Happy New Year! A week ago, crowds swarmed restaurants and bars, staying up until midnight to watch the ball drop in New York City and sing Auld Lang Syne.
December 31 is the last day of one of the busiest months for restaurateurs, and it certainly ends with a bang — literally, with fireworks. Let’s explore exclusive data from Toast to learn how restaurants fared on to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Our hypothesis was that restaurant sales on New Year’s Eve would rise dramatically, especially at the end of the day.
We saw that New Year’s Eve was busier than New Year’s Day – perhaps because New Year’s Day is a federal holiday – and many restaurants were closed.
On New Year’s Eve, restaurant sales did increase — but not by a significant amount. Restaurant sales increased 5% on New Year’s Eve this year, compared to average December sales excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It seems more people opted to snuggle up and to sip champagne from the comfort of their own home this year.
On New Year’s Day, restaurant sales decreased 72%. Likely many restaurants were closed and many regular diners enjoyed a lazy (read: hungover) Monday.
But wait – were more people ordering online? Perhaps families ordered dinner from their favorite restaurant on New Year’s Eve, or ordered lunch on New Year’s Day?
Unfortunately, we found the answer was no: there were 18% less online orders on New Year’s Eve and 75% less online orders than average on New Year’s Day.
Restaurant Sales By the Hour on New Year’s Eve and Day
Sales on New Year’s Eve peaked at 1 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m., and continued with strong momentum throughout the rest of the night.
Sales at 11 p.m., for example, were higher than sales at 4 and 5 p.m.! Likely many restaurants and bars stayed open until midnight to celebrate the New Year.
On New Year’s Day, we saw sales peak at midnight New Year’s Day, and then sink until mid-day at 1 and 2 p.m., when many diners were likely hungry for brunch. Sales peaked once again at 6 and 7 p.m. for dinner.
Restaurant Sales By State New Year’s Eve
We assumed that the state with the most restaurant sales would be New York. However, according to Toast data, restaurants in California, Massachusetts, and Florida drove the most restaurant sales, with New York taking the number four spot.
The top 10 states that saw the most sales on New Year’s Eve 2018 were:
The top 10 states that saw the most sales on New Year’s Day 2019 were:
Restaurants Open vs. Closed on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
Was your restaurant open or closed on New Year’s Eve? How about New Year’s Day? We found that 75% of Toast restaurants were open on New Year’s Eve.
Only 28% of Toast restaurants were open on New Year’s Day — perhaps because New Year’s Day is a federal holiday, and many restaurateurs gave their staff the day off after a long night.
Average Restaurant Tip and Ticket Size
If you do have to pick up a shift on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, at least you’ll get good tips, right?
Right! The average tip on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is 20% — well above the recommended 15% for average service.
Ticket sizes– the sub-total on a guest's check – also increased on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Bigger parties likely contributed to an increase in overall guest spend.
There was a 12% increase in average ticket size on New Year’s Eve.
There was a 25% increase in average ticket size on New Year’s Day
How Did Your Restaurant Celebrate New Year's?
How did your restaurant ring in the New Year? Did you stay open and party with the regulars, or did you close shop to spend time with family? Did you see an increase in sales, tips, or average check size?
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