When I launched this site more than a decade ago, my intention then, as it is now, was to report on metro Atlanta's commercial real estate community with an emphasis on restaurant, retail and hotel openings and closings. I am working on several stories and I do have plenty of new content in the immediate pipeline but it's hard to remain focused on my usual content when there is so much awful news in the world, especially in my normal areas of coverage.
As a graduate of the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality at Georgia State, and one who spent about eight years working in the hotel industry, it's painful to hear about the furloughs, lack of hours and outright closures hitting my friends and colleagues in the hospitality industry. In addition to my time in hotels, I also spent time in retail, cinemas and a grocery store. While former colleagues in retail and cinemas now find themselves out of work, others in grocery, while still employed, are working overtime to continue to supply those in need.
ToNeTo Atlanta has grown tremendously since its inception and now sees hundreds of thousands of visitors per month. That said, the site still generates limited revenue. Fortunately, I work a full time job in an industry not yet affected by the current pandemic, and my hours and pay have not yet been affected. Like many, my 401(k) has lost tremendous value and I worry about our economy and the future of our country and the world.
Given that I'm now in a better financial position than so many of my friends in the hospitality industry find themselves, I've decided that effective March 1 and until further notice, I will contribute 100% of all advertising revenue the site generates to organizations assisting hospitality workers.
As I said, my advertising revenue is not yet serious money, but it could be. Often ads appear on ToNeTo Atlanta after you visit another website. With many retailers and businesses shutting their doors, and online shopping becoming even more prevalent than it already was, I encourage you to make purchases through my site to assist me in my endeavor without any added cost to you.
It has been inspiring to see so many restaurant owners find creative ways to support their communities and their staff in wake of the devastation caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
ToNeTo Atlanta reported Tuesday that Christian & Kristy Favalli of La Grotta were contributing 100 percent of their gift card sales to their employees with a goal of reaching $40,000. Less than 24 hours into their day-long campaign, the effort raised a whopping $50,000 and was ended, although the restaurant continues to sell gift cards, food and wine via curbside pickup.
Chef Mimmo Alboumeh, owner of Red Pepper Taqueria restaurants in Toco Hills, Buckhead and Brookhaven, selflessly turned his now temporarily closed Brookhaven restaurant into a production facility. Shortly after the City of Brookhaven ordered all restaurants within the city closed, he and his staff prepared and boxed what food they had to be distributed to the homeless.
Cafe Intermezzo founder and owner Brian Olson also jumped into action by providing "Meals to Go" for hospitality workers displaced and without steady income. The restaurant is offering up to four meals per employee at their Midtown location (1065 Peachtree Street) from 11 AM to 7 PM Thursday, having already done so Wednesday. The program will run today until they run out.
Many local restaurants remain open with abbreviated hours and/or via takeout/curbside pick up or delivery only. These restaurants are the fabric of our communities and deserve (and need) your patronage now more than ever. Please consider ordering food, picking up food and or buying a gift card to help support these small businesses.
Melissa Libby & Associates, a local public relations firm with several restaurant clients, created a website where restaurants and their services, hours and offerings are constantly updated to provide options for those wishing to support local businesses. The list, which includes restaurants from all over metro Atlanta, including those that are not the firm's clients, is updated throughout the day as it is one of their employees' sole task to collect new information and updates daily.
Mayor Bottoms issued an Executive Order Thursday that as of midnight March 19, limits restaurants to takeout only. The Order also requires bars, gyms, and other businesses to temporarily close.
I will also be launching a separate page via Tomorrow's News Today - Atlanta, Food & Funds where I will be updating restaurant options and donation pages and organizations to help those most affected. Please send any and all information in word document form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don't know when, but we WILL get through this, together. Thank you all for your continued support and readership.