Ted’s Montana Grill Shutters in Cumberland Mall, Decatur, Is Opening In Westside Village Aug. 10

Restaurant chain's CEO George McKerrow says if it weren't for COVID-19, these locations would have finished out their short-term leases.

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Ted’s Montana Grill has permanently closed two Atlanta-area locations and laid off seven employees at its corporate headquarters, CEO George McKerrow in a telephone interview Tuesday told What Now Atlanta.

“It’s a harsh reality of the times we’re in,” McKerrow said.

The shuttered locations—Cumberland Mall and in Decatur, at 201 W Ponce de Leon Ave—are the only two outposts across the Ted’s Montana Grill portfolio to close amid the COVID-19 pandemic, however.

“Both of these restaurants were decent performers for us but as we neared the end of each location’s short-term lease, it didn’t make savvy business sense to keep either open with the strict capacity and social distancing guidelines,” McKerrow said.

“Closing any of our restaurants is extremely regrettable but we’ve done the best we can to keep as many of our employees with us as possible. “

Dorinda Quarshie, the proprietor (general manager) of the Cumberland Mall location, will oversee the company’s new Westside Village restaurant which is set to debut August 10, 2020.

It’s possible that a Cumberland Mall-area Ted’s Montana could resurface in 2021 depending on how the restaurant industry rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic, according to McKerrow.

“The public is afraid of restaurants right now unfortunately and it’s unfair and wrong,” McKerrow said.

“People will shove themselves into a Home Depot or grocery store but restaurants have been signaled out as unsafe which is ironic because we’re the cleanest and most sanitized retail operation you can patronize, even pre-COVID-19.”

The novel coronavirus is only one of several factors negatively impacting the restaurant industry in recent years, according to McKerrow.

“There has been more negative outside impact to our industry in the last five years than in my 50-year history in the business,” McKerrow said.

Among those challenges are a push for a $15 minimum wage, the increasing cost of doing business (i.e., rent, utilities, insurance, etc.), and with “over a million restaurants in the U.S.,” there’s been a “conflation in restaurant capacity that has doubled the pressure on our P&L.”

“At best we make a nickel on every dollar and when you take away 50 chairs you take away 50 percent of our profits,” McKerrow said.

“The shutdown was immediate but for all of us in this business, the recovery will be long and slow.”

Ted’s Montana Grill has reopened its dining rooms and patios and a list of open Atlanta-area locations can be found here.

“It’s a tricky road ahead and only the strong will survive,” McKerrow said.

“Please support your neighborhood restaurants, come dine with us, and have some fun.”

[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

3 Responses

  1. At best we make a nickel on every dollar

    If that’s the case, they should have closed down long before now…

  2. Their CEO sounds like a petulant child. People need to feed themselves and repair their homes. They don’t need luxury restaurants, especially with record unemployment numbers. Plenty of restaurants have adapted and thrived during this crisis. Those unwilling to innovate and adjust their business models are going to be left behind.

  3. Love Ted’s and I have had many business lunches at this location. The restaurant strategy reads like they have not permanently closed the location, but simply shelved the location till consumer confidence is restored.

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