How the SXSW Cancellation Has Impacted Tso Chinese Delivery
Catering orders dropped, and anxiety over anti-Asian fears impacting restaurants nationwide
Local culinary business Tso Chinese Delivery has two locations in Austin: in the Arboretum on the north side of town and in the more central Fiesta complex of stores alongside I-35. Tso's brings the Asian noms right to you, and that's all they do – so delivery is free, and so the company was primed to reap the big, life-sustaining bucks during SXSW. Of course they're affected by the festival's canceling: Many of Tso's big catering jobs that were lined up have fallen through and, with more people working from home, regular lunch sales have also declined.
"When the entire city hurts, we hurt as well," Tso's owner Eunice Tsang tells us. "The COVID-19 epidemic and fears have only just started in Austin and we are bracing ourselves for the potential implications this might have on us as a Chinese food delivery business. Currently, while it hasn't damaged us seemingly as much, we are certainly not immune to their effects. We anticipate feeling the social and economic effects with the rest of the city."
And while such effects don't discriminate among who they strike, there are reports of people choosing to dine on anything other than Chinese food, because this new coronavirus started in Wuhan – which is on the other side of the planet, yes, but people, especially when they're scared, can be rather, oh, let's say "irrational." Has this sort of thing affected Tso Delivery?
"Learning about this and hearing about the impact this virus has had on Asian food establishments across the country has been both alarming and disheartening," says Tsang. "It's hard to say how much Tso has been hit with anti-Chinese/Asian fears, but time will tell. On a personal level, we have many friends and family in the restaurant industry that have been hit quite hard by this epidemic. We're relieved to see the Austin communities are proactively seeking solutions to protect the city. As an Asian-owned business, Tso looks forward to supporting our fellow businesses, especially those in the restaurant industry, and especially those in the Asian community, who continue to be affected by the social and irrational fears surrounding the coronavirus epidemic."