JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Millions of families across the U.S. aren't cooking a Thanksgiving meal this year.
Dining out on Thanksgiving is becoming a new tradition, according to the National Restaurant Association. Research shows this year 46 million Americans will dine out while shopping on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday.
"At the end of the day, you want to come together with your friends and enjoy yourself. There's a lot of things that come along with cooking at home," said Joe Corvelli, Beverage Manager at Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant at the St. Johns Town Center.
Corvelli knows the recipe for success during the holidays.
"Roasted turkey as well as baked ham, we have an Italian twist on pumpkin pie which is our pumpkin praline cheesecake," said Corvelli as he discussed the three-course meal being offered to families this Thanksgiving.
The NRA's survey found that 15 million in the U.S. plan to eat their Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant this year, 14 million more will order part of their meal to be eaten at home or someone else's home, and four million will order full take out.
Why the change? Some might say with Black Friday creeping in earlier and earlier every year, there's less time to spend in the kitchen.
Kate Barnette still plans on eating with the family at home this year, but her dinner is early in the afternoon, which means plenty of time for planning and Black Friday shopping.
"I do it for fun. I just think it's a great way to spend time with the family and kick off the season," said Barnette.
Some stores are planning on opening as early as 8 p.m on Thanksgiving. One in five workers will be spending the holiday with co-workers either in or outside of the office, according to Career Builder. That's the case for many restaurant employees, but Corvelli said Maggiano's employees also get a holiday meal while they're at work.
"A saying that we always say is, 'if you can't be with the ones you love, then love the ones you're with' and we are a family here at Maggiano's," added Corvelli.
You can find a list of restaurants open for Thanksgiving and the specials available by clicking here.
First Coast News