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Staffing has also undergone changes. Additional support staff like bussers and food runners were added, and a defined management structure was created to oversee staff, including hiring a new general manager from the Portsmouth Flatbread Company pizza restaurant, located across the street. Under the previous ownership, wait staff submitted orders on paper tickets and calculated checks by hand. That system was abandoned in favor of a computerized POS system, a change some Friendly Toast veterans say was long overdue. “What a nightmare,” said Marc Sklar, a former Friendly Toast cook who now works as a business systems analyst for Liberty Mutual and is the namesake of the meat-laden omelet, the Sklarmageddon. He said the lack of controls under the old system led to excessive food loss and inconsistency. “So a restaurant business basic, like calculating food cost, was actually impossible, given the lack of controls and the out-of-date ticket system. I know a lot of the old employees hate the new systems, but I would’ve done the same thing.” Portsmouth has built a successful tourism industry and is the midst of a construction boom, but despite its recent growth, residents tend to be very resistant to change. The public reaction to the Friendly Toast sale took Goodwin by surprise. “Everyone was very concerned with the direction we were taking the restaurant in,” said Goodwin. Useful Guidance On Fast Products Of Singers In FarlingtonAfter the sale went public, Goodwin said he received numerous calls, media inquiries, emails and text messages from people wondering what the new Toast would be like. “It’s still about creative food that’s fresh,” he said, adding, “Our number one goal is to earn the trust from the locals. We need to be more than a tourist destination to be successful.” The continued flow of customers reveals that most locals are fine with any differences, but the public face the new owners have put on the Friendly Toast is rubbing some the wrong way. A new website, blog and social media presence were created as part of an overall marketing strategy to interact directly with dinners, especially younger patrons. Sharing the Friendly Toast’s message through these outlets is seen by some, however, as cashing in on the restaurant’s cool factor. “To me, it proves that they have no real understanding of what made The Toast awesome,” said Sklar. The coolness is not about catch phrases and quirky wall posts – it comes from being a place to run into friends and hang out late at night, said Sklar. “If they try to make the coolness of the Toast explicit, it will become a parody of itself and end up being a joke.” Despite the lingering skepticism, Goodwin said he’s seen the majority of public response turn from wary to welcoming. Much of the credit for the quick customer acceptance goes to the staff, he said, who were “open-minded” to the changes being proposed.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.nhbr.com/July-11-2014/Portsmouth-eatery-with-a-past-looks-to-the-future/