In the days since North Texans were encouraged, and then forced, to practice social distancing, the windows of Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants have become filled with hastily posted pleas for help.
With in-restaurant dining forbidden, they’ve been forced to rely on takeout and delivery service to keep their doors open.
Some owners have reported revenue dropping up by 80% as they grapple with letting half or more of their employees go.
“This is throwing everyone a real curveball, and we’re doing everything we can. Our goal is just to keep our heads above water and to get through this on the backside. Our guests and our community are what make the difference,” Tacodeli co-owner Eric Wilkerson said.
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Wilkerson owns one of the nine restaurants in Dallas’ Sylvan Thirty who got a call Saturday to let them know rent was waived for the next three months.
“We need to do the right thing. We want to relieve our tenants' stress. We are their partners and want to see them through this unprecedented time. Doing this will have a long-term meaningful impact for all of our businesses,” Sylvan Thirty developer Brent Jackson said.
Though Juiceland owner Matt Shook has temporarily closed the doors of his Sylvan location, he said the help gives him confidence they’ll be able to reopen sooner rather than later.
“There’s so much behind the scenes when it comes to the marketing, finance and HR and just all the departments that a business would have that are just now shockwaves being sent through the whole organization. So, the fact there’s now one location out there where we don’t have to worry about the rent, that’s really meaningful to us,” Shook said.
For now, Shook’s keeping the doors open at 10 of his locations, though he admits grabbing food out simply isn’t a top priority for most people right now.
That’s why Tuesday, restaurants around North Texas joined businesses from around the country supporting #TheGreatAmericanTakeout movement.
It was a digital reminder for everyone to support the restaurants they love, so they can keep their doors open and continue to provide jobs for neighbors.
“You know, we’re all in this together, so there is a little comfort in that solidarity,” Wilkerson said.