In the months and weeks leading up to the winter holidays, we’ll be sharing tips to help restaurants prepare for the busiest time of the year. Check back for more ways to make this your best holiday season yet, and see all of our tips here!
Between private events, large groups, and a steady stream of celebratory guests, November and December are your busiest (and best) months of the year. Still, plenty of restaurants are on the fence when it comes to staying open on the holidays themselves. Is the demand really there from diners?
In a word, yes. We looked at 2015 data around Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve and found that each one saw an increase in covers compared to a typical day in the same month. (OpenTable restaurants, don’t forget to open your books if you plan to serve guests!)
Here’s what we saw:
No surprise here: covers skyrocketed on New Year’s Eve, when couples booked special tables for two and groups of friends rang in 2016 with Champagne toasts. Last year, New Year’s Eve covers were up 242% over a typical Thursday in December.
Perhaps more surprising are Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Covers were up 55% from an average Thursday in November on Thanksgiving, showing that a significant number of diners are happy to entrust professionals with their turkey and stuffing. And Christmas Eve saw an impressive 92% jump in covers compared to a typical Thursday.
WHEN DINERS BOOK
Here’s another insight. We looked at how far in advance diners book for each holiday and found that Thanksgiving trumps the rest, with diners booking 16 days out, on average. Christmas Eve was 12 days out, and New Year’s Eve was less, at 10 days out. By comparison, OpenTable diners book reservations about five days in advance on average.
Make the most of diner demand! To sign up for our upcoming holiday promos — including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve — log in to Restaurant Center, click on the Marketing tab, and select Seasonal Promos to choose a holiday and enroll. Don’t forget a personalized message for diners!