Restaurants packed with people for Thanksgiving, fulfilling ‘triple’ the to-go orders

Owners say more people are going out or buying to-go to avoid the hassle of cooking.
Restaurant owners say people are picking up food so they have a full meal in their own home without the hassle of cooking.
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 4:50 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It is Thanksgiving and that means a whole lot of food to enjoy for the family.

Restaurant owners say more people are choosing to go out for the holiday, but they say even more people are picking up food so they have a full meal in their own home without the hassle of cooking.

”I got a fried turkey. Deep fried. And I got sausage stuffing and a little bit of gravy,” Kim Johnson said while picking up food from New South Kitchen. “Just for convenience. I plan on making a few of my own sides, but I figured if I get the turkey and dressing out of the way I’m gold.”

Johnson did what many who came through New South Kitchen’s doors did - picked up big brown bags filled with food.

The restaurant prepared the food, taking the work out of the Thanksgiving meal. It’s something owner Chris Edwards said he’s seen more and more of over the years.

”Our to-go business almost tripled over the past three years, starting with the year before the pandemic, through the pandemic and then since the pandemic,” he said. ”The volume is crazy and every year we say we don’t think we can do more and we seem to get more more and more the next year.”

Edwards believes the flood of orders comes from people wanting to eat in the comfort of their own homes without actually having to mess up the kitchen.

”It’s a lot of pressure, a lot of work,” he said. “A lot of expense to buy all the food cook it at your house for everybody when you can just go out, pick it up, take it home, reheat it and everything’s done.”

This Thanksgiving, and all the other ones before it, Edwards said he is thankful for all the support from every person whether in the restaurant or enjoying at home.

”That’s really cool because we have a lot of the same people that come and do this every year,” he said. “We’ve kinda become part of their Thanksgiving tradition.”

Johnson said she is thankful for it too as dinner mostly prepared means more time with her son.

”Just having some delicious food and no stress,” she said when talking about the benefit of buying food. “Just enjoying each other’s company.”

Related: “It was better than expected”: Busy airport travel day ahead of Thanksgiving