Coronavirus News

Survey says two-thirds of Texas restaurant workers laid off or furloughed

Survey says two-thirds of Texas restaurant workers laid off/furloughed

Somerset Green Queen's Birthday, waiter
This guy is probably out of a job right now. Photo by Daniel Ortiz

Nearly two-thirds of the workers in the Texas food & beverage industry have been laid off or furloughed since the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new estimate by the National Restaurant Association.

The organization estimates that more than 688,000 restaurant employees in Texas have been laid off or furloughed since COVID-19 landed — representing at least 61 percent of the 1.2 million employees who were working in the industry in February.

A survey conducted by the NRA asked more than 6,500 restaurant operators about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on their business since March 1. Across the country, more than 8 million jobs have been lost, or two out of every three restaurant jobs.

The restaurant and food service industry lost $30 billion in revenue in March and is anticipated to lose another $50 billion by the end of April.

Restaurant owners anticipate laying off or furloughing another 18 percent of employees during the next 30 days.

"Texas restaurant owners and employees are in a desperate situation," says TRA president and CEO Emily Williams Knight in a statement. "We're looking at the potential extinction of the Texas restaurant ecology. What else has to happen to demonstrate to the government that a mandated shut down, a PPP program that reached fewer than 7 percent of restaurants, and nearly 700,000 unemployed Texas restaurant workers will lead to a permanent closure of many Texas restaurants?"

Knight says that they initially thought the worst-case scenario would be up to 500,000 jobs lost. "As we sit here today, without knowing when dining rooms will be allowed to open again, it means the end result will be much, much worse," she says.

During the period from April 1 to April 10, restaurant operators reported an average decline in sales of 70 percent.

According to the research, 6 percent of the more than 50,000 restaurants in Texas anticipate they will permanently close within the next 30 days.

Other stats include:

  • 34 percent of Texas operators say they temporarily closed their restaurant since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March.
  • 38 percent anticipate temporarily closing their restaurant during the next 30 days.
  • 70 percent say they continued operating but for off-premises only
  • 63 percent anticipate continuing to operate for off-premises traffic only during the next 30 days

In more upbeat news, the TRA just received a generous $1 million grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, which went to the TX Restaurant Relief Fund, established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide immediate financial support to Texas restaurateurs and their employees.

This grant will be used to keep restaurant operations open and employees working, while also providing first responders across Texas with meals.

Hoping to reopen on May 1, the TRA has created the "Texas Restaurant Promise," which includes a list of sanitation measures and the creation of a Texas Restaurant Recovery Task Force that includes Tommy Van Wolfe from Raising Cane’s, Lisa Perini from Perini Ranch, Aaron White from Brinker, Susan Connelly from Darden, Mike Rizzo from Pappas, and more.