In case you’ve missed the emergence of this unofficial holiday, "Friendsgiving" is similar to Thanksgiving, but normally observed with friends instead of family. Groups of friends—usually millennials—come together shortly before Thanksgiving for a potluck dinner more in the vein of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” than a conventional Thanksgiving dinner.
Recently, restaurants have begun hosting Friendsgiving events and promotions to draw revelers out of their homes and into restaurants. Here's a sampling of how some of those operations are pursuing the opportunity, followed by a list of upcoming similar promotional opportunities.
Taco Bell’s 4th annual Friendsgiving
The Mexican QSR has been around the Friendsgiving block a few times. This year, the chain hosted its fourth invite-only Friendsgiving celebration on Nov. 17, in which it treated guests to Taco Bell-inspired Thanksgiving fare and live-streamed the dinner over Facebook.
Krispy Kreme puts the pumpkin spice in doughnuts
Marketed as a welcome addition to any Friendsgiving party, the Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed doughnut returned to Krispy Kreme's lineup for one day on Nov. 16. The decision to reawaken the autumn-themed flavor was the result of an online poll in which Krispy Kreme fans voted to bring the pumpkin spice doughnut back.
The Melting Pot shows thanks with fondue
The Melting Pot will feature a three-course Friendsgiving dinner special for $26 per person from Nov. 21 through Nov. 23. The dinner includes a choice of cheese fondue, a salad and a petite entree of chicken breast, Pacific white shrimp, teriyaki-marinated sirloin or butternut squash ravioli.
Mercadito hosts experiential Friendsgiving dinner
Chicago-based upscale Mexican restaurant Mercadito added Friendsgiving to its list of Holiday Experiential Dinners. Priced at $75, the reservation-only event on Nov. 21 will include five courses along with five cocktails. Special guests at the event will include chef Patricio Sandoval of Mercadito.
Ninety Nine wants reunions
The pub-style restaurant calls its celebration Thanksgiving Eve, inviting guests to “reunite with friends and family” on Nov. 23. The restaurant’s bar will offer 50-cent bone-in wings from 4 p.m. to close, and $5 full-sized appetizers from 7 p.m. to close.
Other upcoming promotional opportunities
Here's a look at upcoming promotional opportunities:
- Black Friday, Nov. 25
- Cyber Monday, Nov. 28
- Ugly sweater season, starting Dec. 1
- National Cookie Day, Dec. 4
- Repeal Day, Dec. 5
- National Pastry Day, Dec. 9
Some of the more senior members of the team smile at the junior staff who are excited to uncover an interesting trend in “eatertainment” or the latest single-ingredient concept. We try not to be condescending when we suggest they do some research by looking at past issues of Restaurant Business or old Technomic top chain reports before calling it the next big thing.