Coronavirus in Austin: Texas Restaurant Association creates grant program for independent restaurants
The mandated closure of dining rooms across the state has led to a crisis among restaurant operators. Many independent restaurants have laid off or furloughed most of their staffs and even those who have successfully pivoted to takeout and delivery models have seen revenue dip more than 50 percent.
The Texas Restaurant Association, through its non-profit Education Foundation (TRAEF), has established the TX Restaurant Relief Fund to come to the aid of these smaller operators and provide immediate financial support. Independent restaurateurs can apply for grants of up to $5,000 per unit for help in saving employees’ jobs.
The TX Restaurant Relief Fund hopes to raise a minimum of $10 million to provide immediate support to 2,000 restaurant locations across Texas. It will issue grants on a first-come, first-served basis. The grants are intended to supplement low-interest loans and other relief packages hopefully coming from federal and state governments.
“Restaurants are facing a challenge unlike anything we’ve seen before,” Dr. Emily Williams Knight, President and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association and Education Foundation, said. “Restaurant owners are in a fight for their lives and those of the employees they value most. I am proud that in partnership with our incredible partners, suppliers and frankly, anyone who loves restaurants, we will be able to play a key role in supporting the industry we all need and love”.
The fund has already received more than 350 applications and has temporarily stopped taking more applications until “unds have been raised and distributed to current applicants,” according to the fund’s site.
As of Thursday afternoon, the fund has raised $10,000 with another $90,000 pledged but not arrived yet, according to Texas Restaurant Association Chief Revenue & Innovation Officer Anna Tauzin. She adds that current applicants account for $2.5M of the $10M they hope to raise. The fund plans to make its first distributions Monday.
In the meantime, TRA is asking industry suppliers, distributors, allied vendor partners, corporations and restaurant lovers to support the TX Restaurant Relief Fund. Donations can be made at txrestaurant.org, and all donations to the relief fund are fully tax-deductible and subject to applicable laws and Internal Revenue Service regulations. Donations can also be made by texting “TRRF” to 31996.
The Texas Restaurant Association’s Education Fund is a non-profit organization that provides resources to help restaurateurs confront educational and labor challenges in an industry that employs approximately 1.4 million people in the state of Texas.
Complete coronavirus coverage at statesman.com/coronavirus.