Fast Food and Restaurant Chains Open on Christmas

IHOP and Applebees
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Big family gatherings and cooking Christmas Eve and Christmas Day feasts are not always the tradition for every family. A growing number of Americans prefer the no-muss-no-fuss tradition of dining in restaurants on December 24 and 25 instead.

The largest U.S. restaurant chains often have late opening and early closing times on holidays, so it's smart to find out what the hours are in advance. You can call your local favorite place to make sure, but this list will offer some guidance. Keep in mind that the hours of some franchise restaurants depend on the whims and wishes of their owners—another reason to call ahead. But this list can give you an idea of what to expect. 

The Effect of Holidays on the Restaurant Business 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are not the highest revenue-producing holidays for the restaurant industry as a whole, according to the National Restaurant Association. But that tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy because a significant number of restaurants choose to close or operate with shorter hours on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or both.

According to a survey by Nation's Restaurant News, only about 10 percent of Americans eat out on Christmas Eve, and that number drops even further to 6 percent on Christmas Day. Compare that to the 44 percent who generally eat and drink in a restaurant on New Year's Eve, and the 28 percent who depend on restaurants to help them get over their hangovers on New Year's Day each year. It's easy to see why Christmas Day restaurant openings don't seem like such a savvy retail marketing idea.

Restaurant chains like Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, and even McDonald's are generally closed by 8:00 p.m. on major holidays, if they open at all. That leaves only 24/7 restaurant chains like Denny's, IHOP, and Waffle House as Christmas dining out options. There's nothing wrong with eating a Christmas meal at any of these open restaurants, but these limited choices are part of the reason diners to tend to stay home and raid their own refrigerators on these holidays.

Still, according to diner surveys by Nation's Restaurant News and when you do the math, you'll find that even the small percentage of consumers who dine out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day works out to about 50 million people who are actively looking for some restaurant somewhere to fix and serve them at least one meal on these days. 

2018 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Restaurant Hours

The list is arranged in alphabetical order so you can easily find your favorite. 

Applebee'sMost are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 

Baker's SquareMost are open 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Benihana: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 

Bob Evans RestaurantsMost are typically closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve. 

Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse: Most are typically closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve. 

Bonefish GrillMost are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 

Boston Market: Many Boston Market shops are open Christmas Day. Check the website for a list of markets that are open.

Buca di Beppo Italian RestaurantsNormal hours are 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. but the chain has no standard holiday hours policy so call ahead. They often prepare order-ahead take out holiday meals.

Carrabba's Italian Grill: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 

Corner Bakery: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve.

Old Country Buffet: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve.

Cracker Barrel: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve. 

Del Taco: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve.

Denny’sMost are open 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Dickey's Barbecue PitMost are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve.

Fleming's Prime SteakhouseMost are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 

Golden Corral: Most Golden Corral restaurants are open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

HomeTown BuffetMost are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve.

Hooters: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 

Hurricane Grill & Wings: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 

IHOP: Most are open 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Jack in the Box: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve. 

McDonald's: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve.

Olive Garden: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced.  

Pizza Hut:  Pizza Hut is typically closed on Christmas Day, but hours vary by location.

Starbucks: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 

Steak ‘n Shake: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve.

TGI Friday’s: This chain closes on Christmas Day, but is typically open on Christmas Eve. 

Waffle House: Most are open 24/7, 365 days a year.