Promoting & Protecting the Industry

The food and beverage industry is a force for good in Texas. Not only is it the second-largest private-sector employer, but it holds a special place in people’s hearts and memories. Restaurants are where people celebrate, debate, and spend quality time with loved ones. For many, it’s where they got their first job or even their second chance. In this way, restaurants are the cornerstone of communities large and small across the state.

As business owners, you give back constantly, even when your own business is hurting. Strong restaurants create stronger communities, and in order to be successful, you need a strong voice. We are your voice.

Through grassroots advocacy and meaningful relationship building, we promote and protect the industry at the local, state, and federal levels. The Texas Restaurant Association approaches advocacy on two fronts: promoting legislation and regulations that will benefit the industry, and working to defeat legislation and regulations that could negatively impact the industry.

Working together, we have created tremendous advocacy wins over the past 85 years, culminating with our best legislative session at the Texas Capitol in memory during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is our time to build on this progress to ensure the food and beverage industry rebuilds stronger than ever.

Past Present Future
We passed 6/8 priority bills at the Texas Capitol, making alcohol to-go permanent, shielding federal relief dollars from state taxes, creating third-party delivery protections, and more. We’re working with the Texas Workforce Commission to distribute $500 million in childcare benefits to service industry workers to address the workforce shortage. We’ll pass our regulatory consistency bill to ensure restaurants don’t face conflicting local rules on employment issues like leave, benefits, and scheduling.
We created the Texas Restaurant Promise, which became the framework that enabled restaurants to reopen early in the pandemic. We secured $180 million in grants to hospitality and tourism businesses that were injured by the pandemic; now we’re ensuring the application process is fair and efficient. We’ll partner with the Texas Restaurant Foundation and policymakers to create the workforce our industry needs to rebuild and thrive.
We led the effort to draft and pass the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act. We successfully lobbied the Texas Legislature to replenish the unemployment insurance trust fund so businesses do not face a tax hike. We’ll advocate for pro-growth policies, and we’ll stop burdensome regulations, at the local, state, and federal level.
We partnered with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and local governments to expedite patio permits. We’re collaborating with the Texas Workforce Commission to provide free foodhandler and alcohol seller-server certifications to thousands of restaurant employees. We’ll ensure restaurants are engaged in local policymaking on issues like noise ordinances, recycling, and public safety.
We established the TX Restaurant Relief Fund—distributing more than $3.5 million to support over 500 independent restaurants and their employees. We’re speaking out against federal tax changes that will hurt restaurants while we also champion the RRF Replenishment Act and pro-growth immigration reform. We’ll build and maintain strong relationships with political leaders of both parties, as well as other stakeholders who can help us grow the restaurant industry in Texas.

NEXT STEPS - GET INVOLVED!

There are always new opportunities and challenges on the horizon, and so your ongoing support is critical to our success. Please explore this website to learn more about our past wins and how you can join our efforts by:

  • Becoming a TRA member if you haven’t already. Joining the TRA grants you automatic membership with your local chapter and the National Restaurant Association, ensuring you are covered at every level. 
  • Signing up for a recurring contribution to the TRAction Fund and the TRA PAC.
  • Downloading our app so you receive breaking news alerts.
  • Emailing Kelsey Erickson Streufert, TRA’s Chief Public Affairs Officer, if you have any questions or feedback. 

Our voices are stronger together. Please join us as we make Texas the best place to run a foodservice business.

When COVID-19 hit, our voice became a roar.

Working with our lawmakers, regulators, members, and allied partners, the Texas Restaurant Association created critical lifelines to support the industry’s recovery from the economic devastation created by COVID-19. Together, we:

  • Assembled a task force of key chain and independent restaurant and bar owners and created the Texas Restaurant Promise and the Texas Bar Promise, which were both used to develop the governor’s minimum standard health protocols that enabled businesses to reopen under one set of statewide rules. Because of this work, Texas food and beverage businesses opened and increased their capacity months before businesses in other states. 
  • Partnered with Congressman Roy (R-TX) and Congressman Phillips (D-MN) to draft and pass the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, extending a critical lifeline to all PPP recipients. 
  • Secured the ability for restaurants to sell alcohol to-go, creating an important new revenue stream to sustain restaurants with closed dining rooms.  
  • Successfully lobbied alcohol stakeholders and the governor’s office to expand the alcohol to-go waiver to include cocktails mixed onsite.  
  • Established the TX Restaurant Relief Fund—raising and distributing more than $3.5M to support over 800 independent restaurants and their employees. 
  • Partnered with TABC to reopen restaurants that were misclassified under the restaurant COVID-19 safety protocols. 
  • Secured the ability for restaurants to sell bulk retail items—opening the supply chain and ensuring Texans had access to food while creating a new revenue stream for restaurants. 
  • Secured the ability for restaurants to sell their pre-made meals in grocery stores, again, opening a new revenue channel. 
  • Partnered with the state to create CARE packages—meals purchased from local restaurants to feed those most in need.  
  • Fed over 100,000+ first responders through special initiatives with BCBSTX, Exxon Mobil, Chipotle, Whataburger, and independent restaurants across Texas. 
  • Partnered with the Texas Workforce Commission, Dallas College, and A Closer Look to build and launch the first training, certification, and validation program for restaurants operating in the COVID-19 world—The Texas Restaurant Promise Certification. Provided this program for free to hundreds of restaurants. 
  • Partnered with TABC to expedite parklet permits and to change two-year fees into one-year fees, helping with cash flow. 
  • Worked with local officials to keep restaurants open and encourage dining out safely. 

Learn More About TRAction Fund

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Support Our Advocacy Efforts

TRA Political Action Committee (TRA PAC)

The TRA PAC pools our industry’s non-corporate funds together to make a bigger impact in state elections. We support candidates of any party as long as they support restaurant and business growth.

Learn More And Donate To TRA PAC

TRAction

The TRAction Fund accepts individual and corporate donations to fund the lobbying, legal, and advocacy support we need to succeed as one industry at every level of government.

Learn More And Donate To TRAction

Legal Assistance

Visit TRA Law Center

NOTE: Available to TRA members only.