In this age of closing restaurants and uncertain economic climates, Tso Chinese Delivery is finding success in both business and philanthropy. Over the past six months, the locally owned Chinese restaurant has given away more than $100,000 in food to Austinites impacted by COVID-19, raised $2 million in seed funding, and is now announcing plans for a third Tso location. Not bad for a global pandemic.
Along with its flagship Cherrywood location and second shop in the Arboretum neighborhood, Tso will add a new location at 2407 South Congress Blvd., near Oltorf Street, in early 2021. The SoCo spot significantly expands the restaurant's delivery service across South Austin and adds a quick to-go option for nearby residents looking for their crab rangoon fix.
According to a release, the expansion was made possible with a $2 million seed funding round that closed in March, and includes Austin-based investors Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market; Brett Hurt, co-founder of Bazaarvoice; and Brian Spaly, founder of Bonobos and Trunk Club.
Since opening in 2017, Tso Chinese Delivery has grabbed headlines in part for its unique business model. The restaurant has no dining room and operates strictly as a delivery and to-go service. It also has a no-tipping policy; free delivery; and uses a custom-built app to help customers order online and track their meal as it's cooked, packaged, and delivered. But, of course, it's the food that keeps patrons coming back. Tso's menu offers traditional Chinese American favorites, along with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes.
As for its philanthropic endeavors, Tso has continued to give back to its hometown, a city still reeling from the economic impact of the pandemic.
The restaurant has launched monthly curbside donation drives (follow social media or check tsogiving.com for updates) throughout the pandemic, and is continuing its #TsoGiving For Families campaign, which donates $500 to one family in need based on nominations. To nominate a family, visit tsogiving.com to share their story. A winning entry will be chosen at random at the end of the month. Those interested in donating to the #TsoGiving fund to aid Tso in continuing to help those struggling in the community can do so here.