AUSTIN (KXAN) — Restaurants and food trucks are some of the hardest-hit businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Many have been forced to shutter and some are barely scraping by during this time.
Austin business Silicon Labs is working to provide some relief by putting a little extra cash in its employees’ pockets. In Friday’s paycheck, employees will see an extra $15, and they’ve been told to use it to buy a meal from a local restaurant or food truck business.
“You just think of all those people and you want to do what you can to help bridge the gap as we’re going through the shut down so people can stay on their feet,” said Tyson Tuttle, the company’s CEO.
It’s part of the program #ieatlocal in an effort to help businesses cope with COVID-19.
“I think that, that not only helps financially but that it is really important for us to support the local businesses during this time of need,” Tuttle said.
For Tuttle and many of the company’s employees, a go-to favorite is DFG Noodles. It’s a food truck serving up a range of Asian cuisines owned by Cheryl Cunningham.
“It’s Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines,” Cunningham said. “It’s the Southeast Asia — the melting pot of Asia.”
DFG Noodles food truck was a Silicon Labs Friday favorite. Cunningham has set up shop each Friday for the last five years outside the downtown offices.
“It is a place that we fully depend on to make rent,” she explained.
DFG Noodles has been making around $170 to $500 a day compared to $3,500 to $5,000 the food company used to rack up before COVID-19. In order to break even, Cunningham said they have to make at least $958 each day.
“All of my savings are basically gone,” she said.
Cunningham said every month her food business bills are about $23,000.
“That’s just what we have to pay even if we’re nonoperational,” she said. “Let’s just say if this drags on for another few weeks, we’re done.”
While $15 a person may not seem like much, Cheryl says that one meal purchase could make a difference.
“I am so thankful Silicon Labs has kind of seen the light and is willing to put their money where their mouth is,” she said.
Tuttle hopes other business owners will follow suit. In a statement by Silicon Labs released on Friday, Tuttle said, “Please join us in our #ieatlocal movement to support your favorite local restaurant during this tumultuous time. Every meal we order can make a difference, especially if we all do it together.”
READ THE FULL STATEMENT:
“Watching the COVID-19 pandemic unfold in recent months is something none of us will forget in our lifetimes, and its devastation will be told for generations to come. The virus has impacted each of us in numerous ways and is a stark reminder of the fragility of life. Yet it also reminds us how interconnected humans are and how much we depend on one another every day.
During this crisis, we have seen the world come together to help people however possible. At Silicon Labs, we’ve carefully considered our options to give back and make a difference in ways that will be most impactful on our communities. We recently announced donations to All Together ATX and American Red Cross, in addition to allocating funds for each of our global sites to donate to non-profits providing COVID-19 relief in their communities. We recognize the need to support organizations working on the front lines to address immediate and long-term needs of those who are sick, don’t have access to food and critical supplies, or have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
We’ve also seen the impact on local businesses. Many restaurants and food truck operators that our employees have relied on greatly throughout the years have had to dramatically reduce or cease operations due to COVID-19. My family and I are frequent supporters of Austin’s nearby restaurants and food trucks – we typically buy at least 4-5 meals a week from nearby places – and I know I’m not alone. Many restaurants here in Austin are struggling to stay open, and some have already gone out of business, such as Threadgill’s, which closed earlier this week. Sadly, this situation is no different for restaurants in other regions of the world.
To help, we’re excited to announce a new program – #ieatlocal, aimed at supporting local restaurants and food trucks during this difficult time. We’re adding $15 to the paychecks of our 1,500+ employees to purchase a take-out meal from their favorite local restaurants. We’re asking employees to share their experience on social media and to encourage others to join in on the movement to support local restaurants by ordering take-out in their communities. We’re also reaching out to other companies and encouraging them to duplicate our efforts to make an even larger global impact.
This week, we shared our plan with Cheryl Cunningham, owner of DFG Noodles, one of the long-time food truck vendors that has come to our downtown Austin headquarters on Fridays for the past five years. Cheryl sent us a heartfelt thank you email shortly after we spoke, cementing my belief that this program could really make a difference, writing: “We are ever so grateful for the incredible lifeline you are throwing us by starting something that will hopefully spur other corporations to do the same and actually change our current trajectory of complete business shutdown to at least sustainability.”
Giving back to our communities has been a cornerstone of Silicon Labs since we were founded 24 years ago. And right now, it is more important than ever. Please join us in our #ieatlocal movement to support your favorite local restaurant during this tumultuous time. Every meal we order can make a difference, especially if we all do it together.”Tyson Tuttle, CEO Silicon Labs