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 your food and inventory, prepare your items or even train your staff for the day, without knowing 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 only specific selections or your normal menu. Which is the best for you? Let’s examine a few things to help make that decision.
What is the style of your restaurant?
Are you normally an all-you-can-eat buffet? If so then you will likely 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?
You might be surprised at how your target market can affect the decision you make. For example, a limited menu may not be as appealing to a family with small children. There would likely be little that the children enjoyed and the pricing would not be worth what was given. However, more upscale individuals 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 need to offer.
Are you strictly serving Thanksgiving Dinner or is it business as usual?
If you plan to be open all day then you will likely keep your regular menu and simply add a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner option. This is what your customers will expect from you. However, if you are only open for Thanksgiving Dinner, then it is more reasonable to expect that you will have a limited menu. Choosing this option will not be looked at negatively as that is your entire goal for opening for the day.
What are the demands on the staff?
If the Thanksgiving Dinner is going to require the full attention and work of the staff then it is likely that trying to incorporate the standard menu will be too much to handle. You should assess your staffing needs vs the amount of staff that you have. If you feel that you have plenty then you can do either option. If you feel that you would be shorthanded then it’s best to stick to a limited menu.
Do you have a bar?
Having a bar will play a role in your Thanksgiving menu options. How many people go out for drinks and want turkey and sides with it? If you plan to have your bar open then you will need to have some fare that your patrons will enjoy with their drinks. This could be as simple as hor d'oevres and appetizers, or as complex as complete meals.
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 more success from your Thanksgiving Day dinner.