With the average cost of a holiday meal prepared at home up 13 percent this year, an increasing number of restaurant chains are promoting take-home feasts as a cost-effective and time-saving alternative to cooking at home.
Some operators are offering take-home holiday dishes for the first time this season, while others are expanding their offerings, in part to take advantage of increased demand from consumers who are weary of climbing food prices at grocery stores.
The American Farm Bureau Federation estimated last week that the average cost of a Thanksgiving Day dinner this year is $49.20 for 10 people — 13 percent higher than last year’s average of $43.47.
That’s for a meal that includes turkey — the big ticket item at $21.57, almost $4 more this year — bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and coffee and milk.
Competing with the grocery store
Boston Market estimates that the average American family spends about $12.22 per person and more than six days planning and shopping to create a holiday meal.
The Golden, Colo.-based chain has long offered take-home dishes during the holidays, but this year is promoting the option as a more affordable solution, with meals offered for as low as $5.50 per person.
Boston Market’s website offers a cost comparison between its 11-pound turkey dinner with spinach-artichoke dip and crackers, mashed potatoes, vegetable stuffing, cranberry relish, gravy, dinner rolls and two pies, all to serve 12 people for $89.99, which breaks down to about $7.50 per person. The price of the ingredients for the same meal purchased from a Publix market in October totals $116.73, or $9.73 per person, Boston Market said.
The “cost of time lost with family and friends is not included,” Boston Market notes.