How to Help Austin Service Workers Impacted by Coronavirus

The government-mandated suspension of restaurants in Austin due to the Covid-19 pandemicIn connection with lost income from the canceled South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, local restaurants have been badly affected. However, given these challenges (loss of income, salaries and wages, health insurance, food waste, etc.), there are many ways Austinites and the like can help these businesses.

In addition to ordering take-out / delivery, buying merchandise / gift cards from various companies, and most importantly, calling your representative for a restaurant bailout, here are a few things you can do to help the Austin restaurant industry. Let us know through the tipline if other support efforts aren’t listed here.

* Please note that while the donation and Venmo accounts listed below were all shared from the official social media sites or known representatives of the respective restaurants, Eater cannot guarantee that each restaurant will use the money as it does promises. *


  • Southern smoke established the Austin Relief Fund to assist workers affected by SXSW and the recent closings. 90 percent of the donations go to the Emergency Relief Fund, which is accessible to restaurants, bars and their employees in need. Several local companies, including Emmer & Rye, Franklin Barbecue and Made In Cookware, donate all or part of the proceeds to the cause.
  • The Austin Community Foundation did the Stand with Austin Fund to support nonprofits that help those affected by SXSW (think Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, etc.). Local print shop Oh Boy! The print shop sells Austin-themed T-shirts that will benefit the stand with the Austin Fund.
  • A Fair Wage Emergency Fund, a national organization that includes restaurants like L’oca d’Oro, can provide assistance to restaurant workers.
  • Eater National also has a more comprehensive set of funds and organizations.


Crowdfunding campaigns & Venmos

  • Whole: The Italian restaurant on the east side accepts donations that go directly to its employees. Each $ 35 donation will receive a $ 50 virtual gift card and each $ 50 donation will receive a $ 75 gift card.
  • Drink. Well: The North Loop Bar has set up a GoFundMe for its eight employees.
  • Small victory: The tiny downtown bar set up a GoFundMe to help staff until unemployment sets in.
  • Nickel City: The bar in Central East Austin has set up a venmo for its employees who have been laid off and offers complete transparency on the distribution of funds.
  • Last straw: The vegan bar in East Austin launched a GoFundMe campaign to support the hourly staff.
  • The omelette: The long-time family-run restaurant, which is currently closed, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to support the unemployed workers. It’s about raising $ 60,000 so each employee can get $ 2,000.
  • Machine head coffee: The North Austin Coffee Shop (in Veracruz All Natural) offered its Venmo to collect virtual tips for its employees.
  • Fleet Coffee Co.: The coffee company on the east side fired all employees, but launched a Venmo / virtual tip glass for relief.
  • Draft House Pub: The Most Popular Hidden Gem Draft House has launched a GoFundMe for its employees.
  • With you: The main restaurant on the farm on the east side has set up a GoFundMe for its employees.
  • Jester King Brewery: During this time, the Hill Country Brewery launched a GoFundMe campaign for their laid-off employees.
  • Kerlin BBQ: The grill cart in East Austin is now closed. Co-owners Bill and Amelis Kerlin have launched a GoFundMe campaign to pay their employees, rent, bills, etc.
  • Bouldin Creek Cafe: The South Austin vegetarian restaurant had to close to raise funds through GoFundMe to pay for its employees in the meantime. It was advised that employees will continue to have health insurance and access to the café’s food supplies.
  • Billy is on Burnet:: The neighborhood restaurant and bar have launched a GoFundMe campaign to pay the 11 employees while they offer takeout and pickup orders.
  • 40 north: The pizzeria in Clarksville has a fundraiser for its employees.
  • Sleeping barracks: The hospitality group behind Hotel San Jose, Jo’s Coffee and others has set up a relief fund for their employees.
  • The team behind the pizzeria Tony C’s and The league created a GoFundMe for employees with a corresponding donation of up to $ 10,000 from owners Tony Ciola and Creed Ford IV.
  • Fox Restaurant Concepts (Arizona-based group behind it Flower child and Northern Italy) donates tips and donations to employees on leave and has launched a GoFundMe with an available match of $ 250,000 from CEO Sam Fox.
  • The Roosevelt room: The stylish cocktail bar in the city center has a GoFundMe for its employees.
  • speaker: The St. Elmo Café opened a Venmo tip jar for its employees while it was closed.
  • Radio coffee:: While the South Austin Coffee Shop operates on limited service (it has set up a drive through), it has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for its laid-off employees.
  • Newsboy: The breakfast cart and the upcoming restaurant have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help staff during this time.
  • Strange duck: A Regular Dinner has created a GoFundMe campaign for the restaurant and its staff.
  • Barley pig: Odd Duck’s sibling restaurant in Brentwood has launched its own GoFundMe campaign for its employees.
  • Hops & grain: The East Austin brewery has launched its own GoFundMe campaign to support its employees.
  • Frazier’s: The Riverside Bar shared their Venmo information to raise funds for their employees.
  • Jacoby’s and Grizzly that:: The mini-restaurant company set up a Venmo account to raise funds for its employees.
  • Coffee for larger goods: The non-profit café and roastery have set up a Venmo account to raise money for their baristas and roasters.
  • revival: The East Austin cafe currently operates as a walk-in window shop and has shared a Venmo page to gather tips for its employees.
  • Kitty Cohens: The East Austin bar launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the company and its employees.
  • Garbo’s: The seafood restaurant has launched a GoFundMe campaign to support its laid-off employees. Anyone donating over $ 50 will receive a $ 10 gift card.
  • Half step: The bar on Rainey Street launched a crowdfunding campaign on the nonprofit fundraising website MightyCause to support its employees and promised to publish a public spreadsheet showing how the funds are split.
  • Eden East: The Prix Fixe Outdoor Restaurant started a GoFundMe campaign for its employees.
  • Pitchfork Pretty: The East Austin restaurant is raising cash for its employees while it is temporarily closed through GoFundMe.
  • Laundromat: The Holly Restaurant launched a GoFundMe campaign for its laid-off employees.
  • strawberry: The fast casual restaurant closed its South First location for the time (although the North Lamar location is still operational). With this in mind, a GoFundMe campaign was launched to support South First employees.
  • Julie Myrtille Bakery:: The bakery launched a GoFundMe campaign to support the baker.
  • Whisler: The bar in East Austin put together a GoFundMe campaign for their employees.
  • Trianon coffee: Westlake Café has launched its own virtual tip glass to support its baristas.

