While the Eastern Conference Finals rival matchup between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers produced record profits for restaurants and bars surrounding the Prudential Center, in Newark, local owners expect business to build throughout the Stanley Cup Finals between the Devils and the Los Angeles Kings, which begins in New Jersey on Wednesday night.
“The Devils-Rangers series was just the beginning of the pendulum,” said Carlos Franceschi, general manager of Uber Burger, on Lafayette Street, just outside the Prudential Center. “I think the people that have been holding off coming to the playoff games until the national championship are coming to see the final games. The (Devils-Rangers) rivalry had a very significant impact … but the national spotlight will be fantastic for business.”
According to Franceschi, the playoffs as a whole have given Uber Burger “more exposure, and gotten more people to come to the arena who were not familiar with us before.”
“We had a number of Rangers fans come in … and now we’re looking to advertise in other areas, to entice those people to come back,” Franceschi said.
But on a hyper-local level, Franceschi said he will “definitely miss the boost in business” from the watch parties at Prudential Center — which NBC pulled the plug on last week — since Uber Burger “had a few hundred people” during each away game in the series’ previous rounds.
Rob Flohr, chief operating officer of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que — which officially opened its doors on May 8, the day of the Devils’ first home game in the Philadelphia Flyers second round playoff series — said “the energy from the crowd in the (Prudential Center) plaza transfers right into our space” on Market Street in Newark.
“The crowds seem to be increasing through the series. As we go deeper and deeper into the playoffs, people are coming in earlier to eat earlier,” Flohr said. “Maybe we would have approached things differently with our opening if this series happened a year from now, with having our patio open and being outside. But it’s exciting, and you want to be a part of everything as quickly as you can be.”
For the Devils-Kings matchup, Marc Brummer, co-owner of Hobby’s Delicatessen & Restaurant, on Brandford Place in Newark, said he expects to be “as busy or more so” as he was for the Devils-Rangers series, noting the cup finals will bring in “people from L.A. and executives from the NHL.”
“Any of these places (near Prudential Center) are at full capacity. This is my busiest season … and hopefully everyone gets a piece of it,” Brummer said. “You want everyone to benefit because it’s beneficial for Newark, and what’s beneficial for Newark is beneficial for everybody.”