Upwards of 70 percent of Americans plan to spend this Thanksgiving much differently than they did last year. Most will not be gathering for the holiday and a growing number are opting out of cooking a big turkey dinner this year. Instead, many will be ordering a to-go Thanksgiving meals from one of their local restaurants.
That boost is helping restaurants stay busy, much busier than they have been for months.
“It feels awesome to come in and do what we do,” said Richard Poggi, a chef and managing partner at the Delaney House restaurant and event venue in Massachusetts.
Poggi has spent the past week prepping turkeys after seeing a surge of to-go Thanksgiving meal orders from the restaurant and Delaney’s local markets.
“Our country as a whole really, really want to do the right thing and get through this,” said Poggi. “I think people are heeding the warnings and I think people understand what’s going on."
Thanks to many people not gathering for the holiday and deciding to order out a Thanksgiving meal for themselves or their immediate family, Delaney’s is on pace to more than double the amount of to-go Thanksgiving dinners it sold last year.
On average, it’s getting at least 200 new Thanksgiving to-go orders a day.
“We are one of those restaurants that if you came here before the pandemic, you had to wait an hour or hour and a half to get in,” said Delaney’s Owner Peter Rosskothen.
Rosskothen added the to-go Thanksgiving order boost comes after the restaurant has dealt with a 75 percent drop in business.
“It has been hard to find money for payroll. It is hard to dig into your own reserve when you don’t want to, but you have to, to kind of climb through this,” said Rosskothen.
That burden is being relieved for a few weeks now. More so, the boost of sales with to-go Thanksgiving meals is also giving his team glimmers of hope that they and other restaurants around the country can get through these difficult times.
“It is keeping us hanging on and that is what we are doing, we’re hanging on,” said one Delaney’s worker.
“I am hopeful, and they are hopeful,” said Rosskothen. “They see something like Thanksgiving happen and it’s a little lift.”
It is a much-needed lift and reminder of what better days look like, thanks to the sacrifice many are making by not gathering this holiday.