TRA History

1930-40's  |  1950's  |  1960's  |  1970's

1980's  |  1990's  |  2000's

Throughout our history, it has been our mission to be the advocate and indispensable resource in Texas for the foodservice and hospitality industry. Today, TRA is the largest state restaurant association in the country and the Texas foodservice industry is a $40.8 billion business, employing more than one million people. TRA membership continues to grow each year, due in large part to the support of our chapter leaders and volunteers.

1930-logo-125As a result of the Great Depression, by the start of the 1930’s one in four Americans found themselves out of work. But as the years rolled by, new ideas and new industries sprang up across the country, bringing comfort and betterment to people’s lives. Restaurants began to proliferate throughout the South – first, humble hamburger joints and diners appeared along roadsides and city outskirts; by the decade’s end, fine eating establishments appeared in every tiny town and growing metropolis.

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Recovery from the Great Depression led almost directly to U.S. involvement in World War II, resulting in rationing and other heartbreaks. Restaurants in Texas faced a litany of problems: food shortages, new taxes and a work force vanishing into the draft or war-production industries. With the industry and TRA focused on education and growth, as well as the technological developments of products and equipment to help make restaurants more efficient, however, the Forties closed with a new sense of optimism.

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1950-sodamachine-125The post-war era ushered in a host of products and devices, including an oral polio vaccine and the hydrogen bomb. Restaurant operators got a taste of time and labor savers such as a self-wringing sponge mop, canned milk, adhesive tape, Liquid Paper and dry mixes for breads and cakes. Geopolitical conflicts moved from Europe to Asia, while a brand new culture of Rock ‘n Roll, television and Hollywood movie stars bloomed in America.

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1960-astrodome-125The world blasted off into outer space in the 1960s and explored advances in internal medicine and other sciences. Political assassinations ruled the day. The nuclear threat loomed large and Americans struggled with the issue of integration. The Texas restaurant industry reached cross the border to its Mexican neighbors, increased education offerings, stepped up its lobby efforts and coped with the changing face of the industry brought about by the rise of fast food and restaurant franchises.

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1970-ad-125In the turbulent 1970s, the “younger generation” began rebelling against conformity, consumerism and war. Americans coped with inflation, the oil embargo and gas crisis. Franchise operations started the decade in a slump but with the advent of the drive-up window, ended the decade increasing their share of the dining dollar. The industry experienced growth as the American family began a metamorphosis. More women entered the work force and, as a result, carry-out and convenience became the buzzwords for the decade.

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1980-fastfood-125The decade – full of “firsts” and “lasts,” celebrations and crises, new trends and a return to things old-fashioned – proved both exasperating and glorious.  The oil glut and S&L crisis reverberated throughout the Texas economy.  Fortunes were lost and bankruptcy became commonplace as “For Lease” signs sprouted on see-through office buildings and out-of-state owners gobbled up major Texas banking corporations.  Restaurants faced financial struggles but continued on a path of growth – albeit slower.

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1990-building-125As the 20th Century came to a close, the world’s focus seemed to be on maintaining a semblance of the status quo.  As America moved into the Knowledge Age, the importance of the computer increased, although the restaurant industry lagged behind other industries in its use.  The industry found itself fighting political battles on smoking ordinance, health insurance, minimum wage, and worker’s compensation at the local, state and national levels.

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2000-wifi-125The new millennium opened with equal amounts of excitement and fear. Concerns about Y2K events ranging from food shortages to technological and system breakdowns were widespread, but the millennium dawned with celebrations across the globe and no cataclysmic events. During this decade, the foodservice industry faced increasing concerns about food safety, the obesity epidemic and government regulation. Cities passed bans on trans-fat, restaurant chains were sued by obese consumers claiming the restaurants’ food was responsible for their condition and outbreaks of illnesses due to E.col resulted in food recalls. The industry responded positively and became more active in educating consumers and advocating before the government.

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