Westbrooke restaurant owner closes door indefinitely

Westbrooke restaurant owner closes door indefinitely

The last two years of the pandemic have been hard on many people and businesses.Businesses are continuing to close.Casa Novello, a restaurant in Westbrook, almost survived the pandemic. But last Saturday, owner Hope Lawler made the heartbreaking decision to close after a cook never showed up. Just eight months ago, Casa Novello was fully staffed. Now, they need to hire four cooks to stay open.”I’ve been posting a ton, I went on Indeed and all of that kind of stuff, I went to the schools, the culinary schools asking people to share my posts. Asking friends of friends — everything. I’ve tried everything,” Lawler said.She added, “I give bonuses, I give tips to them, I give them bonuses at the end of the year. I pay them vacation time. I do all that, I make sure their environment is clean. I make sure they have air conditioning in the summertime and I make sure they have heat in the wintertime, I have uniforms for them and I take care of them.” Like so many other restaurants in the area, Casa Novello has tried to do take-out only and reduce to half capacity or close early — but customers aren’t happy. “They drive here and they come here and there’s a sign at the door. It’s not fair for my guests and not fair for my staff -at this point we either need to be open or we need to be closed,” she said. Lawler said she’s willing to pay her chef $65,000 a year. But it still isn’t enough. “It’s hot in the kitchen — it’s aggressive and fast and they can make the same amount of money shoving a coffee out the window,” she said.Lawler believes society needs to change as a whole for this to not keep happening to other businesses. “When I was young, if you weren’t at a job for more than a year, you wouldn’t get hired at a place because you’re known as a bouncer but now people are like one month, one week, two weeks and people are scooping them up,” Lawler said.She added, “I think they’re so desperate for people, they show up people they don’t care (for) when they miss a day of work, they’ll take them the next day – that’s not me. I think other people need to do that as well.”Lawler still has hope for a miracle. If you are interested in applying you can email casanovello2@gmail.com

The last two years of the pandemic have been hard on many people and businesses.

Businesses are continuing to close.

Casa Novello, a restaurant in Westbrook, almost survived the pandemic. But last Saturday, owner Hope Lawler made the heartbreaking decision to close after a cook never showed up.

Just eight months ago, Casa Novello was fully staffed. Now, they need to hire four cooks to stay open.

“I’ve been posting a ton, I went on Indeed and all of that kind of stuff, I went to the schools, the culinary schools asking people to share my posts. Asking friends of friends — everything. I’ve tried everything,” Lawler said.

She added, “I give bonuses, I give tips to them, I give them bonuses at the end of the year. I pay them vacation time. I do all that, I make sure their environment is clean. I make sure they have air conditioning in the summertime and I make sure they have heat in the wintertime, I have uniforms for them and I take care of them.”

Like so many other restaurants in the area, Casa Novello has tried to do take-out only and reduce to half capacity or close early — but customers aren’t happy.

“They drive here and they come here and there’s a sign at the door. It’s not fair for my guests and not fair for my staff -at this point we either need to be open or we need to be closed,” she said.

Lawler said she’s willing to pay her chef $65,000 a year. But it still isn’t enough.

“It’s hot in the kitchen — it’s aggressive and fast and they can make the same amount of money shoving a coffee out the window,” she said.

Lawler believes society needs to change as a whole for this to not keep happening to other businesses.

“When I was young, if you weren’t at a job for more than a year, you wouldn’t get hired at a place because you’re known as a bouncer but now people are like one month, one week, two weeks and people are scooping them up,” Lawler said.

She added, “I think they’re so desperate for people, they show up people they don’t care (for) when they miss a day of work, they’ll take them the next day – that’s not me. I think other people need to do that as well.”

Lawler still has hope for a miracle. If you are interested in applying you can email casanovello2@gmail.com


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