Some 30 million Americans celebrated Thanksgiving at restaurant tables or over takeout meals last year, according to the National Restaurant Association. The trend is growing as consumers' lives get busier, restaurant consultant Bob Welcher said. For many eateries, opening on Thanksgiving pays off more in goodwill than profits. "It’s not a lucrative part of our business, just a way to be more of a part of what customers are doing," said Stan Riley, owner of Holy Smoke Barbecue.

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