HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The livelihood of local restaurant owners and employees is at stake, as the region’s high hospitalization rate requires them to again scale back to just 50% capacity.
Now the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is stepping up by helping them incorporate new strategies to safely operate and stay open.
Panchito’s Mexican Restaurant in has been open for curbside only since the start of the pandemic due to health issues with family members.
“I did not realize it would be so many months, that we would be so many months we would be continuing with it,” Owner Jeanie Diaz said.
The family-owned business opened 19 years ago and while they’ve offered pick-up for many years, adapting to completely curbside was an adjustment that proved successful.
“With the grace of God, and just the community, we have such a supportive community, we’ve been able to sustain,” she said.
To help other small restaurants keep up their revenue while reducing dine-in services, TWC is launching its “Restaurant Recovery Initiative.”
“We recognize we can’t go back to where we were in March of 2020 without a lot of changes,” TWC Deputy Communication Officer James Bernsen said. “So, we really want to give them the opportunity to grab those technologies and learn those technologies so they can bring their businesses back.”
Through a multi-million-dollar grant, TWC will offer businesses free training in a series of videos sharing best practices on adapting to remote and contactless operations.
“The restaurant industry is hurting in Texas,” Bernsen said. “A lot of restaurants that are able to quickly go to online ordering, curbside pickup, all these kinds of things, those businesses are doing pretty well.”
Bernsen says they are working to get these resources out as soon as possible and encourages restaurant owners interested reach out through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.