What is in this article?:
- Thanksgiving sales indicate strong holiday season for restaurants
- Online ordering on the rise
Boston Market, Cracker Barrel, Mimi's Café and others anticipate a strong December following Thanksgiving
Online ordering on the rise
Cyber Monday has also become a big day for chains with online ordering.
More consumers shopped online last weekend than in the past. The NRF said the average shopper spent $172.42 online over the weekend, or about 40 percent of the weekend’s spending, up from 37.8 percent last year. That figure didn’t include Cyber Monday, when online sales rose 17 percent over last year to $1.5 billion, according to online retail tracking firm comScore Inc.
Seattle-based Starbucks declined to give specifics, but a spokeswoman said the company was “exceptionally pleased” with sales over the weekend, and, in particular on Cyber Monday.
Last year, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Domino’s said Cyber Monday helped the chain reach its first week with 1 million orders through online and mobile ordering. The holiday season also includes three of Domino’s top five selling days: the day before Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
It’s too early to say how Domino’s did this year on Thanksgiving Eve, said chain spokesman Chris Brandon. But Domino’s is ramping up hiring for the busy holiday season, with franchise owners planning to add roughly one to five people per store — from delivery drivers to pizza makers.
Some restaurant chains waited until this week to promote online gift card sales. The Cheesecake Factory, based in Calabasas Hills, Calif., for example, began promoting its seasonal Peppermint Bark Cheesecake this week with a sweepstakes opportunity to win free cheesecake for a year. A free slice of cheesecake is available with the purchase of a $25 gift card or eGift card purchased online through Dec. 24, and the casual dining chain is also promoting the sale of whole cheesecakes that can be bought online and sent as a gift.
Other chains geared holiday promotions to time-starved consumers needing to feed larger gatherings through the holidays. Louisville, Ky.-based KFC, for example, this week launched a new Festive Feast package for $19.99 that includes an eight-piece meal along with four biscuits, two sides and a dozen chocolate-chip cookies — a new dessert offering for the quick-service chain.
Jack in the Box on Thursday debuted new Brownie Bites, the latest addition to the chain’s mini dessert menu that includes Mini Churros and Mini Cookies. Served warm and priced at five for $1 at participating locations, the brownies offer consumers a quick option for holiday potluck parties, the San Diego-based chain said.
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