Restaurants see spike in Thanksgiving meal pre-orders

Restaurants have seen a rush of pre-orders for Thanksgiving meals

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Across our country people are making tough decisions about how to safely celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

With one week to go, some restaurants are already prepping the turkey, gravy and collards to be re-heated and served at your table.

Pre-ordered meals are in high demand this year and for restaurant owners who’ve had a tough year, it’s a double-edged sword.

“It’s different going into Thanksgiving this year,” said Pine Valley Market owner Cristi Ferretti. “It was different early on because we didn’t know what to expect and I’d say it’s different now because we still don’t know what to expect.”

At Savor Southern Kitchen, owner Jeff Cousler said, “The phone has not stopped ringing, it’s just every ten minutes we’re getting calls and questions and orders.”

While Savor Southern Kitchen is still accepting pre-orders through Monday, Ferretti says they’ve already exceeded their total for last year at Pine Valley Market and had to stop accepting orders to make sure they have the time, supply and workforce to complete all the Thanksgiving feasts already paid for.

“We definitely have seen a trend in people ordering smaller amounts, ordering multiples of items in smaller sizes because they’re going to group people at their home in smaller groups,” Feretti said.

While they have stopped taking pre-orders, Ferretti says they’ll be making “extras of everything” and that the shelves and refrigerators will be stocked with holiday items for sale on a first come, first serve basis when they open Tuesday morning.

“I see a lot of kindness going around for our orders as well which is encouraging,” she said. “I also see a lot of people changing their orders in the last week to follow suit with what’s been recommended and I applaud that.”

Restaurant owners—like so many of us—face obstacles in being productive and profitable while following COVID-19 guidelines to stay safe as cases spike nationwide.

A higher volume of smaller orders generally equates to more work and slimmer profit margins.

“It worries me a lot to think that we’d have to go backwards after what we just came through. It’s extremely frustrating and scary,” Cousler said.

As of the publication of this story, the following restaurants were still accepting orders for Thanksgiving meals:

-Bluewater Grill

-Cast Iron Kitchen

-Henry’s Restaurant & Bar

-Hops Supply Co.

-Publix

-Whole Foods

If you’d like to have your restaurant or catering service added or removed from the list, please email Anna Phillips at annaphillips@wect.com.

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