Help for Houston Hospitality Workers Impacted by Coronavirus Crisis — Updated 5/29

Employees of Goodnight Hospitality prepare boxes of food for fellow hospitality professionals

With bars and restaurant dining rooms closed statewide to help fight the spread of coronavirus, many bar, restaurant and hotel employees in the Houston-area are out of work or working reduced hours.

Here is a list of resources for impacted hospitality employees and small business owners for financial assistance, food and mental health services.

If you are a consumer who would like to help, there are links to donation pages at the end of each relevant entry. In addition, you can read our article about other ways to help.

If you know of a business or organization offering assistance to Houston-area hospitality professionals, please email us.


For restaurant and bar employees:

Southern Smoke Instagram Post. Screenshot by David Leftwich.

For restaurant and bar owners:

  • The James Beard Foundation has launched a Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund to provide financial assistance “to small, independent restaurants” that need immediate funds to pay operating expenses and to keep their businesses open. Applications are due by 3 p.m. on April 3. Texas restaurants can apply here. To donate, visit here.
  • The recently passed federal coronavirus relief package includes a $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program. Businesses that employ 500 workers or fewer are eligible for loans that may also be forgivable, in part or in full, if the business meets certain criteria such as using the funds to help retain staff. For more details, visit here, here and here.
  • OCA-Greater Houston, an organization that advocates for Asian Pacific Americans, has compiled a list of resources for small business owners that has been translated into several Asian languages. Added 3:25 p.m., 4/7/2020.
  • If you are looking for guidance on how to approach your landlord about your lease, Eater national has a Q&A with a lawyer who specializes in working with chefs and restaurants. Added 9:30 a.m., 4/1/2020.


Chef Mark Schmidt of Rainbow Lodge plates meals to be distributed to unemployed hospitality members via Houston Shift Mea
Chef Mark Schmidt of Rainbow Lodge plates meals to be distributed to unemployed hospitality members via Houston Shift Meal. Photo by Donnette Hansen.
  • Houston Shift Meal: This relief effort is spearheaded by the same team that helmed Midtown Kitchen Collective, which organized significant Harvey relief. This new organization is partnering with sponsors and restaurants to offer free meals to hospitality employees whose jobs have been affected by coronavirus-related restrictions. Affected employees can visit the Houston Shift Meal FaceBook page, search the Events tab for upcoming opportunities to receive free meals, and then register. Registration does not guarantee a free meal, since these are first-come, first-served, but it does give the restaurant an idea of how many meals to make. Individuals receiving meals should be prepared to show a recent pay stub, an employee badge or other proof of employment when picking up their free meal. However, enforcement is at the discretion of the participating restaurants. To donate, visit here.
  • Pour Neighbors is a private FaceBook group that is connecting Houston-area food and beverage professionals with restaurants and other establishments offering free and discounted food.

  • Restaurant Workers Relief Program: Riel, in partnership with Maker’s Mark and The Lee Initiative, has launched the Restaurant Workers Relief Program. Hospitality professionals whose jobs have been impacted by coronavirus can stop by Riel at 1927 Fairview between 4 and 6 p.m. daily for free food and essential supplies.
  • Second Servings is launching Dinner’s On Us with the support of Hess Corporation and Sysco. Every Tuesday and Thursday, starting Thursday, April 9, from 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., they will distribute meals (while supplies last) to unemployed hospitality workers via a contact-free drive-thru at 702 Avenida De Las Americas. To pick up meals, “hospitality workers must present a recent pay stub displaying the name of their restaurant, hotel, caterer, banquet venue, sports venue or convention center employer.” Added 12:03 p.m., 4/7/2020.
Bread Man Baking Co. at Whole Foods
A display of Bread Man Baking Co. loaves at Whole Foods. Photo courtesy of Bread Man Baking Co.
  • Bread Man Baking Co. is hosting regular pop-ups around town where it is offering free bread to hospitality employees impacted by new restrictions on bars and restaurants. Visit their FaceBook and Instagram accounts to find upcoming times and locations.
  • Mutiny Wine Room at 1124 Usener in the Heights is offering free barbecue plates for anyone in the hospitality industry whose job has been affected by the coronavirus crisis. It features two sliders with house-smoked meat, potato salad and coleslaw. Stop by Monday through Saturday 11 a.m to 8 p.m. (or while supplies last) with a copy of your W-2.
  • On Friday, April 10, from 10 a.m.  to 1 p.m. (while supplies last) Atlas Restaurant Group will be distributing 150 Easter meal kits at Ouzo Bay and Loch Bar at 4444 Westheimer. The kits, which will feed four, will include produce from Gundermann Acres, pork from Harrison Farms, rice from Harvest Grain Mills, cheese from Lira Rossa Artisan Cheese and recipes. The meals are available on a first-come, first-serve basis with proof of industry employment. Added 12:54 p.m., 4/7/2020.
  • Craft Pita at 1920 Fountain View is offering free Falafel Rice Bowls to hospitality workers and their families, as well as  several gift cards for anything on the menu for those in need. Please pull into its contactless drive-through to receive your free meal. Added 1:18 p.m., 4/7/2020.


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