Gov. Greg Abbott closed out the annual Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) convention with a keynote speech on Monday at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.
TRA is one of the most influential trade groups in Texas’ $52.4 billion foodservice industry, according to a press release issued by the governor’s office.
With more than 43,000 bars and restaurants spanning the state employing approximately 1.2 million Texans, industry events like the three-day TRA convention spotlighted an integral part of the Texas economy.
“Small businesses — many of which are restaurants and bars — are the heartbeat of our mighty economy and community, and I thank TRA for their tireless efforts to support Texas entrepreneurs in this critical industry,” Abbott said during his speech.
This support for the restaurant and bar service industry was vital during the COVID-19 pandemic, Abbott said.
He praised TRA’s collaboration with his office for their shared effort to keep restaurants open at the height of the pandemic, citing the liability protections granted by the state legislature, changing regulations that allowed restaurants to sell items in bulk, and permitting alcohol to be sold “to-go,” according to The Dallas Morning News.
“This relationship is so incredibly important,” Abbott lauded further, speaking of his work with the trade group. “It’s something that we do all the time, but we did it on steroids during the time of COVID.”
Abbott later mentioned the significant number of corporate relocations to Texas and overall population growth, pointing out that they are a boon to the restaurant industry.
The governor struck an optimistic tone in his remarks.
“Through partnerships with organizations like TRA, the Lone Star State will continue creating more jobs, developing and educating our workforce, and providing bars and restaurants the opportunity to unleash their full economic potential,” said Abbott. “Together, we are keeping Texas an economic juggernaut and a place where every Texan can flourish.”