DETROIT (FOX 2) - Michigan restaurants have been without full capacity for most of the year during the COVID-19 pandemic. After a few months of some relief with people allowed to eat inside, that ended in November. Now thousands of restaurants are facing uncertain futures.
Detroit-based Atlas is stepping in to try to help restaurants on the brink of financial ruin with a simple request of you. After you order carryout, tell people on Facebook with a picture of your receipt and the hashtag #RescueMIrestaurant.
CEO John Kohl watched many independent restaurants in southeast Michigan struggle through the pandemic. After looking around, he wanted to find ways to help.
"You think of Detroit without the iconic Detroit Coney dog or iconic Shield‘s deep-dish Detroit-style pizza - you lose a little bit of our character, our flavor as a city, as a region. I know I don’t want to live in a world with just Applebee’s and McDonald’s.”
So Kohl and Atlas launched the #RescueMIrestaurant campaign to save restaurants. All you have to do is order food from more than 150 independent restaurants, post your receipt on social media, and include the hashtag.
“Dollar for dollar atlas is matching every single receipt in the form of product credit to these restaurants,” Kohl said. "It’s what we have to do right now in order to maintain our own existence as well.”
The restaurants, available at atlaswholesalefood.com, includes Red Olive which was forced to close two of its 18 locations and layoff most of its staff. Ashley Iastly, the manager of Red Olive in Northville, said the restaurant is in need of major help.
"It’s definitely taking a toll on all the restaurants. And I don’t think people understand how important carry-outs are," she said.
As the idea spread, Kohl received a heartwarming call from the owner of Detroit Wing Company...
“The owner called me up and said john I appreciate what you’re doing but we’re not hurting. If you can take any of the funds we get, or any of the receipts posted to Facebook, let’s use them for other restaurants.“
The campaign goes through December 25th and is funded up to $100,000. Kohl says with a little help, he's hoping to keep it going into the new year.
“We want to deliver hope. We will get through this and it’s only a moment in time right now," Atlas said.