They may have had their heyday in the 1970s but midweek dinner parties are having a comeback, thanks to the rise in numbers of people working from home.
Entertaining guests during the week is twice as common among so-called ‘hybrid’ workers – who split their time between the office and home – than it is among those who cannot do their job remotely, research suggests.
This is partly because flexible working gives people more time to prepare food for a weeknight dinner, according to a survey of 2,200 people by Ocado and Savanta ComRes.
More than half of those doing more weeknight entertaining said this also meant they were becoming more adventurous with what they cooked.
In the past, dinner guests might have included bosses that hosts were hoping to schmooze, or other colleagues, whereas people are now more likely to invite close friends or family.
Hybrid workers are more likely to host weekday dinner parties than those who always work at the office, research has found
Ocado said the number of delivery orders on weekdays – Wednesdays and Thursdays in particular – has shot up since the pandemic.
And the amount of wine and desserts sold then has also soared, with Wednesday being the most popular day of the week now for delivery of chocolate eclairs.
The continuation of working from home that started during the height of the pandemic has been controversial.
The average office-based employee is spending three or more days working remotely, according to data from consultants Advanced Workplace Associates.
With more time to prepare food at home for guests, hosts are also becoming more adventurous with what they cook, according to the study
Before Covid lockdowns, people spent an average of 1.2 days out of the office.
Laura Harricks, chief customer officer at delivery service Ocado Retail, said: ‘Although we’ve seen demand increase across the board since before the pandemic, our midweek and middle-of-the-day slots have outperformed the rest.
‘The supporting research certainly suggests that there’s a link between working from home and entertaining earlier in the week.’