Should Your Restaurant Stay Open on Thanksgiving?

More and more people are spending Thanksgiving away from home. Consider these key factors to determine if your restaurant is well-positioned to take advantage of this trend.

Over the years, more and more families have decided to make Thanksgiving dinner reservations at a local restaurant, instead of preparing an elaborate meal at home. When Thanksgiving preparations are handled by a professional kitchen, families can relax and enjoy each other's company. This phenomenon is bringing more business to restaurants during the holiday season, but it also puts strain on your staff and keeps them away from their families. In this guide, we’ve listed some key factors that can help you decide whether to keep your restaurant open. 

Consider Your Menu Offerings

Before making the decision to keep your restaurant open during the holiday's, it's important to consider your menu. Maybe your current menu has traditional Thanksgiving items already on it that you could use to build a traditional Thanksgiving meal. If it doesn't, consider if you are able to adapt or add special items on your menu to appeal to the traditional holiday favorites, but still highlight your restaurant's individualism. There are a number of possibilities and ways to get creative!

Location Plays a Role with Thanksgiving Traffic

Once you determine your menu, consider your restaurant clientele and other businesses in the area. If there aren’t many families in your area, it might be pointless to stay open. For example, college towns typically turn into ghost towns for the week of Thanksgiving as many students go back home to be with their families. However, if other businesses decide to stay open, you can gauge customer demand by preselling Thanksgiving reservations at a lower price, and adjusting your plans to match the demand.   

Your Employees’ Well-Being Should Be a Determining Factor

Gathering employee input can help you determine if staying open is feasible for your operations. Of course, staying open on Thanksgiving will keep employees away from their families, which is a sad fact of life for many foodservice employees. If you have a strong team ethic and close relationships with your staff, they will power through Thanksgiving as a restaurant family. However, if you’re running the restaurant as a strict business, you may experience anger and resentment from your staff. Yet, some employees may not mind working during the holidays to pick up extra hours and make a few extra bucks. By having an open discussion, your employees will appreciate that you considered their thoughts and can help drive your decision on whether your restaurant is capable of staying open.

Restaurants That Offer Thanksgiving Hours:

At the end of the day, it all comes down to making a decision that fits best with your operations. Whether you decide it best to stay open or closed, there is no right or wrong answer. There are thousands of restaurants that decide to stay open during the holidays, but reservations fill up months in advance. If you're still on the fence of staying open, here are a few popular chain restaurants that offer Thanksgiving hours:

  • Buca di Beppo
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Marie Callendar’s
  • Morton’s Steakhouse
  • Romano’s Macaroni Grill
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • TGI Fridays
  • Waffle House

If you decide to stay open, here is a guide to smoking a turkey in your Cook & Hold Smoker

Request A Quote