Dining in or out? Rising food costs leave families weighing out their options this Thanksgiving holiday


SALISBURY, Md. – What’s probably just as important as what’s on your menu this Thanksgiving holiday is the price you’re going to pay for it.

The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates a dinner for 10 people will cost $66.40, up 24% from last year. “Number one labor costs are up for all through the supply chain. So those manufactured goods they’re paying higher labor costs for,” Hickman said.

“Or even vegetables. We’ve seen the drought conditions particularly in the American West impacting that.”

If you’re looking to stay away from the kitchen, Market Street Inn in Salisbury will celebrate its 20th year of serving Thanksgiving dinner including a $38 all you can eat option. “So, there was a lot of running on our part with going to the stores and finding cranberry sauce on sale, hams on sale, turkeys are on sale. Trying to keep that price point somewhat,” Owner Rob Mulford said.

“Probably even if I was at $45 a person, I would just barely be breaking even with the cost of food, the cost of labor.”

The question now is which option is more affordable?

Salisbury University Beacon Director John Hickman says locally you can expect a $15 difference from eating in compared to eating out. “To go to sort of the buffet type options locally, you’re looking at probably about 4 to 5 times the cost of making that meal at home,” Hickman said.

Market Street Owner Rob Mulford is hoping customers will look to convenience and also know that they’re keeping prices reasonable while making sure they can stay afloat. “So, we’re really preparing for after the holidays a rough time. We’ll probably have very different hours and when we’ll cook because you really can’t afford to waste food or over schedule on labor,” Mulford said.

The BEACON Department at Salisbury University says those labor and transportation costs are showing up mostly in the processed food options, as they’re up 16% compared to fresh veggies at about 8%

Market Street Inn is also providing a take-out turkey dinner option for $175, averaging a little over $14 for a family of 12.

Experts also advise that if you do choose to stay home, know the exact amount of people you’re cooking for to avoid overspending on food you might not even eat.

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