With just a few weeks left in the year and the season of celebration in full swing, the National Restaurant Association finds that 77 percent of consumers will cope with holiday demands by letting restaurants do some of their cooking during the coming weeks.

According to a new survey, 57 percent of consumers plan to go out to eat at a restaurant, while 50 percent plan to order takeout or delivery for a gathering at home during the holidays. One in four consumers plan to do both. When asked about why they plan to include restaurant meals in their holiday plans:

- 88 percent said dining out or ordering a meal from a restaurant is a good way to support businesses in their community during the holidays.

- 82 percent said letting restaurants do the cooking is easy and reduces their stress.

- 78 percent 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 chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association. “The holiday season is important to restaurant operators and employees who work hard to make it special. When you choose restaurants, you get the flavors you crave without grocery shopping and preparation. 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 the restaurant, convenience and loyalty were top of mind for most consumers.

- A restaurant close to home was the top pick for 94 percent of consumers going out to eat and 91 percent planning to order out.

- 81 percent of diners plan to dine in a restaurant they’ve often visited during the holidays, while 79 percent of diners will order out from one. Inflation is impacting consumer decision-making during the holidays, making them more interested in restaurants where they can find a deal or specials.

- 89 percent of consumers who plan to dine in a restaurant, and the same number who plan to order out, will consider deals or specials to pick the restaurant.

- 60 percent of customers eating out and 66 percent of those planning takeout are making their choices based on marketing emails from restaurants. Even fewer are being swayed by social media—just 58 percent of people planning to eat out and 65 percent 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 from Nov. 18–20, 2022, asking questions about their plans to use restaurants during the holiday season.

For more information about the menu trends that are heating up going into the new year, check out the Association’s What’s Hot 2023 Culinary Forecast.