In a typical year, most full-service restaurants would find themselves completely booked up with New Year’s Eve reservations by Dec. 29. Today, most are facing capacity limits or full bans on on-premise dining as we head into one of the busiest nights of the year for the industry.
Fortunately, there is a bright spot. In lieu of reservations, guests are placing takeout orders – and further in advance than years’ past.
Leading up to the Christmas holiday, Paytronix data showed advance orders for New Year’s Eve had tripled over the same period in 2019. While it’s unlikely that overall takeout orders on Dec. 31 will triple, the data does indicate that guests were placing their orders much earlier than usual. This may be indicative of the shift from reservations to online orders.
This year’s advance orders, while more plentiful, are generally smaller in size than in years past, most likely due to fewer catering orders for large, private parties.
In 2019, relatively few orders were placed before Dec. 25, but those that were averaged high check totals. Orders placed more than 8 days in advance last year had check sizes between $500 and $3,000, while 2020 has seen smaller checks – from $40 to $400 – placed anywhere from two to eight days in advance.
This likely means that while there are few parties planned to ring in 2021, many guests still plan to keep up tradition and celebrate with a nice meal in small groups at home.