As part of the #ComeBackToTown campaign, the Central City Improvement District (CCID) has released a map of the CBD’s eateries.
The map started circulating last week, and has been distributed by the CCID at traffic lights, suburban post boxes and in town.
This is the latest in the #ComeBackToTown initiative, which aims to reinvigorate the economy of the CBD and support its restaurant stakeholders.
The CCID’s CEO Tasso Evangelinos, said the map is a way of supporting local businesses and will hopefully help to keep their doors open and prevent any more closures.
“There is a real need for us all to assist each other during this pandemic.”
While both print and digital copies are available, Mr Evangelinos sees the printed copy as being something of a drawcard.
“With print being so tangible, people will really get to feel the attraction of the city.
“We want to see people walking around holding the map in their hands. It gives us the opportunity to make a bit of a noise about the diverse offerings in the CBD and explain why it is such a desirable destination.”
A social media campaign has also been launched alongside the map, revolving around weekly themes including the best burgers, the coffee culture, and the best spots for cocktails.
One of the eatieries to feature on the list is Clarke’s Dining Room.
Owner Lyndall Maunder said the past year had been rough on the business, with Clarke’s having to retrench a large number of staff during the hard lockdown in the middle of last year in order to survive.
Ms Maunder said last year in March when president Cyril Ramaphosa had announced the first lockdown, they had tried to keep the doors open by selling essential items, and had even tried to do a delivery service, but this didn’t work out because they could not meet the costs involved with the lack of clients and orders.
She said due to the uncertainty, she was unable to plan her next move. “We were ready to close. There was no money.”
However, donations from support from the community, and the lift of the alcohol ban gave them renewed hope, and when the second wave hit at the end of last year, Ms Maunder said they had an idea of what to expect.
“We did stages of cut-down salaries, shifts were cut and watched sales weekly.”
She said Clarke’s managed to make it through January, and this month, she is a little bit more optimistic.
“In January, people couldn’t go to the beach, but needed to get out, which helped us because they would come to restaurants.”
She said the mass exodus from the city during which many people started to work from home, as well as the lack of tourists were also a challenge for them, however, the work-from-home crowd were somewhat making up for it.
Ms Maunder said she was grateful not to have been forced to shut down like many restaurants in Bree Street.
Rosetta Coffee’s owner, Timothy Porter, moved to the city centre from Woodstock in October.
He said business was dire in Woodstock during the lockdown, and due to spaces opening up in the CBD, he decided to use the opportunity to start fresh.
Mr Porter said business has been fairly stable, and with the second wave, business had fluctuated a bit.
“We don’t sell alcohol, so we weren’t dependant on the alcohol, ban to bring in business. Coffee is needed all the time, and a lot of the work-from-home people come to the cafe to have coffee and work.”
However, he said, the shop could do with the return of office workers who buy take-away coffee on their way to work to improve business.
Mr Porter said it was a good time for them to start over and “create their own destiny” in the new normal.
Both establishments said the CCID were doing good work in the city and while they were aware of the #comebacktotown campaign, they agreed that it could do with wider promotion.
To view the digital version of the map, visit the CCID website.