AUSTIN, Texas, May 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) is extending financial support through the TX Restaurant Relief Fund to independent restaurants that have been damaged by the vandalism, looting, and rioting that erupted over the weekend after George Floyd's tragic killing. This violence is another huge setback for restaurants, bars, and other foodservice businesses that are still suffering crippling losses due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The TRA launched the TX Restaurant Relief Fund in response to COVID-19, and now calls upon the entire community to redouble their support of the fund in response to this compounded crisis. Donations can be made by texting TRRF to 31996, visiting www.txrestaurant.org/txrestaurantrelieffund, or emailing [email protected].
Texas' more than 53,000 foodservice businesses, which employed more than 1.4 million workers before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, were closed with a day's notice in March for more than six weeks to flatten the curve of COVID-19. In 2019, the Texas foodservice sector accounted for $70 billion in revenue ($4.6 billion in taxes to the State of Texas). Overnight, one of Texas' largest sectors saw their revenue disappear, furloughed or laid off employees, and lost millions in perishable food and beverage supplies through no fault of their own. An estimated 700,000 jobs and $4.2 billion in revenue has been lost. This conservative estimate is astronomical and projected to be just the beginning of unprecedented loss.
While bars were required to remain shut completely, restaurants innovated and adapted their business models as best they could, continuing to provide delivery and takeout. With the leadership of the TRA, waivers were put in place to allow restaurants to sell alcohol with to-go orders, sell prepared meals in their local grocery stores, and sell retail food items—turning their restaurants into boutique grocery bodegas. Being responsible for 51% of Texas' food supply, restaurants did their best to keep Texans fed.
Through the generosity of the public, industry-related suppliers, and corporate donors, the TX Restaurant Relief Fund was established on March 23, 2020. In about two months, the fund has raised and distributed $2.23 million in grants of up to $5,000 to more than 400 restaurants. These grants provided immediate relief to some of the hardest hit, independent restaurants throughout the State, helping them to remain open, pay their workers, and in many cases, provide meals for medical, police, and fire first responders. As always, restaurants sought to give back, even as they faced the worst crisis their industry had ever seen.
Texas has begun to reopen, with restaurants operating at up to 50% of their allowed occupancy, and bars reopened last week at 25%. This represents real progress, but restaurants and bars cannot sustain their business, much less recoup weeks of losses, at these levels. For restaurants facing a long and uncertain future, the violence and vandalism that broke out this weekend is another devastating blow creating repair costs and lost revenue they cannot afford.
Once again, the TRA has immediately taken action. While continuing to work toward its $10 million fundraising goal to support Texas' independent restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, the TRA will expand the TX Restaurant Relief Fund's mission to help independent foodservice businesses vandalized during these riots. A new application for affected restaurants has been made available online at www.txrestaurant.org/txrestaurantrelieffund.
Never before have restaurants, bars, and other foodservice establishments been in such dire need. Donate today to the TX Restaurant Relief Fund to help restaurants already fighting to survive and rebuild repair the damage caused by looting, vandalism, and other violence. Independent business owners will not survive without this desperately needed financial support.
All donations to the TX Restaurant Relief Fund are fully tax-deductible, subject to applicable laws and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations.
About the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF)
Established in 1994 by the Texas Restaurant Association, the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF) is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization focused on providing the necessary resources to help restaurateurs confront educational and labor challenges with the latest innovations in education, technology, and training. It is the workforce development arm of the Association. The Foundation's mission is to provide educational opportunities to build and maintain a strong professional foodservice workforce in Texas. The organization's flagship program is Texas ProStart, an industry-based, two-year high school culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum. Texas ProStart is currently in more than 150 Texas high schools, reaching more than 15,000 students annually.
On March 23, 2020, the TRAEF established the TX Restaurant Relief Fund in response to the COVID-19 crisis to provide immediate financial support to independent restaurants and expanded the Fund on May 31, 2020 to finically support foodservice establishments impacted during times of crisis. Donations can be made by texting TRRF to 31996, visiting www.txrestaurant.org/txrestaurantrelieffund, or emailing [email protected].