While the weak economy has proven to be too much for many restaurateurs, Great NH Restaurants has not only expanded, it is leading the charge to bring more customers through the doors of eateries across the state.
When Great NH Restaurants won this award in 2007 (just before the recession hit) it had 450 employees, two brands (T-BONES and Cactus Jack’s) and locations in four communities. Six years later it has 510 employees, a new upscale restaurant brand (Copper Door in Bedford), and eight restaurants in six communities (Bedford, Derry, Hudson, Laconia, Manchester, and Salem.) Between the three brands, Great NH Restaurants serves more than 2 million guests annually.
“I’ve been on the board of directors for the National Restaurant Association for nine years with guys who own hundreds or thousands of restaurants. They’ve encouraged us to not sit idly on our hands,” Says Tom Boucher, owner and CEO. “We want people to understand it is an industry of opportunity.”
Boucher, though, isn’t only interested in his own success. When Jack Carnevale of the Bedford Village Inn developed the idea for a state wide Restaurant Week to promote the industry and encourage people to try restaurants new to them, Boucher volunteered to chair the committee for the NH Lodging and Restaurant Association. The Association hoped to have 100 restaurants participate in the inaugural event in 2012. Under Boucher’s leadership, they landed 150.
Boucher also lobbies on behalf of the hospitality industry in Washington D.C. each year, recently testifying before a congressional subcommittee on the effects of health care reform on restaurants on behalf of the National Restaurant Association. He also served as chairman of the Association’s Food and Healthy Living Committee under which Great NH Restaurants was among the inaugural founders of the Kids Live Well program that promotes healthy children’s meal options in restaurants.
Great NH Restaurants is a community leader having donated more than $1 million in gift certificates, food donations, and money to NH nonprofits since 1984. With its philanthropic giving growing, Great NH Restaurants is forming its own charitable foundation to strategically guide those efforts. Called FEEDNH, the foundation will focus giving to non-profits that help families, education, the elderly and the deprived.
It’s not the only major endeavor on the horizon. Great NH Restaurants is looking to open a new facility this year to house its butchers and bakers and to have a small retail outlet that will sell steaks, desserts and dressings. “We’re in a special place doing business in New Hampshire. We’ve been here for 28 years and will be here for 28 more,” Boucher says.
Article by BusinessNH Magazine