In The Press

How restaurants are making Thanksgiving deliciously easy for consumers

Learn how restaurants are simplifying Thanksgiving prep for consumers with online ordering events and tech-enabled experiences.

Inspired by convenience and cost savings, one-third of consumers (32%) plan to order takeout/delivery for Thanksgiving dinner this year while 17% plan to dine in person at a restaurant. Consumers under the age of 35 are the most likely to lean on restaurants with 42% planning to order takeout/delivery for Turkey Day and 20% planning to dine on-premise. This is according to a November 2023 survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers by Popmenu.

Why Consumers Are Dining Out

Consumers are relying on restaurants to supply their entire meal or certain dishes as they celebrate Thanksgiving. When asked why:

  • 64% said it’s just easier
  • 35% don’t feel like cooking
  • 35% prefer professionally cooked food
  • 24% estimate that it’s cheaper to order from restaurants than to buy all the ingredients needed to cook Thanksgiving dinner

What They’re Serving

While turkey is, of course, the star of the show, many consumers are featuring other main courses in their Thanksgiving spread. When asked what they plan to serve, consumers reported:

  • 77% - turkey
  • 42% - ham
  • 27% - steak
  • 27% - fish
  • 20% - vegetarian options

What They Can Expect

Consumers will encounter more digitally-enabled experiences as they interact with restaurants this year. Restaurants partnering with Popmenu are running special online ordering events with limited-time menus featuring all the Thanksgiving fixins' for pickup/delivery—multiple restaurants have already booked $10,000 or more in online orders.

With phones ringing off the hook, restaurants are also using AI phone answering technology to field calls, promote specials, and send links to place orders or make reservations.

Popmenu experts offer the following tips to ensure Thanksgiving runs smoothly:

  1. Do your homework. A quick Google search, phone call, or visit to a preferred restaurant’s website can guide you on menu options (with photos), portion sizes, allergens, and required budget for your party size.  
  1. Order NOW and directly. Higher demand means restaurants will meet their order limits sooner and preferred pickup times will fill up faster. Order directly from the restaurant’s website to ensure your order gets in and to avoid third-party fees.
  1. Reserve a table yesterday. Popular eateries will book up early. Third-party reservation sites, like OpenTable, can keep you posted on what’s available in your area.
  1. Be prepared for delays. Even with specific pickup delivery windows and reservations, factor in a longer wait for your food—so, don't skip the appetizer.

“More consumers are trading in their aprons for the convenience, taste, and potential cost-savings of having restaurants cook Thanksgiving dinner for them,” said Brendan Sweeney, CEO and Co-founder of Popmenu. “Ideally, you want to place online orders and book reservations a few weeks in advance, but you can still find special menus and deals this week. Check out restaurants’ websites and act quickly.”  

In addition to Thanksgiving, restaurants will play an important part in other popular holidays. One in four consumers (26%) plan to dine at or order takeout/delivery from restaurants for Christmas this year, while 36% plan to do so on New Year’s Eve.

Survey Methodology

Popmenu conducted an anonymous, nationwide study of 1,000 U.S. consumers from November 6 to November 7, 2023.

Front of the House Resource

6 Things Diners Wish Restaurant Owners Knew About Online Ordering

Forty-two percent of U.S. consumers order carry out or delivery three or more times a week; while 63 percent order it at least twice a week. Want to know what bugs them the most or makes them spend more at restaurants? Discover key insights every restaurant owner and operator should know about creating a positive online ordering experience for guests and maximizing off-premise revenue.

Download Now


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