November 16, 2023
Lauren Platero

Make Catering Thanksgiving Dinner Easy With These 10 Tips

As the weather turns cold and the holidays are upon us, you may be deciding between catering Thanksgiving or preparing the feast yourself. For consumers, there are many ways that acatered Thanksgiving dinner can keep a house full of guests a stress-free experience. Meanwhile, there are just as many strategies that a business owner can leverage to maintain smooth restaurant operations during such a hectic season. 

Whether you’re a sous chef at a fine dining restaurant or a novice in the kitchen, catering Thanksgiving can offer the ultimate convenience. There’s little to no preparation, and you can focus more of your energy on enjoying the day just as much as everyone else. 

If you operate a restaurant business and are looking for an easy way to increase cash flow, catering holidays are the way to go. Since Thanksgiving is all about food and drinks, selling bundles is a sure way to boost inventory turnover as well as revenue. 

In this article, we’re going to discuss all the ways that Thanksgiving dinner catering can be easy for everyone. Continue reading for all the details!

Catering Thanksgiving Dinner: Making It Easy for Party Hosts 

Despite the cost and number of items in the order, catering Thanksgiving is the easy route to go. However, there are some steps that consumers can take to make the whole dining experience that much more organized and enjoyable. Read below for five tips on how to accomplish this:

1. Order Thanksgiving Dinner Online

Many restaurants that offer Thanksgiving catering services have a built-in storefront on their website to place such orders. If not, there’s a chance that you can use food delivery apps for the same purpose. It works just like ordering any other kind of food and beverages online. Plus, the digital payment processing methods are secure and out of the way.

2. Have a Final Headcount Well In Advance

Before placing a catering order, and we cannot stress this enough, get a final headcount of guests. If not, you’re at risk of two different issues. One, you might end up spending far too much money on food. Second, you might not get enough food. And if there’s one holiday where you don’t want to run out of food, it’s definitely Thanksgiving!

3. Learn of Any DIetary Restrictions ASAP

Many restaurants are able to prepare dishes for those with dietary restrictions and allergies. Just ensure that you mention any special instructions upon placing your order. If not, the restaurant may not be able to guarantee that everything will be safe for all your guests. In this case, you might need to check with other eateries to see who can accommodate everyone.

4. Make Sure You Have Ample Seating

Just like when hosts in eateries coordinate restaurant seating arrangements, those hosting at-home festivities need to do the same. Doing so will establish an inclusive place for everyone to dine together. Plus, it will also create room for all the dishes, glassware, centerpieces, and table settings.

5. Time All the Dishes Accordingly

Even though you’ll be receiving all the dishes at once from appetizers to desserts, you don’t want to serve everything at the same time. So, make sure that you have storage space at the appropriate temperatures to keep everything fresh. Chances are, you’ll be serving the bulk of your dishes at once. But if there are starters and refrigerated desserts, be mindful of where you can keep it all.

Catering Thanksgiving Dinner: Making It Easy for Restaurants 

Fulfilling catering orders during the week of Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. In fact, there are several strategies that restaurant staff can use to simplify the process entirely. Check them out below:

1. Create a Variety With Bundles 

A foolproof way to simplify kitchen operations is by selling Thanksgiving dinners as bundles. The way it would work is you would offer a few different selections featuring several sides, desserts, and a turkey. Then, they can be purchased in different sizes depending on the number of guests. This way, the restaurant will be earning a set minimum for every Thanksgiving order.

2. Hire Seasonal Staff Members

Once Thanksgiving rolls around, the season is quite busy. To completely dodge the risk of work overload or even worse, employee turnover, hire temporary staff. The extra labor is sure to come in handy when offering catering, whether it be in the kitchen or on the road delivering orders.

3. Prepare Dishes Well In Advance 

A regular three course meal requires a ton of preparation in the kitchen. So could you imagine Thanksgiving, where guests have several options? With this in mind, it’s ideal to prepare as much food as possible ahead of time. From peeling potatoes to mixing pie fillings, your freezer space is about to be filled to the brim.

4. Offer Delivery and Pick Up Options 

Alleviate some of the workload from your delivery drivers by also offering pick up options. But what about the customers that can’t retrieve their order themselves? No worries. You can still provide delivery for catering orders. Plus, you can take it one step further by setting up all the trays. By giving customers the options, there’s a chance that some of your staff won’t be as busy.

5. Stick to the Classics

Sure, it’s fun to get creative in the kitchen and include food trends on the menu. However, a catering menu for a traditional holiday is not the place for unconventional dishes. When people envision a classic Thanksgiving dinner, there’s probably several ideas they all have in mind. So, be sure to stick to American tradition for Thanksgiving to ensure a positive customer experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About Catering Thanksgiving

Catering Thanksgiving typically results in a festive and memorable holiday. And for hosts that are doing all the prep on their own, processes can be quite similar to those in a restaurant. In the following FAQ section, we’ll go over additional insight that could help you out. Whether you need to know what Thanksgiving catering consists of, or you’re creating the menu, we’ve got you covered!

See below: 

What Is Thanksgiving Catering?

Thanksgiving catering refers to the process of ordering food and beverages from a restaurant in order to host Thanksgiving. It's very popular for those who are hosting an off-premise Thanksgiving dinner, such as a corporate event. It’s also a popular service amongst people who are hosting the holiday for their friends and family who just have limited cooking experience or space.

What Do Thanksgiving Catering Services Offer?

Thanksgiving catering service offers turkey, side dishes, deserts, beverages, and delivery. Some Thanksgiving catering services also include things like plates, napkins, and utensils. The amount of food and extras you receive depends on the quantities you order. Or in other words, it’s dependent on the total number of guests.

How Do I Determine How Much Food to Order for Thanksgiving Catering?

To determine how much food to order for Thanksgiving catering, first consider how many guests will be present. Then, ensure that each guest can have a few slices of turkey, as well as a slice or scoop of each side dish and dessert. For obvious reasons, this will vary quite a bit from one catering order to the next. That’s why a final headcount is so important. If you can inform the restaurant of how many people you need to serve, they can help you determine how much food you need to purchase.

How to Do Thanksgiving With a Large Group?

If you're hosting Thanksgiving for a large group, a buffet might be the easiest way to serve everyone at once. Just ensure that you have a large enough dining space so that all your guests can eat together.

What Is a Good Menu for Thanksgiving Dinner?

A good menu for Thanksgiving dinner includes appetizers, a turkey, numerous side dishes, and festive desserts. Some of the best items you’ll find on a Thanksgiving dinner table include things like mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. However, the menu variations are endless and can be dependent on tradition and culture.

Catering Thanksgiving Dinner: Making Holidays Easy

When you move forward with catering Thanksgiving, a great sense of simplicity is bound to follow. Restaurant owners incur the profitability of simple recipes, standardized menus, and a high markup. Meanwhile, customers experience the luxury of all the dishes being ready to serve. It sure seems like the perfect combo for seamless holiday festivities!