Numbers from the Texas Workforce Commission show that there were 60,621 unemployment claims through the accomodation and food services industry for the week ending on March 28. For the week ending March 16, that number was at 11,933.
The Texas Restaurant Association estimates that 6% of restaurants in Austin have shut down for good during the pandemic, and that number is estimated to be at 12% statewide.
"What COVID-19 has done to the restaurant industry is just completely unprecedented," said Anna Tauzin, the chief revenue and innovation officer for the Texas Restaurant Association. “Restaurants are experiencing a 70% decline in sales every month, and it’s not getting better. What people need to do in order to help restaurants is to continue to go to restaurants."
The association has a page on its website with guidance resources to help businesses.
While every restaurant's situation is a little different, there are some who have managed to stay afloat during these trying times.
If you take a step inside of Greenhouse Craft Food in Round Rock, you'll notice that, like everywhere else in the country, things are looking very different.
"We've changed basically everything about the restaurant and the way it operates," owner Rob Snow said.
The restaurant had two locations at one point but chose to close the Georgetown location in order to help the business survive. They continued to operate solely through pick-up and takeout.
Their dining room just opened on Tuesday while following a long list of safety guidelines, including having one door specifically for customers who've ordered takeout and one for customers who are dining in. In addition to all disposable items, social distancing is being implemented through spreading out tables, limiting the number of customers and more.
“Financially, it just made sense for us to consolidate back to Round Rock and, you know, see if we can struggle through and make it out the other side and decide how we’re going to build back again from there," Snow said. "There’s no way we could keep both locations doing what we were doing. I mean, we weren’t bringing in enough money, we’re still not bringing in enough money even for one location."
Snow said he had to let go of around 75% of his staff but has been able to hire back a little more than a dozen for the Round Rock location. He added that they've been applying for any funding that they can.
"We’re a little underwater right now, but we’re struggling through, just hoping that when we come out the other side, everyone will still have jobs and we’ll all be happy and we’ll all still be a good team and a good family here," Snow said.
Out east in Bastrop, the owner of Neighbor's Kitchen and Yard, Tom Dickey, said he initially had to let go of around 70% of his staff back when the closures first occurred.
"Day one, there’s a lot of uncertainty but it's only day one. And by the end of week one, there starts to be this compounding effect," Dickey said. “The rent, the utility, the insurance, the health insurance ... running at 10% of revenue is not going to pay those fixed costs."
But thanks to a few grants from Bastrop's Economic Development Corporation, Dickey's business, along with many others in the Bastrop city limits, was given enough money to keep them afloat for now.
"It was truly a lifesaver," he said.
Dickey has since been able to hire back a majority of his staff with the exception of a few.
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