Navigating the Thanksgiving Rush: Challenges and Triumphs of Serving Traditional Alcoholic Drinks in Restaurants and Bars

Nov 23 / Dustin the Turkey
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As Thanksgiving approaches, the anticipation of family gatherings and festive feasts is palpable. For those working in restaurants and bars, however, this time of year also brings a unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to serving traditional alcoholic drinks. From managing the surge in customer demand to handling the complexities of crafting time-honored cocktails, the Thanksgiving season can be both exhilarating and demanding for those in the hospitality industry.

The Surge in Customer Demand:

One of the most significant challenges faced by restaurant and bar staff during the Thanksgiving season is the sudden influx of customers. Families and friends come together to celebrate, leading to crowded establishments and heightened expectations. This surge in demand can put a strain on resources, testing the efficiency and resilience of service teams.

How to Deal:

  • Prioritize and streamline service: Focus on essential tasks to ensure smooth operations during peak hours.
  • Communicate effectively: Foster clear communication among staff to avoid misunderstandings and enhance teamwork.
  • Stay organized: Implement efficient workflows and maintain a well-organized workspace to handle increased orders.

Crafting Traditional Cocktails:

Thanksgiving is a time when patrons often seek comfort in familiar flavors and traditional drinks. Crafting classic cocktails like mulled wine, hot buttered rum, and cranberry-infused concoctions requires precision and expertise. The demand for these specialty drinks can be overwhelming, leading to potential difficulties in maintaining quality and consistency.

How to Deal:

  • Pre-plan and prep: Anticipate the increased demand for traditional cocktails and pre-plan by prepping ingredients in advance.
  • Train staff: Ensure that your team is well-versed in crafting these specialty drinks, providing training sessions if necessary.
  • Offer a simplified menu: Consider featuring a curated selection of traditional cocktails to streamline the ordering process and maintain quality.

Dealing with Intoxicated Patrons:

The holiday season often sees an uptick in alcohol consumption, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Dealing with intoxicated patrons can be challenging, requiring tact, professionalism, and a commitment to ensuring a safe and enjoyable environment for all customers.

How to Deal:

  • Monitor alcohol consumption: Keep a close eye on patrons and implement responsible service practices to prevent overconsumption.
  • Train staff on intervention: Equip your team with the skills to identify signs of intoxication and intervene appropriately.
  • Offer alternative options: Suggest non-alcoholic beverages for patrons who may need to pace themselves or opt for a lighter experience.


While working in restaurants and bars during Thanksgiving presents its share of challenges, it also offers an opportunity for hospitality professionals to showcase their skills and create memorable experiences for patrons. By anticipating the surge in demand, mastering the art of crafting traditional cocktails, and effectively handling intoxicated patrons, service teams can navigate the Thanksgiving rush with finesse and leave a lasting impression on their guests. Cheers to a successful and rewarding holiday season in the world of hospitality!
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