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Beer restaurant thanksgiving blackout wednesday

In recent years, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving has been deemed “Blackout Wednesday,” in reference to a higher number of people frequenting restaurants and bars—and consuming more alcohol—on the night before Turkey Day. But is this actually a verifiable trend, or just an urban legend? And how should restaurants prepare? Upserve, a restaurant point of sale & management platform, analyzed data from nearly 3,000 restaurants in 2016 and saw a  23 percent increase in overall restaurant sales on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, compared to the week prior.

The menu items getting the biggest lift were beer and liquor. Vast quantities of it, in fact.

  • Overall beer sales increased the by 270 percent, and growler sales grew the most—a whopping 658 percent.

  • Liquor sales were also up, by an average of 114 percent.

  • Despite this massive growth, there was only an 18 percent increase in the number of checks— meaning that a small portion of people are driving a lot of alcohol sales.

  • Drinking outweighed eating by leaps and bounds: Food orders only increased by 28 percent.

    charcuterie board with glass of wine

    Seasonality is one food trend you can put your money behind - seasonal menus see 26% more orders, after all. Learn the ins and outs.

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And offering even more proof that Thanksgiving Eve revelers care more about quantity over quality–the sole booze-related menu “loser” for this night was the “wine by the glass” category item, which dropped by 27 percent compared to prior weeks.

Blackout Wednesday Week Over week Restaurant Sales

The key takeaway from these findings is that Blackout Wednesday seems to be living up to its name.

Beer Liquor Wine restaurant sales thanksgiving

Restaurants planning to stay open and welcome in the crowds this Thanksgiving Eve should prepare to stock up on growlers and liquor, and staff up on bartenders and servers, though it’s probably a safe bet to give the sommelier the night off. Webstaurantstore’s blog has some additional tips on how restaurants can prepare for Thanksgiving Eve here.

Check out Upserve’s guide to restaurant seasonal trends!

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When she's not debating with her young sons about which Star Wars character is the best one, Carol Lin is likely to be ordering a Lychee martini and spicy tuna roll at her neighborhood sushi joint. She loves controversial (but delicious) foods like foie gras and haggis, and believes there’s few problems that a conversation over buffalo wings and cold beer can’t solve.
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