The Texas Restaurant Industry has lost nearly 700,000 jobs due to COVID-19

Apr 20

Without immediate financial relief, one of the most important industries in Texas may disappear

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AUSTIN, TX (April 20, 2020) – In Texas, the National Restaurant Association estimates that more than 688,000 restaurant employees have been laid off or furloughed since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. This represents at least 61% of the 1.2 million employees that were working at Texas’ eating and drinking places in February.

A recent survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) asked more than 6,500 restaurant operators in an ongoing assessment about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their business since March 1, 2020. 

Nationwide, the restaurant industry estimates more than eight million jobs have been lost – this loss represents two out of every three restaurant jobs. Additionally, the restaurant and foodservice industry lost $30 billion in revenue in March and is on track to lose an additional $50 billion by the end of this month.

In Texas, as the coronavirus pandemic continues its unrelenting beat down of the sector, 84% of restaurant operators say they have laid off or furloughed employees. Restaurant owners anticipate laying off or furloughing an additional 18% of employees during the next 30 days.

“Texas restaurant owners and employees are in a desperate situation. 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% of restaurants, and nearly 700,000 unemployed Texas restaurant workers will lead to a permanent closure of many Texas restaurants?” said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, President and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association. “When this all began, we thought the worst-case scenario would be up to 500,000 jobs lost – and 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.”

Restaurant operators reported an average decline in sales during the period from April 1 to April 10 of 70%, and 96% of Texas restaurant owners say their sales dollar volume during the period of April 1 to April 10 was lower than it was during the same period in 2019.

Sadly, based on these staggering slowdowns, 6% of the more than 50,000 restaurants Texas anticipate they will permanently close within the next 30 days, according to this research.

Additionally, Texas restaurant operators have taken or anticipate taking more actions in the next 30 days:

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

It is clear that the Texas Restaurant Industry is one of the hardest hit industries in Texas. In preparation for the goal of reopening on May 1, we created the Texas Restaurant Promise and a list of needs from Governor Abbott. We must safely restart the restaurant industry in Texas and work with our elected officials to secure the relief we so desperately need. To read more about this initiative on

For the latest information from the Texas Restaurant Association, visit the TRA’s Coronavirus Resource Page. To help provide financial support to Texas’ restaurants and their employees, donate to the TX Restaurant Relief Fund established by the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

About the Texas Restaurant Association
The Texas Restaurant Association was formed in 1937 to serve as the advocate in Texas and the indispensable resource for the foodservice industry. Today, as a leading business association, TRA represents the state’s $66 billion restaurant industry, which is comprised of more than 48,000 locations and a workforce of 1.3 million employees. Along with the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation, the Association represents, educates and, promotes the growing industry. 


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