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Meet Tim Baines of Mint Bistro in Manchester

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tim Baines.

Tim, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Personally, I started working in restaurants when I was 14. While working my way through college, I was a General Manager for Weathervane Seafood Restaurants. After graduating, I decided to move into corporate where I had a brief stint with Chili’s. From there I moved on to manage two of the better restaurants in the Manchester area, C.R. Sparks in Bedford (now closed) and the Hanover Street Chophouse. It was valuable to experience the differences between regional chain, corporate chain, and independent establishments. I left the restaurant business for a very brief stint and during that time was working on opening up my own restaurant concept.

During this time period, I was approached by the old owner of Mint Bistro who asked if I could help out a few days a week, to assist with some struggles that were going on the front of the house. After a month of helping out, the old owner told me that he wanted to pursue other endeavors and suggested that I take over the restaurant. We quickly came to a deal as the location on the main street in Manchester was perfect, and I saw untapped potential if I was able to put the right people in place and tighten a few things up operationally. The restaurant opened in the summer of 2011 and I purchased the business in November of 2012. Over these five years, we have doubled our revenue, been an active participant in the community, and have been fortunate enough to receive many accolades. We have some of the lowest turnovers in the industry and we act and operate much like a family.

Has it been a smooth road?
The first six months were a challenge. All of a sudden everyone working at Mint has a new owner that comes in with a different vision, different expectations, and different priorities. There were some that immediately understood where we were and where we wanted to be and there were others who were stuck in their ways, and either unwilling or unable to adapt. Approximately 70 percent of the staff was turned over in these first six months.

Another challenge was in February of 2016 when our ceiling caved in after a pipe burst above the restaurant. Immediately we anticipated having to close for 3-5 days but it ended up turning into a full month with many repairs needed, including a new floor. My immediate concern was my employees as many of them depend on tips for their livelihood. Because of a few really good restaurant owners and an amazing community, we were able to raise enough money to keep everyone paid in full for the entire month. The outpouring of support was amazing and I was really proud to be able to retain my entire staff during a difficult time.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Mint Bistro – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Mint Bistro is an 85 seat restaurant and bar located on Elm St. in Manchester. We offer a full sushi menu and also offer tapas, salads, and entree selections from steaks to seafood. We are possibly best known for our Asian Short-Rib Nachos and have gained significant notoriety for our sushi. We serve an array of cocktails and have a well-balanced wine list. We also have a bourbon/whiskey list with over 30 offerings.

I am proud of the longevity of our workforce. My General Manager, Executive Chef, Sushi Chef, and Bar Manager have all been with me since the very beginning. I believe that what sets us apart is how we treat everyone that works at Mint, where everyone has input and are proud of being a part of the team. When people walk into Mint it shows. We encourage the staff to use their personalities and have fun while still delivering a great product at a fair price. The vibe of the restaurant, the quality of food, and the top-notch service is what sets us apart.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Manchester is an incredible community with so many great things going on. Our milliard and downtown are bustling and many investments have recently been made by the private sector. The culinary and arts scene has flourished in recent years and we have become an attractive community to so many.

Manchester is currently struggling with the opioid crisis, aggressive panhandling, and the perception of our schools.

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Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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