When should your food & beverage business be open this holiday season?

If you run an independent restaurant, bar, or cafe, you know there are certain points of the year when it’s prime time. The Super Bowl, for instance, or Valentine’s Day are days when sales can really go through the roof.

The holiday season certainly fits into that category, as consumers are out shopping and looking for a place to grab a bite or warm up with a cup of coffee. But what are the best days to be open?

Turns out, the day before Christmas Eve and the day before Thanksgiving are both bigger revenue days for local food and beverage shops than New Year’s Eve. Surprised? So were we.

Womply curates payment data for 4 million small businesses in all 50 states, so we have a powerful lens on local commerce. We thought it would be interesting to uncover consumer spending habits at local eateries during the holidays.

So, our Data Science team analyzed sales at local restaurants and food and beverage businesses during last November, December, and January and spotted the days where sales spiked above the seasonally-adjusted daily average. Here’s what we found for food and beverage shops like bars, coffee shops, cafes, and so forth:

Interestingly, December 23, which was the Friday before Christmas last year and the day before Christmas Eve, was the top sales day at 146% of daily revenue, followed by November 23, which was the day before Thanksgiving and saw a 39% spike in sales.

The sales lift local eateries see on these days makes sense. Nobody wants to cook right before Thanksgiving when families are in town together and a massive meal is in preparation, and December 23 is one of the top shopping days for local retailers, according to our data, so folks are out on the town and in a spending mood.

Still, we expected New Year’s Eve to carry the load. It’s still a respectable revenue day, with food and beverage businesses seeing a 31% bump in sales — making it the third-highest sales day of the season, as measured by daily percent increase — but it’s clearly not as big as days tied to holiday shopping or family gatherings.

Next, we looked at seasonally-adjusted revenue trends for small, independent restaurants. What we found was less conclusive:

We expected to see a lot of the same trends, with big spikes right before Thanksgiving and Christmas, and on New Year’s Eve. What we found was a consistent spike during the weekends, with no noticeable pattern tied to the holidays.

If you run a local restaurant, cafe, bar, or eatery, use this data to plan staffing and promotions so you can maximize your cut of the economic pie this holiday season. If you’d like to know the top holiday sales days for restaurants or food and beverage businesses in your state, drop us a line at press@womply.com and we’ll happily oblige.

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