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Restaurant owners benefiting from families staying home for Thanksgiving

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BATON ROUGE – A week before Thanksgiving, the CDC is recommending against traveling for the holiday. The agency says staying at home with immediate family is the best way to stay safe as coronavirus cases are rising.

The change in tradition is actually helping the restaurant industry.

“In the last week and a half, we really started to soar with orders, and now we have to catch up,” said Justin Ferguson, chef at BRQ Seafood and Barbeque.

Thanksgiving is already the busiest day for the catering restaurant, but this year is taking the cake. Nearly 200 to-go Thanksgiving meals have already been ordered, which is more than they sold last year.

“We still have them coming in. I just checked my email and orders are still popping up and calling in,” Ferguson said. "They're going to pull up to BRQ, we’re going to stand here ready with your food, you're going to sign it and stay in your vehicle. It's going to be really safe, and that's going to be the key this year.”

The influx in orders will mean extra work for the restaurant workers. Some orders are requesting the food to be individually wrapped to avoid a group grabbing food from the same bowl.

"My management team will get here Wednesday morning, and we won't leave until Thursday night. So we pretty much do a 40-hour run to keep up,” Ferguson said.

The demand is coming at a good time. Restaurant owners dealing with COVID restrictions are glad to see customers seeking their service.

"We're really happy. Who knows what the next few weeks are going to bring with everything going on. So we just want to do the best job we can so everyone can have an enjoyable Thanksgiving experience,” Ferguson said.

The owner of Bergeron’s City Market says Thanksgiving will be one of the busiest days for them as well. After Thursday, they're not taking anymore Thanksgiving orders. They've hit capacity and plan to cook 2,000 pounds of turkey.

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