Canoe restaurant in Bedford is closing its doors for good after six years in operation.
With its lease about to expire, Scott Ouellette of Magic Foods Restaurant Group said Tuesday that after studying the restaurant’s rising costs, daily operations and current labor situation, it would be difficult to sustain the restaurant after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The uncertainty of how long this will go on for since it is such a fluid situation, you just don’t know,” said Ouellette. “There is only so much forgiveness that can be extended.”
Although the federal government is providing some financial relief, he said the relief doesn’t work if the restaurant can’t reopen.
“It was a very hard decision, and when we started cleaning some of our things out and relocating our products, there were some hard days,” said Ouellette.
It is disappointing, he said, explaining that Canoe in Bedford, located at 216 S. River Road, had experienced a nice resurgence of business throughout the eight months prior to the stay-at-home order.
The closure was announced on the same day that Magic Foods announced the reopening of its other restaurants, including Canoe in Center Harbor and O Steaks and Seafood in Concord and Laconia.
“We have reached out to everyone in our company stating we are in the process of reopening,” Ouellette said.
He acknowledged that there is not a lot of incentive for some employees to return to work, especially since most of them are making more income by staying home and collecting unemployment.
There is still a lot of uncertainty, Ouellette said, adding he is pleased to still be offering health insurance coverage for those employees who were laid off.
“We have been in touch with all of our employees. Our workers have been our number one concern through this pandemic. We don’t want them to feel like they are left high and dry,” he said.
Once the remaining Magic Foods restaurants are able to open at full capacity, employees from Canoe in Bedford will be offered positions at those locations, according to Ouellette.
In the meantime, O Steaks and Seafood in Concord and Laconia, as well as Canoe in Center Harbor, are now open for outdoor dining.
The Canoe location in Bedford previously housed Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse, which closed in 2014.