With the holiday season in full swing, the National Restaurant Association finds that 77 percent of consumers will cope with holiday demands by letting restaurants do some of their cooking during the coming weeks.

According to the Association’s new survey, 57 percent of consumers plan to go out to eat at a restaurant, while 50 percent plan to order takeout or delivery for a gathering at home during the holidays. One in four consumers plan to do both.

Their reasons for restaurant dining include:

  • 88 percent said dining out or ordering a meal from a restaurant is a good way to support businesses in their community during the holidays.
  • 82 percent said letting restaurants do the cooking is easy and reduces their stress.
  • 78 percent said a restaurant gives them an opportunity to socialize with family and/or friends and is a better use of their time than cooking and cleaning up.

“During the holidays—maybe more than any other time of the year—we work to make meaningful connections with people in our lives. The restaurants in our communities provide the space and the comfort to do that while sharing a meal,” says Michelle Korsmo, president and chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association. “The holiday season is important to restaurant operators and employees who work hard to make it special. When you choose restaurants, you get the flavors you crave without grocery shopping and preparation. You get familiar holiday dishes, without the dishes to wash. You get beloved traditions, without all the preparations. When you let restaurants do the cooking, restaurants let you take a holiday from the holidays.”

Convenience and loyalty were top of mind for most consumers when choosing a restaurant. A restaurant close to home was the top pick for 94 percent of consumers going out to eat and 91 percent planning to order out, and 81 percent of diners plan to dine in a restaurant they’ve often visited during the holidays, while 79 percent of diners will order out from one.

Deals and specials are also important to consumers when making holiday dining decisions, as a result of inflation. 89 percent of consumers who plan to dine in a restaurant and the same number who plan to order out will consider deals or specials to pick the restaurant. 60 percent of customers eating out and 66 percent of those planning takeout are making their choices based on marketing emails from restaurants, while 58 percent of people planning to eat out and 65 percent of those planning delivery or takeout say social media marketing will be a determining factor in their choice of restaurant.