- Seventy-seven percent of consumers plan to order from restaurants as part of their holiday plans in the coming weeks, according to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association. More than 1,000 consumers were polled for the survey in November.
- Fifty-seven percent said they plan to dine-in at a restaurant while 50% plan to order takeout or delivery. One in four consumers said they would do both.
- The association’s survey does hint that inflation is changing consumer spending, but suggests demand is likely to remain elevated throughout the holidays.
About 89% of those planning to dine in at restaurants told the NRA their choice would be shaped by specials and discounts, outweighing the percentages who said marketing communications (60%) and social media (58%) would influence their dining choices.
These findings could indicate that consumers are choosing restaurants based more on value than other factors given persistent year-over-year inflation. Food-away-from home prices surged by 0.9% month-over-month in October, rising about 8.6% above the same month in 2021. In a more troubling note for restaurants, food-away-from-home prices have risen faster than food-at-home prices since August, reversing a dynamic that held throughout much of 2021 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Still, a large majority of consumers planning to dine out (88%) said they included a desire to help local businesses in their decisions, according to the NRA. Eighty-two percent said dining out reduces their holiday stress and 78% said dining out is good way to socialize with friends and family.
"During the holidays ... 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," Michelle Korsmo, NRA president and CEO, said in a statement. "The holiday season is important to restaurant operators and employees who work hard to make it special.”
Last year’s omicron COVID-19 variant surge exacerbated labor shortages around the holidays by sickening large numbers of workers and consumers. So far, this year’s holiday season’s COVID-19 case counts remain below 2021 levels. But inflation may have a similar effect in dampening consumer demand: day-to-day comparisons between 2022 and 2019 restaurant traffic carried out by OpenTable show U.S. visits lagging behind pre-pandemic times.