Eating out on Thanksgiving

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Many businesses close their doors for the Thanksgiving holidays and with the holiday’s emphasis on food, most people would think restaurants would see their patronage evaporate.

But Golden Corral is among a small number of restaurants that will buck that trend by extending its hours for the holiday season.

The restaurant will begin serving takeout meals at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning with business hours extending from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for one of the busiest days of the year.

“We provide a service for the community because there are a lot of people that don’t cook anymore so you have a big market out there with a big audience and not a lot of other places are open and our workers really depend on it,” said restaurant manager Lonnie Smith.

Randy McKinney has always worked in the restaurant business and explains there is nothing better than seeing the joy and satisfaction someone receives when they come in for a Thanksgiving meal.

“I think maybe it is about seven minutes that you will see the most wholesome, the most fun-loving, noncaring in- a- good- way look on people’s faces. Just before a meal you get to see the best of a person,” said McKinney who is a cook at the restaurant.

Other employees also see the value in being open through the holiday.

“Our business is really busy and we do have a lot of families that get together because as you see now-a-days it is not a traditional thing with a lot of families as to where granny cooks or mama cooks and everybody comes to the house,” said server Carol Teague.

According to Smith many of his workers volunteer to work on holidays such as Thanksgiving because they depend on the extra income and enjoy being able to splurge the day after on Black Friday sales.

“I think it is the benefit of them making extra money and we have several in here that leave beaten up, with tip money and go Christmas shopping. Maybe they do Thanksgiving on Friday,” said Smith.

Over the years McKinney explains restaurants have become more popular with families throughout the region beginning to stray from the holiday tradition of home-cooked meals and gathering at home for the holidays.

“I think families are moving away from the traditional thing of cooking at home and I miss that because when I was little that is what we did. Thanksgiving back then was bigger than Christmas because family meant so much back then and right after that you did Christmas for the giving,” said MçKinney.

Workers explain changing the homestyle tradition is not all bad and seeing the increase within their restaurant on this day has been both a customer-service and family-oriented experience.

Families come in large numbers and get to enjoy a good meal and don’t have to worry about cleaning up after which is beneficial to the party.

Golden Corral workers say they like spending their holiday with families and sharing the joy of giving on this day. But it can also be hard not being able to spend it with their own families.

Each worker finds another day throughout the week to spend the holiday season with their families and friends to makeup for the day they work.

“It bypasses the stress out there. The hustle and bustle of Black Friday, hustle and bustle of preparing meals and you can ease back a little bit and not have to worry about it as much. I think that is why families are coming here to eat instead of cooking,” said McKinney.


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