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Americans are counting on restaurants for their holiday meals, a new study finds

A survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association found that 77% of consumers will have pros do the cooking.
Consumers plan to outsource the cooking to restaurants this holiday season. / Photo: Shutterstock

More than 3 of every 4 consumers (77%) plan to ease their year-end stress by relying on restaurants to provide at least a portion of their holiday meals, according to new data from the National Restaurant Association.

The influence of convenience is evident in the findings on how consumers will choose the source of their fare. An overwhelming majority (94%) of those who plan to dine in a restaurant for their big holiday meals said they intended to choose a place close to their home.

Among the survey respondents who plan to buy all or a portion of their meal and take it home, 91% said they’ll hunt for a nearby source.

Overall, 58% of the respondents intend to eat their holiday meals in a restaurant, while 50% plan to order takeout or delivery.

While convenience emerged as a major driver for opting to let someone else do the cooking, the survey of more than 1,000 consumers revealed that inflation will also influence their choice of the source. About 89% of the participants who plan to buy their meals said their decision could be swayed by a deal or a low price. That percentage held true for to-go customers as well as for those looking to dine on-premises.

“When you choose restaurants, you get the flavors you crave without grocery shopping and preparation,” Michelle Korsmo, CEO of the restaurant association, said in a statement. “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.”

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