Restaurant Thanksgiving take-out meals selling out fast

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Thanksgiving is expected to be a big boost for restaurants.

Many of their holiday cooked meals for take-out are already sold out and reservations to dine-in are limited.

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There is tons of chopping and prepping inside the kitchen of Pagoda Floating Restaurant. The general manager John Teruya said they expect it to be a busy Thanksgiving day.

Teruya said, “Like two weeks ago, we sold out of our turkey feast. A week ago we sold out of our complete meals for two to-go. This week is the brunch, filled up also.”

Teruya said they still have dinner reservations but those are also going fast. They will be using the restaurant’s ballroom to accommodate more people. They will be staggering the tables by time in order to maintain at least six feet of social distancing between parties.

Restaurant operators said COVID changed how people dine. Many more are choosing to order take out than previous years.

COVID has also increase the cost of food, as well as caused headaches for restaurant operators who are trying to find more workers.

Teruya said, “The staffing, we were pretty fortunate but we did lose one or two. That does make a difference when you are doing 1,000 meals in just one day.”

The Ruby Tuesday Hawaii, Gyu Kaku Hawaii and Rainbow Drive-in Kalihi CEO Rick Nakashima said Thanksgiving is the momentum restaurants need to bounce back from a slowdown in the fall.

He expects the restaurants to be bustling with customers. He encourages people to order take-out if they have not yet made reservations or want to avoid long waits.

Nakashima said, “I think most of us, especially with less restaurants being open now, most of us will be really busy on Thanksgiving. So I would say try to pick up food and bring it back home and enjoy it there.”

Meanwhile at Foodland, the ready-to-eat holiday meals are sold out at certain locations.

“The best thing I would recommend is to call a store see if they have product if they have any available,” Foodland Chief Food Officer Keoni Chang said. “Then come down because we do require pre-payment for the meals.”

The grocery stores were already busy the weekend leading up to Thanksgiving, and Chang expects foot traffic to increase in the coming days.

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Chang said, “Wednesday it is going to be really busy and then Thursday morning we have that  normal rush to get the last minute things. The things that are really sort of perishable, or the things that everyone forgot.”

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