Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the City of Houston is partnering with the Houston and Texas Restaurant Associations to encourage Houstonians to support local restaurants.
COVID-19 has changed our city and disrupted our routines. Businesses across the state are suffering, and that includes the restaurant industry.
According to the Texas Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry has a $70 billion impact in Texas. The restaurant industry is the 4th largest employer in the Houston area, with more than 300,000 employees.
To help the restaurant industry, Mayor Turner announced the "Take Us to Your Table" campaign in partnership with the Houston and Texas Restaurant Associations. While you may not be able to get a seat at your favorite restaurant, they can certainly have a seat at yours.
"Houston is a foodie town, and our restaurants reflect the city's diverse culinary tastes and vibrant culture. The COVID-19 public health crisis is having a devastating effect on the men and women who work in the foodservice industry," Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "I want to encourage the public to support local restaurants through delivery and curbside takeout. It's important to support the restaurants that make Houston so special. If we work together, we will get through this challenging time together.”
In a show of support, ExxonMobil is donating $100,000 to the TX Restaurant Relief Fund initiative of the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation. The donation will support Houston restaurants and their employees, who will prepare meals for health care workers, police officers, and firefighters responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We want to thank those teams and individuals working around the clock to look after the people of the greater Houston area," said Linda DuCharme, president of ExxonMobil Upstream Integrated Solutions. "In addition to supporting health care workers and first responders, we also want to help out area restaurants and their employees who've been hard hit by the pandemic."
The donation will allow for approximately 6,000 meals to be prepared and delivered by local Houston restaurants to frontline responders at Texas Medical Center member hospitals, the Houston Police Foundation, the Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston, and the Spring Fire Department.
Prominent Houston chefs will participate in the effort that will enable participating restaurants to bring needed work to furloughed staff.
The Texas Restaurant Association's nonprofit arm established the TX Restaurant Relief Fund last month to provide immediate financial support to the state's independent restaurateurs and their employees who have been heavily impacted by the loss of business due to COVID-19.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on restaurants, a critical part of Texas' food supply chain," said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, president, and chief executive officer of the Texas Restaurant Association and Education Foundation. "In every crisis, restaurants are often the first to help feed the front line, including hospital staff and first responders. We are incredibly grateful to ExxonMobil for this grant, which both supports Houston restaurants, their employees, and enables them to feed frontline responders during this unprecedented time. Through this initiative, participating restaurants will be able to hire back up to 50 percent of their furloughed employees. This donation demonstrates that by working together, we can keep the heartbeat of our communities – food and medicine – in service for all."
Mayor Turner is encouraging all Houstonians to support our local restaurants and to share photos of what they're ordering with the hashtag #TakeUsToYourTable.