As restaurants reckon with mandatory closures and what comes next, a group of hospitality pros have teamed up to serve as a resource for people in the industry affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The new group, called Shift Dallas, is a collection of some of the Dallas restaurant industry’s most seasoned pros, including former Dallas Morning News dining critic Leslie Brenner, Whisk Crepes Cafe owner Julien Eelsen, and Profound Microfarms owner Jeff Bednar, among others. At present, the group is currently getting feedback from the industry via an online survey intended to figure out how to best meet the needs of people who have lost their jobs or forced to close their businesses.
“It’s really just a community-based organization that is designed to connect people who need help with the help they need,” Brenner tells Eater. “Things are still in flux and we’re moving very quickly, but we are planning to raise money. Part of the job and wage loss survey is trying to understand what kind of funds we need to raise.”
Brenner says that the survey has collected more than 80 responses from restaurant industry employees, and the early data is extremely concerning. According to these initial responses, 60 percent of respondents have no health insurance, and 54 percent say that they can “only go one-two weeks without pay before going broke.”
In addition to the survey, Shift Dallas is also using its Facebook and Instagram pages to point people in the direction of resources and news in this constantly changing environment. “We’d like to be a center where people can get information and find resources,” Brenner says. “Whether you’re a person who has lost their job and needs help or you’re a business or person who can offer help, you can sign up on the website for email updates.”
Shift Dallas will keep the survey open “indefinitely,” and is currently holding twice-daily meetings to figure out next steps. Stay tuned for more updates.