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Dozens of New Hampshire restaurants affected by nationwide ransomware attack

By Hannah Cotter

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    SALEM, New Hampshire (WMUR) — Dozens of establishments across New Hampshire have been impacted by a nationwide ransomware attack.

Restaurant owners said this isn’t affecting the dining experience, but it is causing some problems with gift cards.

This time of year is one of The Beach Plums’ busiest with a gift card special right before Mother’s Day.

But none of the restaurant’s locations have been able to issue new gift cards for almost two weeks, due to a nationwide ransomware attack on NCR, a supplier for many restaurant point-of-sale systems.

“It’s something totally out of our control; that’s what makes it so frustrating,” Robert Lee, owner of The Beach Plum Restaurant, said. “We hope to be able to issue those starting in a few days, but NCR’s been pretty uncommunicative.”

“The majority of our regulars are completely understanding,” Tom Boucher, CEO and owner of Great New Hampshire Restaurants, said. ”I’m more concerned about the people who want to try us for the first time and they feel like we’re not living up to our end of the deal.”

Tom Boucher said all of his restaurants are also having problems with gift cards, loyalty points and payroll for his 900 employees.

“I hope people have patience and understand that this is not any restaurant in New Hampshire’s issue — it’s clearly an NCR issue,” Boucher said.

In a statement to News 9, NCR said it’s working to both restore applications and enhance its security.

“While in-restaurant purchases and transactions continue to operate, affected customers have reduced capabilities on specific Aloha cloud-based and Counterpoint functionality that has impacted their ability to manage restaurant administrative functions. NCR is conducting concurrent efforts to establish alternative functionality for customers, fully restore impacted data and applications, and to enhance its cyber security protections,” NCR said in a statement.

Restaurant owners are feeling frustrated with what seems like roadblock after roadblock.

“We had two and a half years of the pandemic, we had a year of inflation and trying to find employees and here we are finally getting back to normal and bang, we get hit with this,” Boucher said. “But you know what, we persevere, we figure it out.”

New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association President and CEO Mike Somers said it is hoped that the situation will be resolved this week.

“It is hoped that this situation will be resolved by mid-week, but it appears the process will be onerous for the small businesses affected,” Somers said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the deadline for resolution has been extended a number of times, and we are hopeful it won’t be extended any further.”

These impacts vary on a case-by-case basis.

At The Beach Plum, they can redeem old gift cards, but they can’t issue new ones.

Whereas at the Copper Door, they’re having issues with gift cards all around.

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