Texas Restaurant Survey
The National Restaurant Association released a survey of Texas restaurant operators amid the novel coronavirus pandemic last week, and the results sound dire. Half of the operators surveyed said that their businesses will have to close in six months if there is no federal relief provided. 46 percent said that their businesses will close in six months if the current pandemic-related circumstances are the same. 80 percent said that the total sales from August are lower than numbers from August 2019. This is while 73 percent said their total operating costs are greater compared to pre-COVID-19 pandemic times. And then 77 percent shared that to-go sales make up a higher percentage of their businesses, compared to before the pandemic. Scope out the infographic below.
Of the Texas Restaurant Association (which operates as part of the National Restaurant Association) members, 70.27 percent are independently owned, 29.07 percent contain multiple locations, and 0.66 percent are chains or franchises, according to a rep for the group.
South by Southwest 2021
South by Southwest is planning on taking place in 2021, after having to cancel this year’s conference and festival because of the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 iteration will include an online component — SXSW Online — where many of its usual events, such as keynotes, showcases, and screenings, will take place virtually. At this point, the company is still planning for in-person events. To that purpose, it is working with the City of Austin and public health officials to figure out how the physical events will function. Panel proposals are being accepted starting on Tuesday, October 6. SXSW 2021 will take place from March 16 through March 20, 2021.
Bagel Shop Closures
Austin bagel shop Biderman’s Deli officially closed both its downtown and Westlake locations this month. The original Northwest Hills shop is still open, now with expanded hours and days from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It also added new dishes such as breakfast tacos with a Swiss cheese-based queso, a patty melt, and Philly cheesesteak.
Texas Book Festival’s Cookbook and Food Author Lineup
The Texas Book Festival, which is taking place online this fall, announced its full author lineup last week. This includes Austin’s own Jam Santichat (owner and chef of South First restaurant Thai Fresh and author of its forthcoming self-published cookbook), David Chang (the founder of Momofuku who recently published his memoir, Eat a Peach), José R. Ralat (the Texas Monthly taco editor and author of American Tacos), Alex Guarnaschelli (Iron Chef contestant, executive chef of New York restaurant Butter, and author of Cook With Me), Esteban Castillo (journalist of food blog and author of cookbook Chicano Eats), Lisa Donovan (pastry chef and author of her memoir Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger), Melissa M. Martin (founder of New Orleans family-style supper club Mosquito Supper Club and author of the cookbook of the same name), among others. It takes place from October 31 through November 15.
Blue Bell’s Listeria Fines
Texas ice cream company Blue Bell Creameries was fined $17.25 million in criminal penalties because of the listeria outbreak in 2015, as reported by Statesman.
Disclosure: David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.