Texas Workforce Commission Launches Restaurant Recovery Initiative

Training Will Assist Restaurant Owners and Operators in Adapting to Customers’ New Expectations 

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) in partnership with the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) is launching a Restaurant Recovery Initiative to assist Texas restaurants in developing new strategies to operate safely, leverage new technologies and maximize profits in the modern era. The Restaurant Recovery Initiative is built around a series of training videos in English and Spanish that will share best practices to assist employers in adapting jobs to contactless operations and  new service trends.

“Texas restaurants faced many new challenges during the pandemic,” said TWC chairman Bryan Daniel. “The Restaurant Recovery Initiative will provide restaurants with innovative tools to help restaurants throughout Texas continue to provide the customer experience necessary for success.”

With the Texas Restaurant Recovery Initiative, TWC is supporting one of Texas’ largest and crucial industries. It is an important time for restaurant owners to leverage the newest tools available to provide employees a safe place to work while providing customers multiple service options whether dining in or out. 

The first video series titled “Introduction to The Pivot of the Customer Experience: The Role of Technology in Today’s Restaurant World” is designed to share best practices on implementing innovative customer service models and new technologies. Many restaurants, especially those with a limited online footprint, have struggled with the challenges of remaining open in the pandemic environment. Even though Texas is fully open, these restaurants still face challenges and can benefit from implementing new and now proven concepts.

The videos, which can be viewed here, include a number of topics, including off-premises food sales, maximizing drive-through window sales, creating a menu for off-premises sales, negotiating third party delivery contracts, alcohol-to-go sales and many others.

“This project will help speed return to work opportunities to hard working Texas restaurant workers, as well as help them learn new skills,” said TWC commissioner representing labor, Julian Alvarez. “The restaurant industry is vital not just for the individual workers, but the suppliers, the wholesalers and of course, the customers. This program will benefit all Texans.”

TWC and TRA are developing two additional training series scheduled for release in coming weeks including a second series focused on restaurant design and making the most use of your space and a third series focused on lessons learned from the pandemic and leveraging best practices in the future.

“Restaurants face many challenges even in normal times, and the pandemic made it even more difficult to operate,” said TWC commissioner representing employers, Aaron Demerson. “The Restaurant Recovery Initiative helps these businesses recover, transform themselves, and learn new ways to increase profitability while providing safe and efficient customer service.”

In addition to the owner/operator training videos, TWC and TRA are also providing free online access for restaurant workers to attain their state-required Food Handler and TABC Seller/Server Certifications. The site is expected to roll out in coming weeks.

“So much has changed for restaurants since the pandemic caused many of them to switch up their business models,” said Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., President and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association. “We are grateful to the Texas Workforce Commission for their partnership to provide free access to required certification for hospitality employees. Combined with these unique subject videos, we hope to encourage more people to join this creative and fun industry.”

The costs for this project come from a one-time grant from IKEA, which was accepted by the commission in December.
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