The Nemo snow storm put a long Arctic chill on local restaurant sales, firm says

The recent Nemo snow storm took a roughly 35 percent bite out of weekly sales for restaurants located between Boston and Hartford, said Restaurant Sciences, a Newton firm that tracks sales data.

It seems logical that a restaurant’s sales would drop when heavy snows keep folks trapped at home and shoveling out their driveways, especially since this particular storm also included a local travel ban. (During the actual weekend of the storm, restaurant sales were down 72.56 percent in the Boston area, the firm said.)

Chuck Ellis. Photo taken from Restaurant Sciences’ website.

But what may be a bit of a surprise is how slowly business bounced back. You might think that after a few days of being cooped up at home and forced to subsist on macaroni and Swedish meatballs --- horsemeat-free meatballs, hopefully --- you might think that cabin fever would set in and that snowbound gourmets would be eager to bust out and head to the nearest bistro to enjoy such classy fare as Turkish red lentil soup or Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon avec steamed spuds.

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However, Restaurant Sciences’ analysis of 8.5 million restaurant guest checks suggests otherwise. According to its analysis, several days elapsed before storm-weary locals once again ventured out for restaurant fare.

The firm’s press release included a statement from Richard D’Angelo, owner of The Red Parrot restaurant in Hull.

“We expected super storm Nemo to negatively impact sales that weekend, but we did not anticipate the mandatory travel ban that kicked off the weekend, or that customers would remain home the week following the storm,” D’Angelo said. “Inclement weather can impact sales slightly, but Nemo hurt our business significantly.”

Added Restaurant Sciences president Chuck Ellis: “Our data shows that full-service restaurants were hit the hardest and do not recoup sales lost to major storms. That one week will negatively impact the first quarter and beyond.”

Restaurant Sciences collects and analyzes data about food and beverage consumption in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other foodservice establishments.