CSAs & membership programs


  • The Service Industry Tip Jar picks a random server affected by the layoffs and prompts people to leave a tip every time they sit down for a drink at home.
  • Korean restaurant in North Lamar Seoul Put together this handy bingo card that highlights local restaurants with a strong Asian focus.
  • Remember: merchandise and gift cards are always good choices.

For service employees and operators

  • Travis County announced programs to help businesses and individuals affected by the quarantine, including the Texas Workforce Commission on unemployment benefits for those who have been laid off or on leave.
  • The city of Austin founded the Exchange of emergency feeding systemswhere people and businesses looking for food or looking for food, including goods and support, can connect.
  • There’s an ongoing Google spreadsheet of Venmos and Paypals from people in the service industry who have been suspended or laid off from their jobs.
  • There’s a GoFundMe looking for money to buy restaurant gift cards that will be donated to health care workers. The first partnering restaurant is Sala & Betty.
  • advantage is a local Mexican pop-up by Wes Bracamontes and Ame Arguindegui that is hosting a free industry lunch of tempeh pambazo sandwiches on Wednesday March 18.
  • Tso Chinese: The delivery service offers a free meal to those in need. Details here.
  • Kick butt coffee gives free coffee to those who have been laid off.
  • Austin chain Powerful fine burgers gives away free meals to health care workers and first aiders on Saturday and Sunday, March 21 and 22, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Online ordering system toast is offering restaurants a free three month subscription when they find out the options for execution and delivery.
  • The best grocery store HEB made a $ 3 million donation to help out with coronavirus. The grocery store is also hiring workers for its warehouses.
  • Oak Hill Bar Diversions donates ten percent of all sales to the Central Texas Food Bank.

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