do good by dining out

AmEx-backed restaurant reservation app plans $500,000 donation to Houston charity

Hot restaurant reservation app plans $500,000 gift to Houston charity

Bludorn main dining room
Use Resy to book tables at Bludorn and other Houston restaurants. Photo by Julie Soefer

A popular reservation app plans to harness people's charitable impulses to benefit independent restaurants. Throughout the month of March, Resy, the American Express-owned reservation platform, will be encouraging diners to do good by dining out with its "Let's Grab a Table" campaign.

Once diners nationwide make 1 million reservations using the app, it will donate $500,000 to the Southern Smoke Foundation, Houston chef Chris Shepherd's non-profit that provides assistance to restaurant workers in crisis. Shepherd welcomed the donation, noting that the foundation continues to fulfill its mission.

“Even though we’re nearing the end of the pandemic, the demand for emergency relief doesn’t end," he said in a statement. "The industry still doesn’t have a safety net, so our organization is a lifeline for food and beverage industry workers affected by health and caregiver issues, car accidents, natural disasters, and more.”

After that, Resy will buy meals for hundreds of diners across the country at the 2 million, 3 million, 4 million, 5 million, and 6 million reservation milestones: up to $99 per person for groups of up to six people ($594 per table), according to a press release. 

Houstonians will find some of the city's recent James Beard Award semifinalists on the platform, including Bludorn, Xin Chao, Lucille's, and March. In addition, they'll find restaurants owned by James Beard Award winners Justin Yu and Shepherd's Underbelly Hospitality such as Theodore Rex, Squable, Georgia James, and newly opened Wild Oats.

“As we approach the two-year mark of the pandemic, restauranteurs continue to need community support to help make up for lost revenues,” American Express chief marketing officer Elizabeth Rutledge added. “By rallying together, we hope to inspire consumers to grab a table at independent restaurants throughout March, and beyond, to help them continue to get back on their feet.”

Resy has hosted other promotions in Houston. Last year, it united Bludorn and beloved burger joint Lankford Grocery for a weekend pop-up. The company also sponsored the tour that brought star chef Mashama Bailey and her business partner John O. Morisano to Traveler's Table in Montrose.

Southern Smoke has received broad support for its work on behalf of hospitality employees. In 2020, celebrity chef David Chang donated his $1 million prize from winning TV gameshow Who Wants to be a Millionaire to the organization.