Should You Have a Limited Menu On Thanksgiving Day?

Planning Thanksgiving Day for your restaurant requires a lot of work. Before much of that work can begin you have to decide on your menu. It is impossible to order food, prepare supplies, and even train your staff, if you don't know exactly what you will be serving. One of the biggest questions you may have is what type of menu you should have. There are three basic ways that you can serve food on Thanksgiving. You can have a buffet style meal, a limited menu with specific selections, or a full menu. Which is the best for you? Let’s examine a few things to help make that decision.

What is the style of your restaShould You Have a Limited Menu On Thanksgiving Day?urant?

Are you normally an all-you-can-eat buffet? If so then you will probably want to choose to continue that tradition with a Thanksgiving buffet. However, if you are a sit-down restaurant that takes orders then you have to choose between a limited or full menu. Much of this decision can be based on the style of your restaurant and what your clientele might expect from you.

What is your target market?

As with all your restaurant decisions, your target market will be the basis for most of the decisions you make. For example, a limited menu may not be as appealing to a family with small children. There may not be enough items for younger children to choose from, and whatever they choose may be overpriced given the constraints of a limited menu. However, more upscale clientele might appreciate a limited menu and find it alluring. When you look at the clientele you hope to attract, it will tell you a lot about what you should or should not be offering.

Are you only serving Thanksgiving Dinner or is it business as usual?

If you plan to be open all day then you may want to keep your regular menu and simply add a traditional Thanksgiving dinner option. However, if you are only opening later in the day for Thanksgiving dinner, then folks may look forward a limited menu of traditional or non-traditional favorites, depending on your venue. This is especially true if the competition in your area does the same thing. With a limited menu you can offer fewer, specialized items and charge less as a result. 

What are the demands on the staff?

Since serving Thanksgiving dinner is going to require the full attention of your staff, trying to incorporate your standard menu with your Thanksgiving menu may be too much to handle. Assess your staffing needs for this particular holiday and if you expect to have plenty of staff, then you may be able to pull off either option. However, if you think that you may be shorthanded then it’s best to stick to a limited menu.

Do you have a bar?

If you have a bar on your premises, you may need to make some changes to your standard daily fare to accomodate the holiday crowd. Often, Thanksgiving day features games that people may want to watch at a bar over drinks and some food. A full turkey dinner may not be in the cards for these customers, but some items with the flavor of Thanksgiving will certainly be appreciated. So, knowing your target market will help you decide on the type of menu to offer, along with any new twists on spirits for Thanksgiving day.

Regardless of what type of menu you select, it is important to remember that you have to appeal to your target customers. Always keep them in mind when you are making your decisions and you will find that your Thanksgiving Day dinner is a big success.

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