The cities of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs have combined forces on “Let’s Do Lunch,” a marketing campaign intended to boost local restaurants struggling in the pandemic economy — especially those hit by the loss of lunchtime business as people work remotely.
The neighboring cities were working with their convention and visitors bureaus on similar marketing campaigns and decided to join forces. The Perimeter Center area includes parts of both cities.
“In the Perimeter market in particular, many people don’t know where Dunwoody ends and Sandy Springs begins,” said Dunwoody spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher. “There are great restaurants in both cities, and we hope this campaign benefits all of them. In fact, we’d love it if other cities join in.”
“When we realized that we had come up with the same idea at the same time, we decided to join forces,” said Sandy Springs spokesperson Sharon Kraun. “It makes the message stronger, and we know our diners visit restaurants in both cities. It’s a win-win.”
The campaign aims to remind people that restaurants are open and need lunch business. Restaurants in both cities depend on office workers for lunch business, but remote working has reduced those sales. The two cities are using social media, city newsletters and newspaper ads for the campaign. Both cities’ convention and visitors bureaus have webpages listing restaurants that are open for lunch business, with the Discover Dunwoody site here and the Visit Sandy Springs site here. The webpages include links to the other city’s list.
Restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic, with several closing in both cities. But several new restaurants have opened as well. Boettcher said some in Dunwoody include Breadwinner Cafe & Bakery, Cinnaholic, Hyderabad House Atlanta and Royal Spice Indian Restaurant. Budi’s Sushi and Hummus & Pita Co. are scheduled to open soon. In Sandy Springs, C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar recently opened, and build-out is underway for a new General Muir restaurant at City Springs, Kraun said.
“On a normal (non-2020) day, it would be a busy area because of the corporate presence. Lately, not so much,” Kraun said about Perimeter Center. “What we are experiencing in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody isn’t unique to us, but we have the shared corporate center and the unified message helps spread the word more efficiently.”
Other ways Sandy Springs has attempted to help restaurants included delaying alcohol license payments, allowing temporary signs without fees and allowing temporary outdoor dining throughout the city. Kraun said the city Economic Development department reaches out to the business community with information and updates.
Dunwoody started early on during the pandemic to help restaurants, Boettcher said, starting with an online restaurant passport. Signs encourage residents and visitors to shop and support local businesses. And an outdoor dining permit was approved by the City Council.