Americans Plan to Let Restaurants Do the Cooking During the Holidays

Eating out is on the menu for 77% of consumers this month, but they're looking for deals, according to a National Restaurant Association survey.

  • A National Restaurant Association survey found that 77% of consumers will eat out, order takeout or delivery or both in December.
  • Most said they will consider deals or specials when picking the restaurant, and a majority will be influenced by marketing emails and social media marketing.

With just a few weeks left in the year and the season of celebration in full swing, a National Restaurant Association survey found that 77% of consumers will cope with holiday demands by letting restaurants do some of their cooking during the coming weeks. But they’ll be looking for good deals when choosing where to eat or order from.

According to the survey, 57% of consumers plan to go out to eat at a restaurant, while 50% plan to order takeout or delivery for a gathering at home during the holidays. One in four consumers plan to do both.

When asked why they plan to include restaurant meals in their holiday plans:

  • 88% said dining out or ordering a meal from a restaurant is a good way to support businesses in their community during the holidays.
  • 82% said letting restaurants do the cooking is easy and reduces their stress.
  • 78% said a restaurant gives them an opportunity to socialize with family and/or friends and is a better use of their time than cooking and cleaning up.

“During the holidays—maybe more than any other time of the year—we work to make meaningful connections with people in our lives. The restaurants in our communities provide the space and the comfort to do that while sharing a meal,” said Michelle Korsmo, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association.

Related: 5 festive ideas for celebrating the holidays at your pizzeria

“When you choose restaurants, you get the flavors you crave without grocery shopping and preparation,” Korsmo added. “You get familiar holiday dishes without the dishes to wash. You get beloved traditions without all the preparations. When you let restaurants do the cooking, restaurants let you take a holiday from the holidays.”

When choosing a restaurant, convenience and loyalty were top of mind for most consumers.

  • A restaurant close to home was the top pick for 94% of consumers going out to eat and 91% planning to order out.
  • 81% of diners plan to dine in a restaurant they’ve often visited during the holidays, while 79% of diners will order out from one.

But inflation is impacting their decision-making during the holidays. The survey found consumers are more interested in restaurants where they can find a deal or specials.

  •  89% of consumers who plan to dine in a restaurant and the same number who plan to order out will consider deals or specials when picking the restaurant.
  • 60% of customers eating out and 66% of those planning takeout are making their choices based on marketing emails from restaurants.
  • Fifty-eight percent planning to eat out and 65% of those planning delivery or takeout say social media marketing will be a determining factor in their choice of restaurant.

The National Restaurant Association conducted the online survey of 1,002 adults Nov. 18-20, 2022, asking questions about their plans to use restaurants during the holiday season.