ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic and with only takeout and limited patio dining, they’re doing what they can to boost business during the holidays. Many restaurants are offering family-sized, to-go holiday meals to hopefully make some extra income during a tough year. O’Neill’s is doing it for the first time this year after having success selling to-go, Thanksgiving meals.

“That was such a success even though it was a shotgun start that at the end of the day, the day before Thanksgiving, we decided we have to do this for Christmas because the response was overwhelming,” said Jeff Trent, Operations Manager at Oneill’s. “This will be supplemental but it’s still something we feel like in the current situation we would have to do.”

From O’Neill’s to Monroe’s, to D.H. Lescombes, to O’hares in Rio Rancho, a number of businesses are offering the to-go holiday meals for the first time as a way to make extra income during the pandemic. While Trent said they are doing well with the limited patio dining, he said the income from the holiday meals will help them give employees more hours to work. Many businesses said they are seeing a good response to the to-go meals.

“We’re incredibly appreciative for the support that our guests have shown us,” Trent said. Other restaurants, who have done the to-go holiday meals in past meals, said they are noticing an increase in their sales this year.

“Amazed, and thankful. Very very thankful that the community has reached out to us,” said Manuel Mancillas, who goes by Chef Manny and is the Executive Chef at The Acre. “It definitely goes towards the bottom line but we have interest in bringing back employees and this helps take us closer to that mark and to that goal.”

The Range Cafe says they are seeing an uptick in holiday meal sales this year compared to years past. The restaurants said customers are buying these meals to support local businesses, avoid long grocery lines, or are having a smaller holiday celebration and do not need or want to cook a big meal. Many also saythey are already planning on keeping the to-go holiday meals around for next year after seeing the success of them this year.

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