Restaurant operators throughout the Northeast on Monday were digging out from up to three feet of snow in some areas after a weekend blizzard, dubbed Nemo, that forced some temporary closures but kept other dining rooms and bars surprisingly full.
Transportation remained a challenge on Monday, with many roads throughout the region still closed. Other than a few lingering power outages, however, restaurant companies said they are expecting business as usual this week.
Starbucks, for example, on Monday promoted an offer of a free tall coffee at stores throughout parts of the Northeast before 11 a.m., “to help customers warm up and dig out,” said spokesman Zack Hutson. The offer was promoted using geographically targeted posts on Facebook and Twitter, similar to a promotion offered after Superstorm Sandy last year.
At various points on Friday afternoon, when the storm hit, Starbucks said most of its locations closed early from New York City through Maine, though it was unclear exactly how many units were impacted. By Saturday, however, all but 300 units were able to open. The 300 units that remained closed all day Saturday were located from Long Island to Maine, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine and parts of New Hampshire, Hutson said.
By Sunday, all but about 70 Starbucks locations in the Northeast region were open. On Monday, only a handful remained closed due to lingering power outages, he said.
The U.S. Department of Energy said Monday morning an estimated 136,071 customers were without power throughout the eight states. Over the weekend, however, more than 667,763 customers lost power in the region, mostly in Massachusetts.
In Boston, the 10 restaurants and bars operated by The Briar Group fared better than expected, said Hannah Kempski, the restaurant group’s marketing manager, though systemwide sales for the group were probably down.
Because Boston’s tourist-oriented Faneuil Hall was closed Friday and much of Saturday, the group’s Anthem Kitchen and Bar at that location was also closed through the weekend.
The group’s Ned Devine’s Irish Pub, however, also in Faneuil Hall, was closed Friday and during the day Saturday, but was able to reopen around 8 p.m. Saturday night.
The Harp, a Briar Group sports bar across from Boston Garden, also closed Friday but reopened Saturday, and business was brisk despite the cancellation of the Bruins hockey game.
Other Briar Group venues that remained open were packed through the weekend, said Kempski. Those located in hotels were particularly busy, as many hotels were housing commuters that were unable to make it home before Nemo hit Friday.
Other venues, such as the group’s Green Briar in Boston’s outlying Brighton suburb, were “very busy” with walk-in customers from the neighborhood, she said.
“There was a great atmosphere in our pubs,” said Kempski. “There was a real sense of camaraderie. People were out having a great time and sharing stories.”
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