East Texas Blog

December 23, 2019
Talk about simplifying the benefits of your ETRA membership, TRA recently launched a mobile app! This app is your hub for our industry. It is for free for members, however if you’re not a member and want to join, click here. Here are the 3 Key Features we found most useful on the app: Get real time up to date critical industry news: statewide, legal, local, etc. Learn about upcoming meetings, events, and chapter activities. You can even add them to your personal calendar! Connect instantly...
November 19, 2019
WHAT IS THE TASTE OF TYLER? The Taste of Tyler is a citywide food show that showcases over 50 local food and beverage outlets on one night at Harvey Hall.  The food show opens at 6:30PM (6PM for sponsors) and gives you an opportunity to ‘taste’ from each exhibitor, while enjoying live music! Beer and Wine are also included with your ticket. WHO PUTS IT ON? The Taste of Tyler is produced by the East Texas Restaurant Association. For 2020, we are excited to announce Sysco as our Presenting...
October 14, 2019
  Many locals have heard of the East Texas Restaurant Association (ETRA) before, but few seem to know the vision and purpose behind it. Recently, someone shared they thought it was 'a group of old dudes who like to eat good food together'..... with that said we find it appropriate to breakdown the WHO and the WHY behind the ETRA. WHO: It started long ago, as a chapter under the state level Texas Restaurant Association, but has developed into much more locally. ETRA covers 26 counties and...
September 14, 2019
Did you hear the big news? As of September 1, Texas restaurants among other beer and wine license holders, will legally be able to deliver alcoholic beverages to their patrons with the proper permitting or through on-line delivery services like Favor, Patriot, Door Dash, etc. And guess who played an instrumental role in this process? Our state level advocates at the Texas Restaurant Association had a huge impact lobbying Senate Bill 1232 and Senate Bill 1450 to the point of passing and...
August 14, 2019
This time of year, we all feel it. Students are nervous to start their new classes & moms can breathe again with their kids back in school. As for restaurateurs, we go a little bit crazy trying to fill those student positions that were so helpful during their summer break. Your employees are perhaps one of the most critical parts in determining the success of your business and it's more common than not to have seasonal or "student" employees step into your restaurants during their summer...
July 16, 2019
Food delivery services in East Texas have grown radically in the last couple years: Patriot, Waitr, Favor, Door Dash, UberEats, and the list goes on. As a restauranteur how do you figure out what is the best fit for your restaurant? We completed some interviews with both restaurants and delivery companies and have developed key questions that will assist you in making your big decision of who to hire! Here are the 'fine print’ questions to ask before contracting with a delivery service: What...
June 17, 2019
  It's summertime! With the cold days behind us and the temperature rising outside it's time to exchange our hot and heavy selections with some lighter menu options. Now, some of you “mom and pops” out there have menus that don't change, no problem, perhaps it's just time to start promoting your lighter options! There are many ways to promote these selections, our favorite ways are with a lobby chalk board or marquee sign! Here are a few suggestions when thinking of the summer seasonal change...
May 14, 2019
Team Huddles, Pre Shifts, LineUps When it comes to managing your team does it feel impossible to keep everyone on the same page? Communicating, sharing details, strategies, daily projects, etc… In the restaurant industry employee’s shifts start and end at different times, especially with smaller operations, so how are successful operations keeping their team in the know? Team meetings, huddles, pre-shifts, lineups, or whatever you want to call it, finding time to gather together a couple times...
March 16, 2019
Big picture: We (ETRA) support high school and college culinary/hospitality students. Not only do we give them money yearly, we also speak in their classes, offer job shadowing opportunities, mentor, and send them to statewide competitions. It is our goal to grow these students professionally to create pathways to careers. Hopefully careers in our industry, but our overall goal is working, successful residents of the US!   How do we do that? Primarily with the ‘Taste’ events! Basically, we...
