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Texas' hospitality industry is highlighted with Abbott proclamation

Arianna Auber
aauber@statesman.com
Service industry workers in Texas are getting served a big platter of appreciation with a new proclamation by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. [Ralph Barrera / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2013]

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a proclamation that declares Feb. 13 as Hospitality Industry Appreciation Day, honoring all the people who work in the wide array of hospitality businesses such as restaurants, hotels and event planning. Feb. 13 as the chosen date is intentional — written another way, 2.13, it's the federal minimum wage for tipped workers.

Two Austin-based organizations that serve as online communities for the hospitality industry were behind the introduction of the state proclamation, according to a press release: Seasoned and In the Weeds. They help you find jobs within the industry, develop your skills and connect with others in the industry.

More than 1.3 million people work in retail and hospitality fields in Texas, "making the state the second largest employer in the leisure and hospitality sector according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2018 data," the press release notes.

In Austin alone, according to Seasoned's CEO Ware Sykes, more than 125,000 people are part of the industry.

“My hope is that we can all take time — whether we’re service industry professionals or not — to give back to and strengthen our industry any way we can,” KC Hensley, In the Weeds founder and Seasoned's community and development manager, said in the news release.

Last year, Hensley was also a main force behind the release of Oasis, Texas Brewing's $2.13 Pale Ale, which aimed to highlight tipped employees' minimum wage, a federal number that hasn't been adjusted for the cost of living since 1991. He said he and Sykes had originally planned to have the Austin mayor issue an appreciation day for the hospitality industry, but they wanted all employees across Texas to feel the love.

"I feel like not just Austin, but every thriving city has a strong hospitality industry that holds it together. It's the backbone or the beat to the city," he said.

Seasoned and In the Weeds have recently created a messaging app to connect members of the hospitality industry. The app is now in beta in the Austin area only, according to the release.