Shepherd with a check for Southern Smoke, which raised $500,000 during its efforts for Hurricane Harvey relief. Photo by Catchlight Photography


Resy and American Express Donate $500,000 To Houston’s Southern Smoke Foundation as the ‘Every Resy Counts’ Reservation Drive Hits 1 Million Milestone


Today Resy and American Express announce they will make a $500,000 charitable donation to Southern Smoke Foundation, a Houston-based crisis relief organization that supports hospitality workers in need. The donation is part of a month-long campaign that kicked off on March 1 called Let’s Grab a Table. As part of the campaign, Resy ignited a reservation drive called ‘Every Resy Counts’ which aims to drive millions of diners to independent restaurants and promises to unlock financial support for the industry each time a million reservations are completed on Resy (between March 1 – 31).

The one millionth completed reservation unlocked the $500,000 donation to Southern Smoke. Each subsequent millionth reservation completed will unlock surprise restaurant buyouts* across the country to thank consumers for their support of independent restaurants.

Southern Smoke was selected to receive the charitable donation as its mission – to support individuals in need within the restaurant industry – aligns with American Express’ commitment to backing customers and colleagues, and Resy’s commitment to shining light on the people who make restaurants so special.

In the first few months of 2020, restaurant workers were immediately impacted and more than 35,000 relief applications flooded in to Southern Smoke. The organization quickly scaled from a locally focused nonprofit with one full time employee to a national nonprofit that granted more than $6 million in 2020.

“So what does a half a million dollars do? A lot. It helps a lot of people,” says Chris Shepherd, Chef-Owner of Underbelly Hospitality and Founding Director of Southern Smoke. “We may not always be dealing with COVID crises but we will be dealing with crises. People say, we’re coming out of the pandemic… but we’re not coming out of problems. Our industry is always in turmoil, in some aspect, and it still doesn’t have a safety net. Southern Smoke exists to provide a helping hand.”

Read more on how Chris Shepherd is working to rebuild the restaurant industry at

*Amex and Resy will cover up to $99 per person and a maximum amount of $594 per table. The offer will be made available in March 2022 each time Resy reaches the following number of completed reservations: 2 million, 3 million, 4 million, 5 million and 6 million. This offer will end if/once 6 million completed reservations are made through Resy in March 2022.



Created in 2015 by chef Chris Shepherd, Southern Smoke supports the food and beverage industry nationwide by distributing funds to workers in crisis, and by curating programs and partnering with organizations that represent the needs of those individuals. Since its founding, the 501c3 nonprofit established within the food and beverage industry has distributed more than $9.6 million to people in need across America. Simply put, we “take care of our own.”