around the Christmas tree and enjoying a home-cooked dinner with all of the fixings. For a variety of reasons, however, more Americans are now eating out during the holidays. While there will always be a place for a classic holiday ham at American tables each year, it is important to be aware of the increase in dinners out that seems to be more common during the holiday season.
It might seem obvious that, as a consumer, eating out during the holidays is an enjoyable way to take in the joys of the season without the added stress of preparing a big meal for friends and family. As a restaurant owner, knowing some of the deeper trends and reasons why Americans are choosing to eat out during the holidays will provide you with some insights into how to prepare for the season, satisfy your customers, and also maximize your revenues at the same time.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why more Americans are choosing to eat out during the holidays.
Why Are Americans Eating Out During The Holidays?
The change in American eating habits has many explanations that need to be understood by the savvy restaurant owner to capitalize on consumer tastes.
Before, during, or after a shopping trip, it seems like American consumers are keener to sit down for a Christmas meal. Despite the trend towards online purchases, retailers still see a big boom in business during the Holiday shopping season. With so many people circulating throughout stores and malls at this time, it only makes sense that restaurants are being relied on to fuel these shopping sprees. Mall owners taking note of this phenomenon are starting to upgrade their offerings from fast food to more classic sit-down style restaurants.
What can Restaurant Owners and Chefs Do to Create a Holiday Experience for Their Guests
Set The Right Tone
Another reason why dining out during the holidays seem to be more popular is the whole experience surrounding the Holiday season. As the experience economy makes the act of consumption more about the experience than about the actual product or service itself, or at least equally important, consumers want to feel like they are a part of the season and the ambiance that surrounds it. Christmas / Holiday music, lights, and the feeling in the air are all different around this time of year. Eating out during the holidays has become a part of this experience.
As a restaurant owner, making sure to provide the right environment to suit the Holiday season is the best way to ensure that hungry seasonal traffic flows through your doors. Turn the playlist to contemporary Christmas classics and make sure to offer some seasonal-themed dishes, regardless of what your fare is throughout the year.
While it might not suit every style of restaurant, integrating some classic Holiday ingredients, meat cuts, and dishes is a great way to revitalize your menu and get people excited about dining out during the holidays at your establishment. If you cannot seem to fit seasonal food into your offerings, then there are many opportunities for bringing a little seasonal cheer into your drink selection. Be creative. You may even be able to market some of your existing meals as Holiday specials with some minor adjustments.
Christmas Is The Season Of Giving
Remember that gift cards are an increasingly popular item exchanged during the holidays. These allow the recipient to have the flexibility of choosing their own gift; however, as a restaurant, you can use gift cards as a means to attract new interest in your establishment. Making sure to offer gift cards at the holiday season is a good way to entice your loyal customers to gift them to friends who may not be familiar with your restaurant.
Keep The Doors Open
Remember that although many Americans will choose to eat their Holiday dinner in the comfort of their own homes, an increasing number are choosing to dine out even for this meal! Making sure to keep your restaurant open and well-staffed during Christmas Day and New Years’ Day, will allow you to make the most of the opportunities that the holidays provide.
Making Your Restaurant The Place To Eat Out During The Holidays
With more Americans eating out during the holidays, restaurant owners need to be aware of how to capture the seasonal market. Understanding the reasons for this trend outlined here, as well as putting some of the practical tips into action, will give you a head start on preparing for the upcoming holiday season.