‘In order to preserve our future’
Common Man’s Alex Ray explains steps taken to face challenge of coronavirus
In almost 50 years of providing hospitality in New Hampshire, we’ve never found ourselves facing the times we are today.
The mandate for restaurants to close and move to take-out/delivery, paired with recommended social distancing due to the coronavirus, has had a tremendous impact on our entire Common Man family – our restaurants, inns, Flying Monkey, The Barn on the Pemi, events, spa, store and all of our support teams.
The most painful for me has been the need to furlough 650 of our staff, who we call our STARS, as we consolidated our operations to seven of our 16 restaurants across New Hampshire. In these unprecedented times, we’re making difficult decisions daily so that we can emerge intact when we are on the other side of this global crisis.
With every challenge comes the opportunity to be innovative, and we’re working every day to be creative while continuing to support our staff, our guests and our communities.
To support our staff members, we continue to offer family meals for all employees. Chefs at our open restaurants prepare a home-cooked, fresh meal daily, and our staff can call and order take-out for their household, at no charge. In the past week, we’ve provided more than 1,400 meals to our STARS.
The Common Man has also donated $10,000 to our Employee Emergency Assistance Fund, and we continue to donate all gratuities left on take-out orders to that fund. We extended health benefits and we’re creating delivery positions to get take-out orders to guests while securing hours for staff.
In partnership with the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association, and in support of fellow hospitality workers across the state, we’ve committed $10,000 to the newly created New Hampshire Hospitality Employee Relief Fund. This fund provides one-time grants to employees of the hospitality industry who have been impacted by Covid-19.
Our new initiative, Feed it Forward, gives our takeout guests the opportunity to make a donation that will be allocated to feeding those in need in our communities. For every $10 we collect, we will prepare and deliver two home-cooked meals, in coordination with local agencies, to ensure the meals are brought to those who need them most.
We have no way of knowing how long this pandemic will last, nor how long it will affect our communities, our staff and our overall business. We’re taking things day by day, and trying the best we can to put measures in place now in order to preserve our future.
Please take care of each other, your families and your communities, and focus on being safe and healthy. For 49 years we’ve done well by doing good. Let’s keep that going together.
Alex Ray is owner of Ashland-based The Common Man Family of restaurants.