Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s a time that families and friends are drawn together to give thanks for all that we have—each other—and to cherish our loved ones by reveling in their company through food, drink and the occasional football game. The only part that pains me is the days, and sometime weeks, of planning and preparing that go into crafting the perfect Thanksgiving meal. I don’t think I’m alone here either; I’ve spoken with more than a few friends, relatives and colleagues in the past weeks who feel the same way. It seems that more and more families—even those who value tradition—are taking different approaches to the holiday: pot luck, carryout meals, and even restaurant dining. The mindset that drives the deviation from traditional cooking goes something like, “Why spend an entire day (or more) in the kitchen working on a meal when I could be enjoying conversing and connecting with the friends and family that Thanksgiving is all about?” It’s this trend that we’re catering to when we say, “Forget the cooking—just invite your people and set your table.”
It’s with all of that in mind that Bread & Butter Concepts (BBC) has endeavored to make this our second Thanksgiving offering a prepared Thanksgiving Feast, packaged and ready for carryout. BBC began our Thanksgiving Feast for Home because Alan Gaylin (Founder & CEO of BBC) and I, both of us very busy individuals, separately inquired with the chefs at Gram & Dun to sell us family-sized portions which we took home to our respective families for Thanksgiving dinner. We didn’t want to take up seats in our restaurants because of the Plaza lights crowd, so instead we took the food home.
Alan and I got to talking (and laughing) about our similar approaches, and then put some serious thought to the idea. Were we the only ones in Kansas City who felt the tug of time during the busy holiday season? Were there others who could benefit from the privilege we had afforded ourselves due to our connections with the restaurant industry? Then we started looking into it. We noticed that certain grocery stores and Dean & Deluca sell Thanksgiving meals to go, so we thought, “Why can’t Bread & Butter Concepts offer a really good, restaurant-quality meal for carryout on Thanksgiving?” And not just pre-packaged food, but local, restaurant-quality food (every item made from scratch) at a fair price. It seemed a no-brainer to us. Or maybe we were just making it easier for ourselves to skip the whole cooking thing… Either way, we thought we better try it and see what came of it.
So, last year, we did it. We did a little advertising to let people know they had other options, and we ended up selling just over 60 Thanksgiving Feast orders. It wasn’t a huge number, but it was enough to tell us that with the little promotion we could probably serve a larger audience. So this year we’re doing it again, and we’re hoping to double last year’s number while also making pick-up more convenient by offering it at three of our locations—making the Thanksgiving Feast even more time-friendly.
When we drilled down the demographics of who orders "Thanksgiving meals to-go,” it came down to what type of “Eater” the host of the holiday meal is, there are all kinds of eaters out there: Functional Eaters, Foodservice Hobbyists, Busy Balancers, Bargain Hunters, Affluent Socializers, and then Health Enthusiasts and Habitual Matures. BBC’s Thanksgiving Feast from Home, really hits home with the majority of "Eater" types during Thanksgiving.
Functional Eaters and Bargain Hunters, typically males, are looking for a good deal and to fuel their bodies, both of which we can accommodate. Food Hobbyists, typically moms, also “get" the value and feel comfortable with our brands, influencing them to “call it in” on Thanksgiving. Socializers and Busy Balancers may just plain not have time to make a big meal or find a reservation, but we hope they can find a minute to call us with their order. Habitual Matures, the smallest percentage of the Eater population, may labor in the kitchen because that’s tradition, but they’re also very loyal to certain restaurants and familiar foods, so the BBC Thanksgiving Feast could be a perfect fit for them as well.
The last eater type—the Health Enthusiasts—makes up about 12 percent of Eaters, according to Technomic, and will be buying free range turkey and laboring in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. Current trends also find these folks preparing less traditional items, especially vegetarian menus including items like Quinoa-Stuffed Squash, Whipped Sweet Potatoes topped with pecans vs. the traditional marshmallow topping, Heirloom Carrots, or Thanksgiving favorite bread stuffing made with Swiss Chard or Kale, and don’t forget orange-cranberry sauce.
Whatever eater type you are, BBC invites you to let us do the hard word for you this Thanksgiving. With me being a Busy Balancer, I know my family will be sitting down at our dining room table with a BBC Thanksgiving Feast, and we’ll all be thankful we didn’t have to spend the whole day cooking. And when the meal’s over and we’re ready to relax and enjoy the afternoon, I will be extra thankful for my dishwasher. However you get your meal on the table this year, the folks at BBC would like to wish you a very happy and relaxing Thanksgiving. Make sure you give yourself the time to put your feet up—you deserve it.
Tara Van Loenen is the VP of Marketing & Branding for Bread & Butter Concepts where she’s been a driving force in branding each of the concepts since BBC’s inception in 2009.