CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire craft beverage industry is getting some help with improving its energy efficiency and reducing waste.
A program under the state Department of Environmental Services has received a two-year grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant. The program will partner with electric and gas utilities to provide technical assistance to businesses producing beer, wine, mead, cider and hard seltzer.
The program also will partner with the New Hampshire Brewers Association, University of New Hampshire Brewing Program and the New Hampshire Craft Spirits Association to offer training and educational materials.
By: Mia Summerson, Sentinel Staff
Over the summer, Keene restaurants were able to make use of outdoor seating to offset some of the revenue they lost due to COVID-19-related restrictions and closures. But with temperatures dropping and virus cases soaring, these businesses face a new round of challenges.
On Wednesday, Luca Paris, owner of Luca’s Mediterranean Cafe, hosted a Zoom meeting for Keene restaurants to discuss some of their struggles and how to respond when a staff member tests positive for the coronavirus. The meeting was joined by city officials, who have been working with eateries to help them navigate the pandemic.
“With the change of the weather and the uptick in numbers that people are commenting on, we’re finding that people are coming out less,” Paris said during the meeting. “So for us, our shift has been towards a to-go system more than in-house [service].”
By: Kristen Carosa, WMUR
Owners hoping to reemerge stable in spring
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Some Granite State restaurants are making the tough decision to close their businesses during the winter because of the COVID-19 pandemic. News 9 spoke with two business owners about why they will not open their doors again until the spring.
Kath Gallant from Blue Moon Evolution in downtown Exeter has owned the restaurant from more than two decades.
“I think the last 6 months working have been the most challenging in our 25 years,” Gallant said. “I was what they call ‘bleeding out’ in the past 6 weeks and my expenses were more than my income.”
Because of COVID-19, she has made the decision to close until April. Employees will be furloughed, many will receive unemployment.
“The hope is the whole team can come back to a stable business come spring,” Gallant said.
President of the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association Mike Somers said other restaurants are in the same situation.
“There are a lot of downward pressures, sales are off for a lot of people, finding enough staff to keep operations even at limited capacities has become challenging depending on the area of the state you are in,” Somers said.
By: Judi Currie, Business NH Magazine
Revenue is down, expenses are up, and with layers of federal, state and local regulations driven by the pandemic, restaurants face a long, cold winter.
New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association President and CEO Mike Somers says he doesn’t have hard statistics but estimates that more than 200 NH restaurants have gone out of business since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
State mandates abruptly closed restaurants in March and gradually reopened them through the summer under a variety of restrictions that left them well below capacity. To survive, restaurants experimented with takeout options, social media campaigns and online ordering. A saving grace for some was creating outdoor seating. But as tents come down and picnic tables are stowed, restaurants must maximize indoor options and overcome the biggest challenge: making customers feel safe.
“According to the National Restaurant Association, 100,000 restaurants have closed in this country since March. That’s one in six,” says Tom Boucher, owner and CEO of Bedford-based Great NH Restaurants, which employs almost 1,000 people and includes T-BONES, CJ’s, Cactus Jack’s and Copper Door.
The National Restaurant Association estimates the industry will lose $240 billion by the end of the year. Boucher says he expects the closures will be worse in colder climates such as NH’s.
By: Alexander LaCasse, Portsmouth Herald
DURHAM – Husband-and-wife team Doug and Kim Clark took over a historically family-owned diner dating back a century, Young’s Restaurant, in the spring. They have aimed to seamlessly weave their newly named establishment, Clark’s American Bistro, into the fabric of downtown by offering a place where students and residents alike can come together and be comfortable.
Kim, the director of career and professional success at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at UNH, has lived in town with Doug for the entirety of their 25-year marriage. She said the Young family told her and her husband, a lifelong Durham resident, they were delighted to pass the restaurant space onto them after they retired in May, and Kim and Doug opened Clark's in August.
By: Kimberly Houghton, Union Leader Correspondent
The City Room Cafe, a popular breakfast spot in Nashua, will close its doors until spring.
“Our restaurant has been around for 35 years. It is like the little ‘Cheers’ of Nashua,” said owner Terry Wade. “Unfortunately, the charm of our little quaint place is now the stigma that is killing us.”
Because of the pandemic and a lull in business since outdoor dining subsided, Wade said she closed the restaurant Sunday and will save her money with the intention of reopening in the spring.
“This Sunday I took a picture of an empty dining room at 9:30 in the morning when normally we would have had a line out the door. It is just so depressing to watch,” she said, adding Thanksgiving is typically her busiest week of the year.
When the pandemic started and restaurants were closed, Wade said she was optimistic about the situation and took the time to work on some overdue maintenance projects.
She repainted the inside of the restaurant, updated the waitstaff area, repainted the tables and invested in new seating. When things still weren’t back to normal, Wade said she decided to renovate the kitchen area, replace shelving and purchase a new range and fryolator.
By: Tim Callery, WMUR Reporter
MANCHESTER, N.H. — It has been a month since the state started requiring restaurants to gather information from patrons to help with contact tracing. News 9 spoke with the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association about if the process has been helpful.