Filling bellies … and hearts
It’s been more than two decades since Atlas Café opened its doors in 1995, and since then, the downtown Courtenay restaurant continues to pump out consistently delicious food to an ever supportive community. No surprise then that it won Best Vegetarian and Best Breakfast at the 2016 Comox Valley Records Readers Choice Awards.
Co-founder Sandra Viney credits Atlas’ success to her dedicated team. “We couldn’t do what we do without our passionate, hard-working team,” she says. “Plus being a part of the vibrant downtown Courtenay community has also helped.”
Sandra and Trent recognise the importance of supporting and valuing their employees – and it shows. Atlas is known for having a low staff turnover in a challenging industry, thanks to various policies, such as flexible scheduling, that help staff optimise their work/life balance.
“Our door is always open to offer assistance and advice to staff past and present,” says Sandra. “From the very inception, we have focused on creating a workplace that is supportive, caring and positive.”
This commitment has produced results over the past 21 years. “Where we stand today, as an organisation, is a direct result of the efforts and commitment of many passionate and caring hearts,” says Sandra.
Sandra and Trent also strive to make the café as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible. This year, the café took the radical step of banning plastic straws to reduce waste. And while their menu is internationally inspired, co-founder Trent McIntyre and Executive Chef Jonathan Frazier continue to support local farmers and producers by sourcing locally wherever possible.
The duo also regularly gives back to the community through many sponsorship activities and gift certificate donations. Atlas Café also provides both the Women’s Transition Society and the Sonshine Soup Kitchen with free soup every month.
Atlas Café is also a finalist in the Business Leadership award category.