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Consumers choose restaurants for the holidays

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Consumers are choosing restaurants this holiday season, according to a new National Restaurant Association survey showing two-thirds (63 percent) of adults plan to eat out during the next several weeks and half (48 percent) plan to order takeout or delivery.

“Our research confirms that restaurants serve a practical need during the holiday season—giving guests the gift of time so they can enjoy the warmth of good company with family and friends,” said Michelle Korsmo, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “The data also reveal that takeout and delivery remain critical components of the guest experience for every age group. From Gen-Z to Baby Boomers, restaurants have options to meet every need and taste preference, in this season and throughout the year.”   

This holiday season, consumers see value in letting restaurants help heighten their meals at home. Sixty-six percent of those choosing to order in from a restaurant will order the entire meal from a restaurant, while many are trusting restaurants with the main course (89 percent), sides (86 percent) or appetizers (74 percent) for their meal. Nearly 2 in 3 (63 percent) will purchase desserts from a restaurant.

Social Media’s Role and Generational Differences

Given the emergence of TikTok-driven trends at restaurants in the National Restaurant Association’s 2024 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, owners, operators and chefs should look for social inspirations when putting together their holiday main courses this year.

Chefs from across the U.S. found that consumers want to try new foods, but in a way that’s recognizable, comforting and communal – which lends itself well to the holiday season. For millennials planning to order out this holiday season, the majority (91 percent) said they were most likely to purchase the main course from a restaurant.

Why and how consumers choose where to eat this season also differs by generation:

  • 82 percent of millennials point to the importance of takeout or delivery options when choosing a restaurant as compared to a little more than half (53 percent) of baby boomers. 
  • Millennials are the most likely to use a restaurant over the holidays to avoid grocery shopping during busy times (75 percent), surprisingly beating out Gen Z (65 percent). Baby boomers are the least likely to factor in grocery shopping (57 percent). 
  • Overall, baby boomers are the least likely to let restaurants do their cooking (72 percent) over the holidays whereas Gen Z (86 percent) are the most likely to go out or order in.

The National Restaurant Association conducted an online survey of 1,010 adults nationwide November 10-12, 2023.

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises nearly 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry’s largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart). For more information, visit and find @WeRRestaurants on TwitterFacebook and YouTube.