Luxury theater operator Emagine Entertainment is lending a helping hand to local restaurants in the communities it serves in Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, the company has announced.
For the entire month of February, Emagine theaters in all three states will offer any local restaurant a spot in their theater lobbies to hand out promotional materials, gift cards, and other items to spread awareness about their businesses. The space will be provided free of charge.
“We hope that just like us, this is the start of a rebuilding effort for our local restaurants,” Emagine CEO Anthony LaVerde tells Boxoffice Pro. “They have for almost a full year now been struggling, if not closed completely.”
Emagine well understands the pandemic’s tolls on local businesses. Due to COVID-19, the exhibitor saw a year-over-year revenue decline north of 90 percent and was forced to lay off or furlough nearly all of its 1,500 employees, though the company continued paying health benefits in full for eligible staff.
Luckily, many of those employees have since been brought back: As of Feb. 1, all 22 Emagine cinemas in Michigan (where the company just acquired the Birmingham 8 in Birmingham), Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are open at 25 percent capacity, allowing restaurants to benefit from foot traffic in theater lobbies (notably, the promotion is not yet active at its 10 locations in Minnesota, where the company is still working out logistics).
As LaVerde sees it, keeping local restaurants open can only be a benefit to Emagine’s business.
“It works both ways. I think it’s a situation where it’s we feed the restaurants and the restaurants feed us,” says LaVerde. “I think it’s an integral part of any community, any business, that folks enjoy dinner and a movie.”
He adds, “The more attention we can shine on the struggles of many different businesses—restaurants and theaters and live entertainment—[and] the more we can help these folks, I think the better it is for everyone.”
Restaurants looking to participate in the Emagine campaign can get more details and reserve a space by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.