By: Pat Grossmith, Granite State News Collaborative
MANCHESTER, NH — Restaurants across the state are gearing up to open outdoor dining areas on May 18 amid growing concern of how to ensure the public and staff’s safety and whether there will be enough customers to make it financially viable.
Tom Boucher, CEO-owner of Great NH Restaurants Inc., said he plans to open outdoor dining at all nine of his restaurants which include T-Bones, CJ’s, Cactus Jack’s and the Copper Door located in Manchester, Bedford, Derry, Nashua and Salem.
Only one, T-Bones in Salem, doesn’t have a patio so the plan is to rent a tent, tables and chairs and set up a site in the parking lot.
All of the other restaurants, he said, also will feature tent dining in parking lots to expand seating capacity.
At The Copper Door in Bedford, he said the existing outdoor area will be able to seat 24 while there should be about 50 seats under the tent, all with appropriate distancing.
Asked if the new outdoor dining would be financially viable for his business, Boucher said, “No. How’s that for a quick answer? No, it’s not. Quite frankly, we have been losing money every single week this has been happening, quite a substantial amount of money – $100,000 a week.”
They have reserves, but he said it is not unlimited. “We can’t continue at this pace for many more weeks,” he said.
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