February 18, 2019
There are countless techniques to the interview process of a potential employee. All of these techniques are used with the common goal of finding and hiring that Rockstar Employee who will be a long-term asset.   So, what does it take to keep these Rockstar Employees? Is it money, benefits, or maybe flexible hours? In the restaurant industry most employers offer none of the above requiring them to apply some creativity to retain their best employees! Here are a few tips on how to keep the best...
January 28, 2019
We hear the same resolutions every year: “I’m going to work out” “I’m going to go on a diet” “I’m going to quit smoking” The list goes on and on! Instead of making a resolution, we encourage you to make a PLAN. Each restaurant starts the year off strong with weekly/monthly specials….. and a few weeks in what happens? We slip, and slip, and forget why we were trying in the first place. This year we hope you made a plan and if not, IT’S NOT TOO LATE! Here are some steps to help you get organized...
December 10, 2018
Let’s talk holiday parties for those employees in the hospitality industry. Whether you are a restaurant, bar, hotel, etc. you know employees work around the clock, leaving little room to breathe, much less stop and celebrate.  Some choose to close the doors early one day a year making time for their employee party, some offer two parties giving different shifts a chance to attend. Some have moved away from a formal party and just pass out gifts during the working shifts Whatever you chose to...
November 12, 2018
Here is an email we received a couple weeks ago from a culinary/hospitality educator at Chapel Hill ISD: Dear ETRA, We just wanted to take the opportunity to say a huge Thank You for your support of the Chapel Hill ISD Culinary Arts program. We recently went through the process of having our facility approved for food production by the health department. Being new to the process, and an educational facility made it challenging to meet all of the requirements. The advocacy and collaboration of...
October 8, 2018
                      The East Texas Restaurant Association Annual Golf Tournament is another hot event hitting Tyler on November 5th that you don’t want to miss! This is the 2nd largest fundraiser benefitting the ETRA Education Foundation.  Imagine this: restauranteurs (corporate and independent), liquor distributors, advertising companies, food purveyors, electricians, culinary educators, and many other LOCAL stakeholders all in one room! What an opportunity to network for a great cause...
July 12, 2018
  East Texas, specifically Tyler, has had a huge influx of new restaurants in last few years.   In just a short two-year span Tyler has added over 40 new restaurants and there are more "coming soon".   Also, restaurants are faced with new curve-balls like the huge increase in food delivery services and the lack of decent commercial real estate.   With such large additions to the local food industry, a huge problem has occurred.   These new restaurants and factors have caused a big increase in...
June 27, 2018
The goal of most non-profits is to give back to its surrounding communities in hopes to see change and growth among them. The East Texas Restaurant Association(ETRA) has been helping students achieve their culinary and hospitality educational dreams in East Texas for many years now.   By partnering with over 20 local high schools for their Texas Prostart program and almost 70 different restaurants and businesses, ETRA is able to provide rich and meaningful opportunities for students who are...
June 27, 2018
  With more opportunities for community outreach and sponsorships than there ever were before, what does your business do to find the right option for your contribution? You want to impact your community, but at the same time, you want to see a return on investment for your efforts. With all the options available for outreach, pulling the trigger on sponsoring a community cause is difficult to decide on in order to see the biggest impact. This is why sponsoring scholarships is becoming one of...
June 19, 2018
The East Texas Restaurant Association(ETRA) recently welcomed four new members to the board and are excited to see how much they are going to bring to the team!   Casey Bevel Casey graduating with a BS in communication from UT Tyler is currently the Director of Human Resources for Dairy Queens of Tyler, Inc. Her passion to see employees succeed in the food industry starts with her love for customer service and talent management. “Seeking great talent to join our team, helping those who are on...
May 21, 2018
Lloyd Nichols, the owner and operator of The Diner in Tyler, TX became the East Texas Restaurant Association’s president as of January 1, 2018. Lloyd and his wife, Tresa, have been married for 32 years and have two children, Zachary and Julia, and 2 grandchildren, Eli and Eoin.   After serving in the Marine Corps and graduating from Sam Houston State University, Lloyd went to work for Luby's Cafeterias.  Beginning as an assistant manager in training, Lloyd spent the next 17 years progressing...