Statewide changes to foodservice begin

by SOURCE Texas Restaurant Association 

Austin—The foodservice industry is operating under a series of new and amended laws that were passed during Texas’ 88th Regular Legislative Session.

The Texas Restaurant Association delivered over 70 offensive and defensive wins during the session, creating more streamlined regulations, cost savings and new opportunities to enhance the customer experience. These laws will benefit the 55,000 foodservice establishments that employ more than 1.4 million Texans, plus the communities they serve.

“As the second-largest private-sector employer in Texas, foodservice operators rely on our legislators to make our business environment as strong as possible,” Emily Williams Knight Ed.D., president and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association, said. “The Texas foodservice industry is resilient, but the past few years have created enormous challenges for our industry in particular. By working with our state’s officials to make government more efficient, and to plan for future growth, we continue to find enormous success helping restaurants overcome their challenges and thrive.”

This summer, Texas restaurants have experienced a decline in dine-in customers due to the extreme heat. According to OpenTable, Texas’ seated diner traffic has decreased 3-5 percent compared to Summer 2022. At the same time, food and labor costs are both up over 20 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. For these reasons, regulatory relief, cost savings and new tools to enhance the customer experience come at a great time for Texas restaurants.

Among the dozens of new laws that will impact restaurants, major themes include:

Regulatory consistency and predictability

Fewer permit fees

Clearer health codes

Property tax relief

Workforce development.

“After the difficulties restaurants have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic, we started the legislative session with a strong agenda that incorporated feedback from operators across the state,” Kelsey Erickson Streufert, chief public affairs officer of the Texas Restaurant Association, said. “We were determined to deliver immediate relief and long-term security for the entire foodservice industry from single-unit restaurants to chains, franchisees, employees and customers. Many of these plans take effect with new laws, creating new opportunities for restaurants and the millions of Texans who depend on them.”

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