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About half of Americans plan to eat restaurant food on Thanksgiving

A majority of those who say they plan to get part or all of their holiday meal from a restaurant are doing so because they say "it's just easier."
Chef Tyrone Haber carries a tray of pumpkin pies toward the oven at a restaurant.
Posted at 10:54 AM, Nov 20, 2023

Who's looking forward to a good old-fashioned home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving? According to a new survey, about half of Americans are not. 

According to a survey conducted by Popmenu, 32% of Americans are planning to order takeout or delivery on Thanksgiving. That is in addition to about 17% of Americans who said they plan to dine in person at a restaurant. 

When asked why they plan to get part or all of their holiday meal from a restaurant, 64% of respondents said "it's just easier." Others say they don't feel like cooking, prefer professionally cooked food, or believe it's cheaper than buying all the ingredients needed to cook a Thanksgiving dinner. 

Popmenu, which commissioned the survey and provides technological assistance for restaurants, recommends customers plan ahead. 

"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."  

How to save on Thanksgiving dinner this year
Displays of cranberry sauce, green beans and soups set up for Thanksgiving feasts in a grocery store.

How to save on Thanksgiving dinner this year

The cost of an average Thanksgiving dinner is expected to be lower than it was last year, but there are ways you can save even more.


For those considering the cost of an at-home Thanksgiving dinner, the American Farm Bureau Federation said last week a typical Thanksgiving meal for 10 people with plenty of leftovers would cost $61.17 this year. Such a meal would include turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk.

One spot likely to be busy is McDonald's. According to Google Trends, searches for "McDonald's" spiked on Thanksgiving. Burger King and Starbucks also had similar spikes in searches on Thanksgiving. 

Popmenu also expects about 26% of Americans to dine out for Christmas, while 36% will do so for New Year's Eve.