Texas Pete calls on Kiwis to support local hospo joints

By Bronson Perich
Texas Pete's Cheeseburgers - Photo / File

Jared MacDonald, owner of Hamilton’s Texas Pete’s BBQ Joint says he probably won’t be able to claim the wage subsidy.

“I’m not sure we qualify at this point. Things aren’t looking great. We may qualify,” Jared MacDonald says.

The current wage subsidy criteria require a business to have lost 40% of its earnings compared with last year. So, while he was able to use it to help his workers during the first lockdown, he cannot access it this time around. That would require another five-ten points down in revenue losses.

But that doesn’t mean the Waikato icon is doing well. MacDonald says he’s breaking even.

“It may as well be level three,” Texas Pete says.

“We’re only able to run our business … at 60% capacity.”

Grill fires burning

A Texas Pete BBQ Platter - Photo / File

MacDonald says the costs to be Covid-19 compliant have increased his overall operating costs. But he says the regulations hamper his ability to make the money to pay for it.

This is why Texas Pete thanked his customers for supporting him through these tough times.

“We’ve got an amazing customer base,” he says.

“We have them to thank for us still being in business.”

While his business is able to deliver Texas Pete is not a takeaway outlet. Restaurants like his make their money by putting ‘bums on seats’. He's open to transitioning to a takeaway business but says the regulatory bodies wouldn't move fast enough to approve the changes if he proposed them.

Eat out one day a week

A Texas Pete Cheeseburger before it is crowned with a bun - Photo / File

This is why he is calling on Kiwis to support local hospitality businesses.

“We really need your viewers and our community at home, commit to eating at a restaurant, or a hospitality business one day a week,” Texas Pete says.

He noted franchised businesses are doing well, but ‘mum and papa’ businesses like his are not. Having one meal a week at a local business he says, will help operators like him keep the grills hot.

“We’re supporting our family and all of our employees’ families,” Texas Pete says.