Tuscan Market in Salem launched a new grocery delivery service in southern New Hampshire Wednesday. The free service includes personal shopping, as well as curbside and home delivery.
Tuscan Brands CEO Joe Faro said the company implemented the initiative in response to the need for more home deliveries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the slowdown in his restaurant business Tuscan Kitchen.
“We want to be able to assist in any way that we can,” Faro said.
Faro said the bulk of his business is dine-in service at his restaurants in Salem, Portsmouth, Burlington, Mass., and Boston, as well as dine-in at the grocery stores.
He said revenues companywide are down 85 percent.
“The Market is able to subsidize a little bit of that but it doesn’t make up for it by any stretch of the imagination,” Faro said. “Grocery sales are up but breakfast, lunch and dinner sales are gone.”
He said it costs the company more to stay open, but they’re focusing on surviving, finding ways to support employees and helping people in the community.
Right now, Faro is putting aside 25 percent of all restaurant gift card sales for a relief fund that will go to hundreds of laid-off waitstaff, cooks and managers by the end of the month.
Of the roughly 700 employees in the company, Faro said about 450 had to be laid off when the state prohibited dine-in services last week.
Ultimately, Faro said he would like to continue the grocery delivery service in some form after business returns to some normalcy.
“We like the format,” Faro said. “It’s interesting how urgent situations like this can speed up the development process of something we should have done a while ago.”
Deliveries will be made in two hours or less, and Tuscan Market products include imported high-quality Italian staples, as well as house-made pastas, breads, sauces and cured meats. Call (603) 912-5467 to place an order.