Welcome to AM Intel in the time of coronavirus, a round-up of the city’s newest bits of restaurant-related intel. Follow Eater on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date details on how COVID-19 is impacting the city’s dining scene.
Dallas restaurateur Tim Love offers grim coronavirus predictions
As in-dining options come to a crashing halt this week, chef Tim Love tells The Dallas Morning News half of Dallas-Fort Worth’s restaurants might close. He calls the colossal hit to hospitality “a genuine Armageddon moment.”
The Texas Restaurant Association created a campaign this week to demand financial action from Texas officials. Forcing restaurants to adopt a go-to model “will prove to be devastating to this industry and to working people,” says the association, anticipating 500,000 jobs could be lost. Love just activated Uber Eats across his portfolio, but says many sit-down restaurants — like his upscale Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in the Fort Worth Stockyards — were designed as destinations, not lucrative to-go operations.
Love, who says he won’t be paying himself for at least eight weeks and pledges to provide free school lunches at his restaurants, believes sales will suffer for six to eight weeks as the dine-in customer ban continues. Love offers raw advice to other restaurateurs during these trying times. Those with two eateries should only “focus on one” right now; ask landlords to tack a month or two of rent onto the end of the lease; and stop “begging people to come in” (which could only prolong the bleeding): “Hunker down, white-knuckle it, and at the end of six weeks, hopefully this thing is all died off,” he says.
Cash-strapped restaurant employees turns to hunger relief nonprofits for paid work
Meanwhile, a newly formed initiative in town offers affected hospitality workers facing reduced or revoked schedules and inconsistent pay an alternate mode of income, reports CultureMap. Starting today, the Get Shift Done for North Texas Initiative places hourly workers in roles within hunger relief nonprofits and institutions in dire need during the COVID-19 crisis. Thanks to money raised in the North Texas Fund, workers are paid $10 an hour to prepare, assemble, and deliver meals to “at-risk” populations like children, elderly, and families. Remaining funds will be funneled back into the nonprofits. Assignments are doled out and managed through platform ShiftSmart, with the capacity to serve one million meals and provide wages to over 1,000 workers per week.
Fast-casual Start stops service
Health-conscious cafe Start just closed both Dallas locations indefinitely due to COVID-19 pressures, according to founder Erin McKool. “Even with this week’s pivot to full-time drive-through and delivery, sales were not enough to offset costs,” she says. Paychecks through Thursday’s shift were distributed to employees. Should the chain reopen in a few months after the dust settles, they’ll have the option to get their jobs back. The brand, situated on Greenville and Lemmon avenues, was known for its flourless chocolate cake made with quinoa and no-fryer mantra.